A young Australian doctor has appeared in an Islamic State propaganda video calling on medical “brothers and sisters” from around the world to come to Syria to join the “Jihad for Islam” against the West.
“My name is Abu Yusuf. I’m one of the medical team here. I came from Australia to the Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] to live under the khalifah,” the blue-eyed man with a distinctive Australian accent states in the YouTube video, which comes complete with a logo for the ‘Islamic State Health Service’.
He says he’s a doctor who traveled to Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, about 160km east of Aleppo, to offer his medical services.
“I saw this as part of my Jihad for Islam to help the Muslims in the area that I could, which is the medical,” the man, addressing the camera with a stethoscope slung around his neck, explains.
“I wish I’d come sooner,” Abu Yusuf adds, apparently shown in the neonatal unit of the Raqqa General Hospital while tending to infants in incubators.
“After being here it’s disappointing to think how many fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who are in the medical field; doctors and nurses, physios and dentists are still living in the West and unfortunately here the Muslims are really suffering from not lack of equipment or medicine, but lack of qualified medical care,” he states.
“So I suppose a message I would want to send out to any brothers and sister still living in the West who are considering coming … we really need your help,” the man adds.
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According to news.com.au, the young doctor has been identified as former Adelaide University student Tareq Kamleh, believed to be in his late 20s, who completed his medical studies and later moved to Perth. He had a reputation as a “clean-cut medical student who drank alcohol and had lots of girlfriends.” But while dating a nurse from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Kamleh allegedly settled down.
A former Adelaide University student told news.com.au that Kamleh had shown no signs of fundamentalism in his college days.
“He was a pretty normal guy, he didn’t have any IS-related interests,” the woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) Vice-President Stephen Parnis said the most influential membership organization representing registered medical practitioners and medical students of Australia has been outraged by ‘Abu Yusuf’s’ video.
“The medical profession is distressed by this because unfortunately it [the IS] does contradict what we stand for,” the Australian has quoted him as saying in Melbourne.
“What we’ve got is a regime that does terrible harm, that does not respect life. The notion of working for and supporting that regime is, I think, abhorrent to almost every Australian doctor.“
He said the doctor was not a member of the AMA, although this is not compulsory, and the Medical Board will have to decide whether or not to revoke his license.
Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek has also stated that it’s unacceptable for an Australian to advocate on behalf of a terrorist group.
“I‘m sure the full force of the law will be used against him,” she told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
The Australian Greens, meanwhile, urge better prevention programs aimed at curbing youth radicalization. The party says that it’s hardly enough for the prime minister just to call on young people not to join the IS.
“It won’t work – it’s a recipe for complete failure,” Greens leader Christine Milne said in a statement.