Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi who is considered for many militants in al-Qaeda a spiritual mentor, spoke after he was released from being held in Jordan after three months.
His release as well as harsh criticism toward the Islamic State group came during a time the government in Jordan is attempting to win a broader popular support for the intensified airstrikes it begin against the radical militant group following the burning alive of their pilot.
In a Thursday interview with Roya a Jordanian television station, Al-Maqdisi insisted the barbaric act of burning the pilot was not acceptable by anyone or any religion.
The cleric said that he was involved in talks behind the scenes to arrange the possible swap of prisoners to gain the pilot’s release. Jordan offered to swap a prisoner last week for their pilot, but after said that it had become clear the pilot had been killed at the beginning of January.
The cleric said it was his belief that IS was never serious with regard to setting up a prisoner swap. During his communications with them, he said they lied as well as being evasive. They had acted as if they had interest in the swap but the reality was they did not.
He also was critical of ISIS for their declaring of a caliphate in 2014 in areas they have taken control of in Iraq and Syria. Al-Maqdisi said the caliphate or a state according to the Islamic law, was for the bringing together of Muslims, but the militants were divisive.
Over 10 years ago, al-Maqdisi was considered the mentor of an Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda, which was a precursor of the current ISIS. However, he ended his relationship with his protégés due to their methods, which included attacks carried out on other Muslims.
In October of last year, the cleric was arrested by Jordanian authorities after he had criticized the participation of Jordan in the military coalition led by the U.S. against ISIS.