Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fwd: The Rise of Ideological Jihadists by tufail ahmad in OPEN

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar

The Rise of Ideological Jihadists 21/8/14.

Tufail Ahmad is a former journalist with the BBC Urdu Service and Director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC


Almost all terror attacks in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in India could be attributed to the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, as well as to major Pakistan-based terror organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad. Wait, that is no longer the case. India is now witnessing the rise of a new generation of jihadists, who identify themselves with groups based in the Middle East. They are motivated by the ideology of jihad— both through social media networks as well as by local recruiters—and are not sponsored by Pakistan. As per intelligence estimates that appeared in the media in July, up to 80 Indian Muslim youths are reportedly fighting alongside jihadists in Iraq and Syria. The argument that Indian Muslims are not part of Osama bin Laden's global jihad now stands invalidated by the turn of events.

In the summer of 2013, a new anti-India group began coming to the fore: Ansar ut-Tawheed Fi Bilad Al-Hind (Supporters of the Islamic Monotheism in India). It released a number of videos in which nearly a dozen youths from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were shown training somewhere in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. On 18 July this year, the 20th of the fasting month of Ramadan, a jihadi account on Twitter released a photograph of Anwer Bhatkal, a relative of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal, announcing his death while fighting in Afghanistan.

These Muslim men are being recruited both internally in India and from abroad. As reported by journalist Praveen Swami, four Muslim youths from the suburbs of Mumbai— Arif Majeed, Fahad Sheikh, Shaheen Tanki and Aman Tandel— flew on May 23 for Baghdad as part of a group of 22 Shia pilgrims and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the terror group headed by jihadist commander Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. A few youths from Tamil Nadu who were based in Singapore were recruited by jihadists and are now fighting in Syria, notably Fakkurudeen, who took his wife and three children to the jihadist battlefield. In addition to the ideological jihadists who may or may not be recruited by Pakistan- based groups, the arrest in April—along with the Chennai train blasts in May—of Sri Lankan national Shakir aka Zakir Hussein by Chennai police revealed transnational terror links involving Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan and Malaysia to target Israeli and US consulates in Bangalore and Chennai, hatched by Pakistan's ISI and involving a Pakistani diplomat in Colombo.

On 29 June, an audio statement was issued by Al-Baghdadi. He declared himself as the Caliph, or head of the Islamic State, and demanded bai'yah (an oath of fealty) from all Muslims. Among the jihadists, the position of Caliph, known formally as Emir- ul-Momineen (Leader of the Faithful Muslims), was until now held only by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader from Afghanistan. Al-Baghdadi's ISIS has released a global map where it aims to enforce the Islamic sharia rule. The map includes the land of Khorasan, which covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.



Al-Baghdadi is considered a terrorist by all good-intentioned people in the West and the East, including by a large number of Islamic clerics across the world—except by Indian cleric Maulana Salman Al-Husaini Nadwi. In early July, Nadwi, an Islamic scholar at the Nadwatul Ulama seminary of Lucknow, wrote an open letter greeting him on his assuming the role of Caliph. In the letter sent via messaging service WhatsApp and in later statements in Hindi and Urdu, Nadwi referred to Al-Baghdadi as Emir-ul-Momineen and prayed—'May Allah protect you', spoke of 'good news of victories' in Iraq, urged jihadist organisations in Syria to sink their differences and forge unity, and advocated that Muslims 'abide by' the Emir-ul- Momineen 'if he follows Allah's sharia'.

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