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Al-Qaeda Calls for Jihad in Kashmir

Rapid Action Report

13 June 2014, 14:36 EDT

Al-Qaeda’s media outlet, al-Sahab, released a new Urdu-language video today calling on Kashmiri Muslims to join its global jihadist movement. The video, titled, “The War Continues: A Statement on Kashmir’s Muslims,” features an audio sermon by Maulana Asim Umar, one of al-Qaeda two Pakistani propagandists.

Before speaking on Kashmir, Umar paints a picture of a Muslim world in which jihadists seeking to re-establish the Islamic caliphate are fast gaining momentum. He proclaims that “Muslims the world over have picked up arms,” and those “who were once opposed to jihad now view democracy with despondency and have chosen the path of fighting.” The al-Qaeda propagandist states that “Syria is becoming a new Afghanistan” and lists a number of battlefronts–including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen–in which al-Qaeda-style militants are rising.

Screenshot of June 2014 video published by al-Qaeda's media outlet, al-Sahab, calling on Kashmiri Muslims to join its global jihadist movement.

Screenshot of June 2014 video published by al-Qaeda’s media outlet, al-Sahab, calling on Kashmiri Muslims to join its global jihadist movement.

Umar then proceeds to make his case that the Pakistani government reneged on its “promises and pledges” to liberate Kashmir. Referring to former military ruler President Pervez Musharraf’s curbs on Kashmir-focused jihadist groups, Umar says, “The government imposed restrictions and the rulers of the time declared jihad impermissible (haraam).” The “Pakistani establishment,” Umar says, sold out the Kashmiris killed and raped by Indian forces and made Kashmir “into an old memorial,” rather than an active battlefront.

Umar not only aims at reviving the Kashmir jihad — he states, “If jihad was compulsory (farz) then, it remains farz today” — but he also seeks to bring the jihad in Kashmir into al-Qaeda’s orbit, oriented toward the establishment of a global caliphate and united by the slogan, “shariat ya shahadat” (Islamic law or martyrdom). He tells Kashmiri Muslims that the path of civil protests and peaceful resistance they have adopted will come to haunt them.

The al-Qaeda propagandist asserts that there is no hidden hand behind his group’s new focus on Kashmir:

“From the land of Afghanistan, a caravan is heading toward India. Not on the basis of someone’s directive. Not on the basis of some governmental policy. But simply on the basis of abiding by God’s Command.”

In his conclusion, Umar speaks not just of Kashmir, but also of India. He says that “the flag of Islam” will fly above the Red Fort in Delhi and the sermons in the city’s main mosque will be read in the caliph’s name once again.

Umar tells the Muslims of Kashmir and India that this era is the “era of true dreams” and invites them to “make your bases in the land of Khurasan” — a region that includes Afghanistan as well as Pakistan’s Pashtun belt.

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