Recruitment war between ISIS and al Qaeda heats up
After Syria and Afghanistan, global terror groups set their sights on B'desh and India
New Delhi: The bloody rivalry between al Qaeda and Islamic State that took roots in the ongoing conflict in Syria, now seems to be spilling over in South Asia. The Indian sub continent is emerging as a new turf for the global terrorist groups to recruit and draw battle- lines. To attract recruits from India – which has the world's second largest followers of Islam but have stayed averse to the violent jihad – al Qaeda and Islamic State group have released propaganda videos revealing India's glorious Islamic past when the country was ruled under Sharia law and chiding the community for not joining the holy war against the taghouts ( idolators).
This week the al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent ( AQIS), headed by Maulana Asim Umar, released the English subtitled version of ' Shariah or Democracy’ video while the IS released ' Bilad al Hind, between hope and pain', on Telegram, directly addressing the Indian Muslim community, inciting them to revolt against their life under democratic governance and cow worshipping Hindus and follow the path of Shariah.
Blaming the British crusaders for destroying and eliminating the Islamic system that flourished in India under the Mughal rule and the onset of democracy which further suppressed the Muslim community, AQIS chief Umar rebukes the Indian Muslims for co- habiting and living under a man- made system as against Shariah- based religious laws. “It is a wonder that 65 years after the British left, some people still adhere to their sinister system ( man- made democracy) and declare it mandatory for our progress and stare in surprise to those who want to restore the Islamic system,” Ironically, Umar, identified as Sanaullah Khan, who left his village in Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh as a teenager and later joined al Qaeda in Pakistan- Afghanistan, belongs to a family whose ancestors strived in India’s freedom struggle and condemn jihad in the name of religion.
The AQIS, established in September 2014, shortly after IS declared a Caliphate on its captured territory in Syria and Iraq in July, focusing its operations in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. The total strength of the group is not known, but it has presence of handful of Indians particularly from Umar’s native town of UP, who went to fight jihad in Afghanistan. The group’s leadership is believed to be based in the North Waziristan area of the Af- Pak region. Although AQIS has not made any attacks, the Delhi Special Cell last year claimed to have busted a module of five members including the alleged India head, who were trained and planned to conducts blasts.
The IS group on the other hand, has lured over a dozen young men from India in its group who are attracted to the ideology of the Caliphate and returning back to the basics of Islam. In its video, the group invokes theology to cast India as a land of Shirk ruled by polytheists and idolators in complete disdain of tawheed, the concept of oneness of Allah followed by Muslims. It castigates Muslims in India for deviating from the fundamental teachings of Islam and adapting practices of the mushkireen ( disbelievers). “Those Muslims who are refraining from jihad and are running after the petty glory of small world should see the agenda of the kufr, how they are bent on eliminating Muslims,” the narrators say in Arabic, with images of riots and dead bodies looming in the background, in the IS video.
Both the groups attempt to put the sectarian tensions between the Muslim community and majority Hindu into the context of global jihad, equating the demo- lition of Babri Masjid, riots in Gujarat, Assam, Muzaffarnagar and the conflict in Kashmir, as slaughtering of the ' Islamic identity'. The IS makes use of its Indian fighters who unable to endure the injustice, travelled to Syria under the Caliphate rule and have now vowed to avenge.
“Oh brothers and sisters, they ( Hindus) have become the rulers of your life, they can kill you whenever they want, for any reason, like sometimes for slaughtering a cow. Our mothers and sisters are not safe, nor our businesses. Hindus are forcefully trying to convert Muslims, but the worst is that our religion is being mocked at,’’ addresses the masked jihadi, Ahmad Farouq al- Hindi with an evident stutter in Urdu to his Indian Muslim brethren. `` Is there still a space for any more humiliation and disgrace. Are you still not able to generate the spirit of avenge and jihad within you ?,’’
The IS also targets the Muslim clergy in India for hobnobbing with the idolatory communities and dissuading Muslims away from the honest faith while confusing them with ideas of patriotism while declaring the holy jihad as haraam. "You continue to remain passive and refrain from Jihad in which lies your success and which is fard ( mandatory),’’ coerces the narrator in Arabic in the new IS video. The sub- continent with a large number of followers of Islam is an attractive base for jihadi groups to discharge radical propaganda, inciting them to fight for the glory of Islam and their identity.
Indian intelligence agencies as well believe that the propaganda of al Qaeda and IS group is devoured on social media platforms by ignorant youth, but the number of those trying to actually joining the groups is limited. "Today we carry GPS devices, satellite phones, lightweight modems, laptops, powerful/ bifocal headlamps, ultra light ice axes, etc"
Thanks to easy- to- carry and cutting- edge GPS devices, the world has been keeping track of every step taken by Arjun Vajpai, the sole Indian attempting the 8000m+ Mount Makalu this year, since the time he began the journey on foot from the town of Tumlingtar in Nepal on April 13.
Around five hours after leaving the Advanced Base Camp, he reached Camp 2 at 3: 30pm and was also able to WhatsApp his managing team in New Delhi news of the safe arrival of the Makalu 2016 Expedition at Camp 2 at 21,653.54 ft. This, despite the Makalu region facing very strong winds of up to 50km/ h and also regular snowfall.
The telecommunication and live tracking gadgets that Vajpai and other modern mountaineers are armed with today are a far cry from the altimeter that was found on the injury- ridden body of pioneering English mountaineer George Mallory on Mount Everest in 1999 — 75 years after he went missing with his partner Andrew ‘ Sandy’ Irvine on the North- East ridge.
The find, by North- Face mountaineering team leader American climber Conrad Anker, also later revealed a dysfunctional altimeter found on Mallory’s injured but well- preserved body at 26,755.25 ft. That is roughly a little over 2,273 ft away from the top of Mt Everest.
So, due to this technological anomaly, a decades- long debate continues about whether Mallory and Irvine were the first to summit Everest that day on June 9, prior to Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and met with accidents on the way back or not. But meanwhile, modern mountaineers are able to load videos, photos and live stream their journey.
“Today we carry GPS devices, satellite phones, lightweight modems, laptops, powerful/ bifocal headlamps, ultra light ice axes, gale- withstanding protective clothing, sleeping bags with body heat mapping technology and compact oxygen cylinders,” lists Vajpai, who climbed the Everest at age 16 in 2010.
Tech advancements in the past 75 years have also increased safety, improved rescue operations, and provided fast audio and video communications. This has led to a rise in the number of mountaineers and ‘ tourist climbers’ to Nepal and the world over. 22- year- old Arjun Vajpai is the
third youngest Indian to summit Mount Everest and
holds the world record as youngest summiteer on Mount Lhotse and Mount Manaslu, the fourth and eighth
Grabs from the Islamic State and al Qaeda videos