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Islam and Politics ( 4 Sept 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Secular Hindus Allies, Don't Need Al-Qaida: Indian Muslims

 

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States on Alert after Al Qaeda Announces India Wing

HT Correspondents

India to Keep Eye on Al-Qaida-ISIS Competing On Social Media

By Bharti Jain

Al-Qaida's India Wing: New Outfit May Be Drawn From IM, SIMI

By Deeptiman Tiwary

Rival ISIS Pushes Zawahiri To Look For New Frontiers?

By Indrani Bagchi

Al-Qaida's Jihad Call A Recruitment Gimmick?

Times News Network

Ayman Al-Zawahiri: A Doctor Who Joined Hands with Bin Laden

Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times

 

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Secular Hindus Allies, Don't Need Al-Qaida: Indian Muslims

By Mohammed Wajihuddin

TNN | Sep 5, 2014

MUMBAI: The country's Muslim leaders say they're allied with secular forces and don't need a foreign, jihadist outfit like al-Qaida to fight for them. Denouncing the creation of AQ's wing in the Indian subcontinent, clerics, progressive activists and community leaders said AQ is a terror group and can't be friends of Muslims, either in India or anywhere else.

"Muslims in India believe in the Constitution that guarantees freedom to preach and practise their religion. We're self-sufficient and can solve our problems within the Indian framework. We don't need AQ," said Maulana Mehmood Daryabi, general secretary, All India Ulema Council.

Some activists said AQ had earlier declared India among its "enemies". "India with its large Muslim population is an ideal territory for terrorist outfits to target. I'm optimistic AQ won't get much traction here. The overwhelming majority of Muslims don't accept AQ ideology ," said Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD), a think tank.

Anand added this is the time Muslim religious leaders must denounce jihadist groups like AQ and ISIS.

"Al-Qaida cannot be our friend. They're not even true Muslims. They kill innocents. They damage Islam, for they carry out carnage in the name of Islam. If they try to entice our youth, they'll be repulsed. They're enemies of Muslims and we don't need their sympathy ," said M A Khalid of All India Milli Council. Commentators within the community aren't surprised that AQ is trying to entice some Muslim youth to its so-called jihad, but are confident that barring some misguided youth like the four Kalyan boys who allegedly joined ISIS in Syria, Muslims will never get attracted to jihadist cause.

"Our best allies are secular Hindus. They've fought our battles whenever injustice has been done to minorities. AQ has no credibility to find a foothold in India," said Urdu columnist Hasan Kamal. Kamal urged Indian Muslims, especially clerics, to speak out against the dangerous designs of al-Qaida and ISIS. "They should rise against AQ's attempt to entrap them in their dangerous terror game," added Kamal.

Abdul Hafeez Farroqui of Jamaat-e-Islami (Hind) said AQ would give communal forces another reason to further polarize Indian society. "There's no reason for Indian Muslims to be influenced by al-Qaida ideology," said Farooqui.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Secular-Hindus-allies-dont-need-al-Qaida-Indian-Muslims/articleshow/41751377.cms

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States on Alert after Al Qaeda Announces India Wing

HT Correspondents

Hindustan Times Guwahati/ Srinagar/ Lucknow, September 04, 2014

The communally-sensitive states of Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Assam and Uttar Pradesh were put on increased alert on Thursday, a day after al Qaeda announced the formation of a wing in India and its neighbourhood.

In a 55-minute video posted online, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri said the new branch of his militant group will spread Islamic rule and "raise the flag of jihad" across the subcontinent, including Assam, Gujarat and Kashmir.

Gujarat stepped up its vigil after the video which could fan communal hostilities in the state where more than 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, died in a spasm of violence in 2002.

"In the wake of this al Qaeda video, we will be on a higher alert. We will work closely with the central government to tackle any threat posed to the state," S.K. Nanda, the chief secretary of Gujarat. A high security alert in the state involves activating informer networks in sensitive areas. Authorities in Uttar Pradesh also said they were on alert for attacks by local Islamist militants and were worried the video would inflame tensions, especially in the western parts where tensions have been high since last year’s deadly riots in Muzaffarnagar.

“We are studying the video and security agencies have been directed to remain vigilant as the fanatic groups might try to flare up tension in communally-sensitive areas of UP,” said the state’s additional director general for law and order, Mukul Goela.

In Assam, security officials were keeping tabs on groups such as the United Muslim National Army, which is seeking a separate administrative area for Muslims in Assam.

Muslims form 32% of the population in Assam, which has a history of sectarian violence, mostly between ethnic Bodo people and Muslim settlers from bordering Bangladesh.

Concerns over the video were high in strife-torn, Muslim-majority Kashmir, which has been a fertile recruiting ground for global Jihadi groups.

A top counter-insurgency officer, who did not want to be identified, told HT several youth are joining radical militant outfits which believe in suicide bombings, unlike the indigenous Hizb ul Mujahideen that is against suicide bombings at public places.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, AG Mir dismissed reports of recruitment of Kashmiri youth by ISIL or al Qaeda but statements by Hizb ul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin reflect a new thinking among militant groups.

"If al-Qaeda, Taliban or any other organisation or country extends a helping hand to the oppressed Kashmiris, we will welcome it," Salahuddin said in July.

But hard-line Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Geelani dismissed fears of al Qaeda finding a base in Kashmir.

"There is no scope of al Qaeda and Taliban here. Ours is a local and indigenous struggle,” said Geelani.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/states-on-alert-after-al-qaeda-announces-india-wing/article1-1259905.aspx

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India to Keep Eye on Al-Qaida-ISIS Competing On Social Media

By Bharti Jain

TNN | Sep 5, 2014

NEW DELHI: The chilling ISIS videos showing the beheading of two US journalists, which drew condemnation from Barack Obama and other world leaders, appear to have driven al-Qaida to match the sensationalism announcing the launch of its branch in the Indian subcontinent.

The security establishment is of the view that the brazen use of the social media by ISIS to establish its prominence in global jihad may have only added to al-Qaida's marginalisation as the face of transnational terrorism.

"The Qaida video was possibly meant to match the brutal IS posts, and make the world take notice of its potential to reinvent itself by expanding its arc of infl uence," an intelligence official said.

The Indian agencies fear that the Zawahiri video is only the beginning and may be followed by far more brazen posts online. "The coming days may see ISIS and al-Qaida indulging in competitive aggressiveness on social media, exposing the average net user to much more ruthless styles of propaganda," warned an official.

Given that social media posts play a major role in radicalization of minority youths, the prospects of IS and al-Qaida trying to resort to sensationalism to project themselves as the more ruthless outfit have led the security establishment to alert the cyber monitoring agencies.

"Cyber surveillance has to be more aggressive and such campaigns must be tracked in real time. The agencies have been told to scan Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media websites for any objectionable or inflammatory posts and tackle the issue domestically...We are competent enough to do this," an official said. "For now, we are geared up to counter the increased Jihadi activity online with our cyber monitoring mechanisms. But with time we may need to get countries like the US on board, since most social website servers are located there...," the official told TOI.

Incidentally, the capability of Indian agencies to monitor and block incendiary posts remains in question.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/social/India-to-keep-eye-on-al-Qaida-ISIS-competing-on-social-media/articleshow/41748834.cms

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Al-Qaida's India Wing: New Outfit May Be Drawn From IM, SIMI

By Deeptiman Tiwary

TNN | Sep 5, 2014

NEW DELHI: This is neither the first time that al-Qaida is threatening an India-centric jihad nor is it news that Indian jihadists are coming together with those in Pakistan and Bangladesh under the al-Qaida umbrella.

It is in this context that Indian security agencies suspect that AQ's new outfit, Qaedat Al Jihad alias Al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), for jihad in the subcontinent, may be made up of factions of IM and SIMI, Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami and elements from Pak terror groups.

"The drift away from Pakistan's ISI, towards al-Qaida has been on among Indian jihadists for some years now. It's possible that al-Qaida has raised a consortium of these willing jihadists," an Indian intelligence officer said. Though al-Qaida has referred to India since the late 90s, alarm bells began ringing this June when al-Qaida released a video in which it directly referred to Kashmir for the fi rst time and called for Jihad in the region. The video spoke of a "caravan" of "heroic martyrs" coming from Afghanistan to "liberate Kashmir".

Titled "War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir", the video had a message from al-Qaida's Pakistan cell chief, Asim Umar. This is the same Umar who al-Qaida aamir Ayman al Zawahiri in his latest video says will lead Qaedat Al Jihad operations. Last year, Zawahiri released a set of strategic guidelines that mentioned Kashmir.

Indian outfits have been flirting with al-Qaida for long. In the late 80s, when the Kashmir militancy began, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen cadres were known to have been training in Afghanistan, where al-Qaida was active.

As a wave of terrorism swept India post-Babri demolition and the 2002 Gujarat riots, many youth travelled to Pakistan and areas bordering Afghanistan. Though post-9/11 al-Qaida had great ideological pull across the world of jihad, Indians started gravitating towards the outfit only in the past couple of years.

IM operatives such as Bada Sajid, Mirza Shadab Baig and Dr Shahnawaz Alam are suspected to be working for al-Qaida in Afghanistan. IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal has travelled to Afghanistan to establish liaisons with al-Qaida and Taliban. Patna blasts accused SIMI-operative Haidar Ali apparently learnt bomb making from al-Qaida's online magazine 'Inspire'.

Conversations of IM operatives such as Yasin Bhatkal, Riyaz, Baig and Asadullah Akhtar, intercepted by agencies, have revealed their desire to fight alongside al-Qaida. Baig and Akhtar last year discussed getting al-Qaida to release a video calling for jihad in India for greater impact. That wish was granted on Wednesday.

AQIS will be led by Maulana Asam Umar, a breakaway Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader who reportedly authored the book: 'The Army of Anti-Christ: Blackwater', which reportedly documents alleged American atrocities in Islamic Countries.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Al-Qaidas-India-wing-New-outfit-may-be-drawn-from-IM-SIMI/articleshow/41748112.cms

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Rival ISIS Pushes Zawahiri To Look For New Frontiers?

By Indrani Bagchi

TNN | Sep 5, 2014

NEW DELHI: Ayman al Zawahiri's declaration that al-Qaida was opening a South Asia branch office has evoked several questions: Why now? Is al-Qaida losing ground to ISIS? How dangerous is al-Qaida when ISIS is hogging headlines?

Zawahiri's announcement should be seen in the context of the growing competition between al-Qaida and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's ISIS. Building an Islamic caliphate has been an al-Qaida dream. Unfortunately, competition has taken the title over. This June ISIS declared a "caliphate" and Baghdadi took the title of Caliph Ibrahim, posing a serious threat to al-Qaida. From its stunning military successes in Iraq and Syria to the shocking killings of US journalists, ISIS turned its rival's business model on its head. This February, al-Qaida expelled ISIS from its fold.

"Al-Qaida doesn't announce new affiliates lightly, nor does it seem to be made up of fly-by night outfits. This (Zawahiri's) announcement appears significant, both for India and assessing the state of AQ's organization. It's likely that HUM and HUJI branches are involved in the endeavour, ditto for IM," says Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, senior fellow, Foundation for Defence of Democracies.

Until now, al-Qaida and its affiliates dominated the global jihadist movement, a loose franchise model. Local groups pursued local interests but swore allegiance to bin Laden and the al-Qaida ideology. They swore Bayat (loyalty) to Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban leader. Baghdadi upset the applecart. And, more cracks appeared. Loyalists defected to ISIS creating an alternative Jihadi power centre. Mamoun Hatem, a cleric from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula backed ISIS. Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian leader of former Jemaah Islamiyah weighed in its favour (Southeast Asia, and Malaysia have become strong ISIS recruiting grounds). Baghdadi got support from Abu Sayyaf members. Even Egyptian Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis apparently switched sides.

ISIS is the successor entity to Abu Musab al Zarqawi's Jama'at al Tauhid wa al Jihad. Al-Qaida specialist Katherine Zimmermann at American Enterprise Institute says Zarqawi and bin Laden differed over strategy. Bin Laden, and later, Zawahiri tried to gloss over the Shia-Sunni fault line, urging Muslim unity in the jihad enterprise. Zarqawi openly targeted Shias. ISIS followed this line. Zimmermann writes, "The group far surpasses other al-Qaida affiliates in lethality, brutality, and effectiveness. The group is refining its expertise. We must expect that that knowledge will move beyond Iraq and Syria. The scale is far beyond that of the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets."

Al-Qaida is now more Pakistan centric than ever. Its base remains strong there, and may increase after the US drone strikes reduce. With NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, al-Qaida is already sprouting in Kunar and Nuristan. According to Intel enter, recent al-Qaida videos focus on Pakistan and India. In 2013, Urdu displaced Arabic as the predominant language in al-Qaida propaganda.

Despite ISIS, al-Qaida remains as dangerous as ever, which explains why Zawahiri’s message is being seen as a significant challenge to counter-terrorism authorities? Gartenstein-Ross says, "I don't think Zawahiri fears irrelevance. Al-Qaida is more than strong to keep it relevant for a long time despite the hyperbolic commentary to the contrary."

Jihad watchers say ISIS' brutality has diminishing returns. Al-Qaida plays the longer game and will remain the top Jihadi challenge for some time.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Al-Qaidas-India-wing-Rival-ISIS-pushes-Zawahiri-to-look-for-new-frontiers/articleshow/41729351.cms

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Al-Qaida's Jihad Call A Recruitment Gimmick?

Times News Network

 Sep 5, 2014

NEW DELHI: The 55-minute video of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announcing formation of an Indian branch of his terror organization may not mean imminent attacks, but gives enough clues of what Osama bin Laden's successor hopes to achieve.

Multiple sources in the security establishment said they have no evidence yet of any Indians joining al-Qaida, but some Indians are now in Afghanistan or Pakistan, fighting for Taliban and other terror organisations.

Experts suspect this could be al-Qaida's bid to improve its fortunes in the face of ISIS's rising appeal, which has been finding recruits even from India. "It may be a recruitment gimmick," one senior intelligence official said. While another said that there has been worrying disquiet in recent months among terrorist groups focused on India. "So I would not rule out anything," he added.

Zawahiri said the Indian branch would raise the "flag of jihad" across south Asia, while declaring his loyalty to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. The newly formed "al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (al-Qaida IS)" (Jamaat Qaidat Al-Jihad Fi 'Shibhi Al-Qarrat Al-Hindiya) would fight against injustice and oppression of Muslims in "Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir," he said.

The al-Qaida boss has urged the Ummah to wage "jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive its caliphate (Islamic state)". "Against the backdrop of the rise of ISIS it is a worrisome development, we need to gear up for new challenges. The caliphate (ISIS) seems to be appealing to youngsters. Now that the al-Qaida leadership sees people responding to ISIS, they could be jumping into the scene to attract new members," former R&AW chief P K Hormis Tharakan said.

The global al-Qaida appeal has been falling for some time now, with its most aggressive face Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi calling himself a caliph, and expanding his operations into Syria and establishing ISIS as an entity independent of al-Qaida. Al-Zawahiri wanted ISIS to be abolished. Zawahiri said he has been assembling a coalition that is now called al-Qaida IS. Though he has not named any specific c groups, references in the comments of al-Qaida IS spokesman Usamah Mahmud gives an idea of their inspiration.

Mahmud spoke about Hasan Gul (head of al-Qaida in Pakistan who was killed in 2012), Badr Mansur (Harakat ul-Mujahidin), Amjad al-Faruqi (Harakat ul-Jihad-e-Islami leader accused of trying to assassinate Musharraf), Ilyas Kashmiri (lionised among Kashmiri militants), Ahsan Aziz (leader of Jamiat Talaba, student wing of Jamaat-e Islami), and Dr Arshad Wahid (architect of the assassination attempt against Karachi Corps Commander).

For many observers the announcement and recent political developments are all worrying. One of them pointed out that the intensification of communal discourse, election of PM Narendra Modi, repeated communal incidents, etc, are reasons that could add appeal to the violent ideologies.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Al-Qaidas-jihad-call-a-recruitment-gimmick/articleshow/41748553.cms

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Ayman Al-Zawahiri: A Doctor Who Joined Hands with Bin Laden

Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times

Islamabad, September 05, 2014

A doctor by profession, al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was born in 1951 in a prosperous family in Cairo, Egypt. Rejecting his family fortune, at the age of 14, he had joined the Muslim Brotherhood. Though Zawahiri met Osama bin Laden in Jeddah, it was in Pakistan where the two worked closely together.

He first arrived in Pakistan in 1985 to work as a surgeon at a Red Cross hospital in Peshawar. Drawn by bin Laden, then running a base for Mujahideen called Maktab al-Khadamat,  Zawahri started working as his personal physician.

While al Qaeda has been active in Pakistan for year, it was in 2007 that a direct link was found between Zawahri, then the deputy head of the terror outfit, and its attacks on Pakistan. The outfit’s presence came to light after Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf laid siege of the jihadists holed up inside Islamabad’s Lal Masjid.

Within three years, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda had merged and Zawahri became bin Laden’s deputy. He took over the reins after bin Laden was killed in 2011. Since then he has remained largely in the background but with the ISIS stealing some of al Qaeda’s thunder, it is believed that Zawahri is now trying to re-assert himself and the organisation.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/ayman-al-zawahri-a-doctor-who-joined-hands-with-bin-laden/article1-1260148.aspx#sthash.LEsx2ld8.dpuf

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-politics/mohammed-wajihuddin-and-others/secular-hindus-allies,-don-t-need-al-qaida--indian-muslims/d/98917

 

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