Al Qaeda Calls for Jihad in India

Al Qaeda claims it has a network in India’s Kashmir region and has called for jihad among India’s Muslims.

A man claiming to represent al-Qaida in Kashmir said the terror network had set up a wing in Kashmir and appealed to Indian Muslims to take up jihad, an Indian news agency reported Thursday. An official said the government said it was taking the claim ”very seriously.” The man, who identified himself as Abu al-Hadeed, told Kashmir’s Current News Service that ”who so ever has carried out the attacks in Bombay we express our gratitude and happiness.”

As word of the announcement spread, a senior intelligence official in Kashmir said the call had been placed from a local landline phone that authorities were trying to trace. ”Our immediate effort is to locate the caller and ascertain the authenticity of the claim,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media. ”The government is taking it very seriously.” It was impossible to independently verify the caller’s identity and if he actually represents a new wing of al-Qaida.

The Bombay train bombings on Tuesday killed at least 200 people and injured more than 700. Kashmiri militants are being investigated for the attack, although two main rebel groups have denied responsibility. There have been allegations that Islamic militants fighting to wrest predominantly Muslim Kashmir from India have ties to al-Qaida, but Thursday’s statement is the first time Osama bin Laden’s network has claimed to have spread to the Indian territory. ”We appeal to Muslims in India to fight for freedom and Islam and choose jihad as their way to achieve freedom and establishing Islamic ways,” al-Hadeed was quoted as saying. He added the Bombay bombings ”are a reaction to what is happening to the minorities, especially Muslims in India.”

Certainly, that Mumbai/Bombay train bombings have all the earmarks of an al Qaeda operation. Given that the usual indigenous suspects have denied responsibility, it wouldn’t surprise me in this least if it were the case.

Walid Phares, writing yesterday before this announcement, noted that it’s rather late to call for jihad in India, since it’s already underway:

Is this the beginning of the Jihadi war on India? Yes and no. Yes it is a jihadist war on India, but no, the trains’ bombings weren’t the beginning of that war. Unlike the U.S., Spain, and the UK, the Indians have been subjected to small explosions of the holy war for years. Yesterday’s bombings of Mumbai’s trains (previously Bombay) are not the first strikes on Indian mainland. In October 2005, terror bombings killed more than 60 people in the Indian capital of Delhi. Mumbai itself was the target of terror attacks that massacred 55 persons and injured 180 in August 2003. And in December 2001, jihadist groups launched raids on India’s parliament killed a number of people, as well. The targeting of the most populous democracy on earth has been taking place for years, even before 9/11 at the hands of followers of a Salafi-Tablighi ideology, with common roots with al-Qaeda’s terrorist doctrine. The July 11 blasts in Mumbai aiming at innocent civilians are the last in a string of crimes directed against the Indian population by militants following orders and engaged in an irreversible path of violence. But who did it and why?

Indian experts and security sources believe that an Indian jihadist, Daoud Ibrahim, is probably behind the organization of the terror attacks in Mumbai, as he is accused of having a history of similar actions. Ibrahim is an Indian Muslim who followed Islamist ideology and committed himself to waging jihad against the Hindus and the state of India. He is believed to have declared Bay’a (commitment) to Osama Bin Laden in the past. Ibrahim has jihadist networks inside India and is connected with the Kashmir Islamist organizations on both sides of the border with Pakistan.

Much more at the link.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. If only India hadn’t been a toady to Bush and invaded Iraq they would have been safe. The blood of those killed in Mumbai is on the hands of the Indian government for their atrocities against the Iraqi people.

    (So what do you think, have I got this leftist cant down pat? Who needs facts when your bashing Bush.)

  2. legion says:

    Hmmm… I’m no area specialist, but if I recall, isn’t India overwhwelmingly Hindu? It’s neighboring Pakistan, which broke away from India some decades back, that’s mainly Muslim, isn’t it?

    This sounds more like an attempt to drive a further wedge between two countries that don’t like each other much, but are both US allies against AQ.

    Oh yeah, and they both have nukes. Pleasant dreams…

  3. Amit Raman says:

    This is not a jihadi war, since no Imam has publicaly come out and stated this. In Islam, an Imam declares Jihad. But this is just an act of right-wing Islamists. They have had poor success doing something after 9/11 in the US, so India is easier to to get to.

  4. Anderson says:

    In Islam, an Imam declares Jihad.

    Sounds right to me, Amit, but hasn’t Osama had good results finding some hungry Imam or other to endorse his various wishes? (I assume you mean the less exalted Sunni “imam.”)