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.