Al Qaeda set eyes on Kashmir

*Militant outfit urges Muslims to wage ‘holy war’ against India

SRINAGAR, Kashmir – Militants from Al Qaeda's central command have released a video calling on Muslims in the Indian-held Kashmir to follow the example of ‘brothers’ in Syria and Iraq and wage a ‘holy war’ against India, local and foreign media reported on Sunday.


The video, which cites the ‘new Afghanistan being created in Syria’ as inspiration, is the first to specifically target Kashmir. The video – war should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir – was uploaded in recent days to a website where statements by other leaders of Al Qaeda and its affiliates have been released in the past.


The video appears to have been produced by As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s in-house media production unit, and includes a statement read by Maulana Asim Umar. It begins with a montage of pictures of violent demonstrations in Kashmir in 2010 in which scores of civilian protesters were killed by the Indian armed forces and shows pictures of the famous Dal Lake.


In the video, Kashmiri Muslims are urged to join the global movement. “Now Muslims all over the world have picked up arms … are marching in the field of jihad. Even those who rejected jihad are now joining this path after being disillusioned with democratic ways of peaceful protests,” according to the message.


"From the land of Afghanistan, a caravan is heading towards India. Not on the basis of someone's directive. Not on the basis of some government policy. But simply on the basis of abiding by God's command,” Maulana Umar said, and claimed that ‘the flag of Islam’ will fly above the Red Fort in New Delhi and sermons in the city's main mosque will be read in the caliph's name.


The specific messages are addressed to Kashmiri Muslims living on both sides of the Line of Control in the divided state, as well as to the broader Muslim populations of Pakistan and India. The video mentions Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Algeria and other violence-hit areas as ‘inspirations’ to aspirant militants.

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