Al-Qaida aspires to gain from Hindu-Muslim strife in India, says Europol


By Sumit Kumar Singh New Delhi, Aug 4 : The Al-Qaida terror organisation is making an all-out effort to capitalise on the tension between Hindus and Muslims in India using its Urdu platforms, said Europol, an European Union law enforcement cooperation agency. Europol in its annual report on online Jihadist propaganda also stated that the Al-Qaida is collaborating with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA). It has managed to establish itself in Kashmir, with Kashmiris leading the valley wing, the European Union law enforcement cooperation agency, said. "Al-Qaida has also focused on denouncing Pakistan's role in Kashmir through targeted Urdu propaganda in which it accuses the Pakistani government of being an apostate of the US and a bunch of traitors who fill their pockets with bribes and illegitimate wealth," the report stated. The report released last week by the European Union's Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) at Europol covers the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019, and outlines the major trends and developments in the propaganda of the most prominent Sunni jihadist organisations ? the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida ? as well as their affiliates and offshoots. It further identifies the dominant themes exploited by the groups during this period. The report stated that in a July 9 video titled "Don't forget Kashmir", Ayman al-Zawahiri accused the Pakistani intelligence agencies of providing "crusaders" with information about the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, arresting and killing Al-Qaida and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan fighters and providing the US with safe houses and secured land routes. The Al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent is the youngest affiliate, and is a patchwork of jihadi groups. Describing Kashmir as "a bleeding wound in our hearts", al-Zawahiri stressed that bellicosity against Kashmir would be interpreted as directed against the entire "umma". Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Kashmiri mujahidin to focus on targeting the Indian Army and government "so as to bleed the Indian economy". "AQIS is also endeavouring to capitalise on tensions between Hindus and Muslims through its Urdu-language propaganda," the report stated. In keeping with Al-Qaida's overall strategy, the subcontinent-wing abstains from attacking non-combatant Buddhists, Christians, and Hindus. Currently, the Al-Qaida network is present across South Asia, including in Myanmar where it has capitalised on the Rohingya conflict. The subcontinent wing has also expanded into other countries in the region, such as Bangladesh. This is noteworthy given that Bangladesh has become a sparring arena for Al-Qaida and Islamic State. Given its geographic disadvantage, Islamic State has relied on online propaganda to propagate its message via the locally-based Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), while the Al-Qaida has focused on collaborating more directly with local jihadi groups, including Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team, the report stated. Europol is headquartered at the Hague in Netherlands and provides support and resources to 27 EU member states. Europol also works with many non-EU partner states and international organisations. (Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at sumit.k@ians.in) /IANS




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