Jihadi Groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir have been thriving, but there has been a massive clash in their ideologies. Various jihadi groups have been used by the fragile Pakistani state to bolster its national identity against India. Both ISIS and Al Qaeda have been trying to aggressively woo Kashmiri youths but simultaneously state that Jihad in Kashmir is Un-Islamic? EurAsian Times analyses the ISIS narrative
According to a recent paper by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses “Salafi jihadi groups, particularly ISIS operatives, using social media apps like Telegram have been quite busy these days denouncing the so-called Kashmir independence movement as ‘un-Islamic’. To them, jihad should not be conducted for nationalistic reasons but instead waged solely to please Allah (in Islamic terms ‘jihad fi Sabilillah’). In practical terms, it implies the imposition of the most Salafized version of Shariah.”
The concept of jihad in Pakistan-Afghanistan-India-Bangladesh region is attributed to Sayyid Ahmed of Bareili. He had been influenced by the ideas of Muhammad ibn-Abdul Wahhab, to which he had been exposed during his pilgrimage to Mecca. His followers interpreted the Islamic concept of jihad in its literal sense of holy war.
Sayyid Ahmed’s revival of the ideology of jihad became the prototype for subsequent Islamic militant movements in South and Central Asia and is also the main influence over the jihad network of Al Qaeda and its associated groups in the region. Today, modern communications facilitate jihad without frontiers.
And despite the differences in technology, the 19th-century mujahideen remain the role model for today’s jihadis, who make up an international network aimed at waging holy war at a time when the majority of Muslims seek to synthesize their faith with modern-living.
Kashmiri Jihad Scrutinized
The methods and means adopted for the so-called resistance by segments of the Kashmiri populace have also come under criticism by the purveyors of global jihad. ISIS elements have denounced the participation of Kashmiri women in stone-pelting activities against Indian soldiers, which to them violates the conservative Islamic norms regarding Muslim women’s conduct in public life.
ISIS and Al Qaeda have also denounced Pakistan’s provision of support to the secessionist Kashmiris as irreligious. In their view, Pakistan is ‘an apostate power’ – in that it has avoided the full implementation of Shariah rule and has ostensibly sided with the international coalition against terror.
According to experts, the ideological wedge widened after Burhan Wani’s encounter when Zakir Musa emerged as Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) leader in Kashmir. Everyone was astonished when he quit HM and created his own terror-group Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind. He towed the Salafi-jihadi line of jihadism.
In his capacity, he drew the support of two groups, Harkatul Mujahideen and Kashmir Taliban who follow the same ideology. But Hurriyat leaders have said that ‘Kashmir issue’ has nothing to do with world level groups – ISIS and Al Qaeda. The leaders said that these groups have no role in the Kashmiri movement. But this hasn’t stopped the self-radicalized youths from choosing their own path. There is no doubt that Kashmir conflict embodies a complex amalgamation of religious, nationalist and political factors which are deeply rooted in history.
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