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VIDEO: Al-Qaeda declares it will open a new branch in India

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/4/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Leader vows to 'wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty'

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a 55-minute long video announced that his terrorist organization will launch a new branch in the Indian subcontinent. Al-Zawahiri vows to "wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate."

While all terrorist threats must be taken seriously, many analysts have been quick to dismiss al-Qaeda's plans for the Indian subcontinent.

While all terrorist threats must be taken seriously, many analysts have been quick to dismiss al-Qaeda's plans for the Indian subcontinent.

Highlights

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
9/4/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Al-Qaeda, India, recruitment, discounting


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Al-Zawahiri rolls off a sinister itinerary. He says that he seeks to gain support "for the vulnerable" in Myanmar and Bangladesh; in the Indian states of Assam and Gujarat; and in Kashmir, the disputed region between India and Pakistan. He also calls for "rescue" from "injustice, oppression, persecution, and suffering" in these areas.

According to some analysts, it could all be rather pathetic bluster. Al-Qaeda's most recent announcement could be an indication they're struggling for followers as ISIS gains support in the global Islamist movement.

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"It's al-Zawahiri's obvious way of getting some of the limelight back," Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst said. He dismisses the video as "hyperventilation and posturing," as ISIS has moved front and center.

Amarendra Tiwari, an official with India's Ministry of Home Affairs says that the Indian government is trying to confirm the video's authenticity. A security alert has been issued in parts of India, although details were not given.

Many continue to discount the video's veracity. Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University says that the India announcement is unlikely to win over constituents.

"They are losing a lot of constituents to the Islamic State," he said. "They're trying to show their global reach as an organization, but I'm not sure of exactly what sign they are trying to send."

If ISIS undermines al-Qaeda, "it's going to affect funding," Ajit Singh, senior fellow at South Asia Terrorism Portal in New Delhi says. Radicalized Muslims are more likely to fund ISIS.

"That's why al Qaeda is trying to increase its influence," he said.

Singh says it's not al Qaeda's first time trying to gain a foothold in India. Predominantly Hindu nation, India has a 13 percent Muslim population, according to the country's census.

Inter-religious relations have become tense before. In 2002, Gujarat was wracked with anti-Muslim violence, in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

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