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Another Western Stupidity: “Why Do They Hate Us?”

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The Western world is ignorant, unacquainted, and in fact stupid concerning Islam. For so many years and so many Islamic attacks, its leaders still reiterate the Pavlovian question: “why do they hate us?” On March 22, 2016 Matthew Karnitsching ran an op-ed in Politico, titled “Why Do They Hate Us So Much? How the Brussels attacks strike at the heart of Europe and shake its political foundations.”

It’s time to stop asking this question. It is confusing and embarrassing, let alone being stupid and shows ignorance. Like battered spouses, victims of Islamic violence continue trying to alter their own behavior, to appease and to blaming themselves in futile attempts to make the Muslims to love “us.” It’s time to stop asking this question and to start understanding Islam. It is Islam, which is culturally so different, being tribal and ascriptive (suspicion and mistrust). It is the Islamic Sharī’ah, which includes the entire Scriptures (Qur’ān Hadīth and Sīrah). It is Islamic doctrine, the centrality of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’, the total loyalty to Islam and the total animosity and hatred to the other. It is the main part of Islamic education, socialization and indoctrination (at home, in schools, in the mosques, through the media, and by Muslim clerics).

This hatred to the other is cultural, religious, and ideological. It is out of the educational realm and part of the public surroundings and lifestyle. It is not and never has been economic. It is not and never has been out of poverty and lack of education. It has nothing to do with inferior feelings or psychological frustrations. Above all, it is not out of Western blames, of colonialism and imperialism and guilt remorse.

So when Fareed Zakaria asked in October 15, 2001, in Newsweek, “The Politics of Rage: Why Do They Hate Us?” he blames the victim: the US support of “Israel’s iron-fisted rule over the occupied territories;” having “neglected to press any regime there to open up its society,” and by supporting “oppressive police states” in the Arab world. This view was reiterated by John Powers, in LA Weekly, on September 19, 2001, that American support for “brutal, undemocratic Middle Eastern regimes” is the root of the problem. Bill Maher returned to this on November 13, 2015, concluding that “we still don’t know the answer,” and Hisham Melhem has debated the same question on December 7, 2015, in Politico, blaming the poor assimilation and rampant Islamophobia.

The Western world has learned nothing, and still ask this stupid question when the answer is crystal clear? It is only when it faces up to its delusions and actions and stop torturing itself and silencing Islam critics, it will be able to take itself out of darkness. Islam is totally different culturally. Muslims don’t want to assimilate and to integrate. It is not Islamophobia but Islamophilia, even Islamification. Islam is defined as the total submission and devotion to Allah.

Islam is a political religion, more political than religion that acts in a continuous expansion without political borders, until the entire humanity proclaims “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” The focus of Islam is the occupation of the world employed in dynamic means. This is the natural reality of Islam to control and not being controlled; to impose its religious doctrine on all the nations of the world; and to be superior on all the infidels (4:141; 7:158; 9:33, 123; 21:107; 63:8). At the same time, it is the interest of humanity to come under Islamic rule (7:158; 21:107). Islam has the eternal divine wisdom from the beginning of history to the end of the world, and the Muslims are the best of nations who believe in Allah, doing but the good and denying evil (3:110; 3:114; 5:3; 9:71; 9:112). The objective is the establishment of world Islamic Ummah under the Caliphate. It is so inclusive that all human history, from Adam to the end of the world is Islamic (12:109). Heaven and Earth and all in-between would have been collapsed unless they are controlled by Allah (5:17; 10:68; 21:22; 40:62; 46:33; 48:14).

This ideological call and action of Islam is imperative, and those who oppose this natural world order become immediately the enemy, including other Muslims, and deserve death. It is so simple. When one learn the Islamic doctrine and its objectives, there are no doubts about the question. One has to clearly understand the al-Wala’ wal-Bara’ doctrine, which is second in importance, after the Tawhīd, the oneness of Allah. Loyalty to Islam and animosity to the Kuffār are an integral part of the strict adherence to the Sharī’ah, and are demanded by all the Muslims.

The Qur’ān says that all other religions as such are cursed by Allah. All those who join idols, or false gods to Allah, or invent lies about him, or deny Allah, or change even one word of Allah’s Book, or does not believe in Muhammad — are to be “seized wherever found and slain with a slaughter.” The second aspect of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is when the Muslims solemnly declare the Tawhīd: La Illāh ila-llâh (there is no god but Allah), it means they clearly state that all other religions are denied, sinful and unlawful. According to Ibn Taymiyah: it is not possible to achieve complete happiness by loving Allah, except by the full rejecting all other things. This is what the words, “There is no god but Allah” mean; this is the spirit of Dīn.

On many verses, the Qur’ān reiterates the commandment that it is forbidden to associate other gods with Allah, and Islam should be adhered to become the only legitimate religion on earth. It is followed by the swear-belief that Muhammad is his messenger, that his conduct embodied Islam and Qur’ān. Muhammad’s words are absolutely the best to follow, being religiously unassailable. Moreover, the mission of Muhammad is to all humanity, so actually humanity must obey Muhammad as much as Allah. Those who disobey Allah and his messenger will be led into the torment of Hell-fire to live forever. Tawhīd will never be achieved on earth until the believers apply the doctrine of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’, by total following of Muhammad’s way of life, al-Sirāt al-Mustaqīm.

The al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ doctrine also relates to the prayer. In each of the five daily prayers, Muslims declare the total allegiance and submission to Islam and objection to the other, between 17 to 100 times a day, as appears in al-Fātihah, 1:5-7: “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not of those against whom there is wrath, nor of those have gone astray.” Those who have incurred Allah’s wrath are the Jews, and those who go astray are the Christians.

The last aspect of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is related the issue of war and peace (Siyār). Since the world is divided into two distinct realms: Dār al-Islām and Dār al-Harb, the normal and only justified relationship is a state of infinite war. There is no peace in Islam toward the other but temporary, elaborated by Majid Khadduri. Islam has no concept of “Just War,” since any war directed against the Kuffār, whatever are its grounds and circumstances is morally justified and religiously legitimized. A lasting peace between Dār al–Islām and Dār al–Harb is impossible, until Dār al–Harb no more exists. When the entire world becomes Dār al–Islām, submission to Allah will be the law of the whole universe, and Jihad al-Akbar reigns. Until then, war is the normal and lasting state of affair (Jihād al-Saghīr).

The issue of Walā’ wa-Barā’ has also a domestic framework. Salafi-Jihadi groups and the Wahhabi Muslims believe they are the Saved Sect (al-Tā’ifah al-Mansūrah), the only group that has the correct Islamic beliefs. They are the real Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamā‘ah, while all other manifestations of Islam have deviated from the ‘straight path’ (Sirāt al-Mustaqīm), and by that destined for hell as ‘apostates’. This principle is the basis of Takfīr doctrine the Jihadists use to identify their domestic Muslim enemies and to justify their elimination, as we see in Dawlat al-Khilāfah al-Islāmīyah.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s concept of Takfīr, includes the command that anyone who does not show sufficient levels of Walā’, allegiance to ‘true Muslims’, and adequate Barā’, rejection of ‘sinners’, is at risk of committing apostasy. Abū Qatāda, the Jordanian-Palestinian preacher, has written on the subject. al-Tā’ifah al-Mansūrah reinforces Jihadists’ self-belief being righteous; strengthen their mutual solidarity; and allows them to fight opposition to their views.

The Fitrah doctrine is the Islamic concept of human nature, as the right action of submission to Allah, and it is associated with the Dīn, as how Allah has created mankind and universe. Islam is called Dīn al-Fitrah, the religion of human nature, because its laws and its teachings are relevant to all universe and human beings. Therefore, actually all mankind from eternity are Muslims. Allah, having created humankind, took a covenant with them that they all will believe only in Islam and obey only him and his messenger.

The implementation of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is operated through Jihad. To clarify the term and to oppose the Islamic Da’wah, propagation, in the West: Jihad comes from the third Arabic Conjugation, meaning to fight, to make war (Mujāhadah and Jihād are the nouns). It has nothing to do with the first Arabic Conjugation, meaning to make an effort, to exhort struggle. Jihad is the tool of the Islamic imperative to subjugate the world and to make Islam the only legitimate religion in the world, mainly by force (if the infidels resist accepting it willfully). Muslims totally believe engaging in Jihad is the only way to remain faithful to Muhammad’s example. Jihad is always offensive and aggressive, but at the same time it is always portrayed by Muslims as defensive and waged against the political and ideological encroachments emanating from the Kuffār to continue their control and subjugation.

The religious sources of Jihad prove very clearly: Jihad is the Islamic war against the Kuffār. Polytheism (Kufr, Ishrāk); hypocrecy (Nifāq, Munafiqûn), and apostasy (Irtidād) on the one hand, and Islam on the other, cannot co-exist under any terms. Jihad appears 41 times in 18 chapters in the Qur’an, mostly coupled with Fī-Sabīlillāh, for the sake of Allah, which gives it a religious sanctity. All four Schools of Jurisprudence (Madhāhib: Hanbali; Shāfī`i; Māliki; Hanafi) and Islamic important authoritative exegetes agree: Jihad means eliminating the barriers to the spread of Allah’s truth and establishing Islamic justice on universe in its entirety.

All four Islamic Schools of thought (Madhāhib) and most of Islamic exegetes agree that the aims of Jihad are meant to removing the infidel’s oppression and injustice; eliminating the barriers to the spread of Allah’s truth; and establishing Islamic justice, well-being, and prosperity all over the world. The elevation of Allah’s word cannot be achieved without Jihad, which is actually the protector of all Muslim deeds (2:251; 4:75; 8:39; 57:25). They divide the world into two spheres variously called the Dār al-Islām against Dār al-Hārb. There can be no peace between the two until Dār al-Islām conquers the enemy. Accommodation and compromise are permissible only temporarily, and fighting them is obligatory.

They all have agreed that Jihad means “to fight in the Path of Allah: Māliki Fiqh: “The Muslims are to fight with the Kuffār to advance Allah’s religion.” Shāfī’i Fiqh: “The meaning of Jihad is to make utmost effort in fighting the Kuffār in the Path of Allah.” Hanafi Fiqh: “Jihad means to be involved in fighting for the sake of Allah by one’s life, wealth, and speech.” The aim is “to call the Kuffār toward the true religion of Islam and to fight against them, if they are unwilling to accept this true religion.” Hanbali Fiqh: “Jihad means to fight against the Kuffār by all means” (Fadā’il al-Jihād).

The main manual Sharī’ah codex are as follows: Ibn Rushd rests his analysis of the laws justifying Jihad on the following Qur’an Sûwar: 2:190, 2:216, 4:95, 8.1, 8:39, 8:41, 8:61, 8:67, 9:5, 9:29, 9:122, 17:17, 40:25, 47:4, 48:17, 59:6, and 59:10. Misri rests his analysis on the following Qur’an Sûwar: 2:216, 4:89, 4:95, 9:29, 9:36, 9:41, 9:111, and 61:10–13. Yahya, rests its analysis of the laws justifying Jihad on the following Qur’an Sûwar: 2:216, 4:95-96, 9:36, 9:41, 9:111, and 61:10–13.

Ibn Rushd, Misri, and Yahya clearly identify Jihad with military combat, including support and service roles in the battlefield for the sake of Muslim community. In the Sharī’ah there is unambiguous legal guidance upon whom Jihad and support to Jihad is obligatory; identification of the persons to be fought; conditions for the declaration of war. The reasons for waging Jihad war against the infidels are two: to force the conversion to Islam and to secure the payment of the Jizyah. This is also the view of al-Hidāyah of Shaikh Burhanuddin (1135–96) that represents the Hanafi school of thought.

On page 599 of Reliance of the Traveler, one can find the following passage: o9.0 JIHAD. Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word Mujāhadah, signifying warfare to establish the religion. (1) “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216); (2) “Slay them wherever you find them” (4:89); (3) “Fight the idolaters utterly” (9:36); and such Ahādīth: “I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they do so, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah.”

Ibn Rushd, the Maliki master of philosophy and Islamic law, offers the following rulings on Jihad: Scholars agree that the Jihad is a collective not a personal obligation. The compulsory nature of it is founded on 2:216: “Fighting is prescribed for you, though it is distasteful to you.” It is not personal according to 9:112: “It is not for the believers to march out altogether.” The obligation to participate in the Jihad applies to adult free men who have the means at their disposal to go to war and who are healthy. There is no controversy about the latter restriction, because of 48:17: “There is no blame upon the blind, or upon the lame, or upon the sick,” and because of 9:91: “No blame rests upon the frail or upon the sick or upon those who find nothing to contribute.” All sorts of infidels should be fought. This is founded in 8:39: “Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is entirely Allah’s.”

The Shahīd is one who is killed and achieved martyrdom in the battle of Jihad against the enemies of Islam. In its primary source Shahīd is an eye witness, even one of Allah’s names. He is called Shahīd because Allah and the angels are witnesses that he deserves Paradise, and that his means and motives were pure. This is very different from the Jewish and Christian notion of martyrs, as those who voluntarily endure torture and death rather than renounce their belief. According to the Islamic tradition, there is a typology of three kinds of Shuhadā’ in the battleground. The one is the warrior that goes to the battle, but not to kill and not to be killed; the second is the warrior who wishes to kill and risk his life in the way of Allah but wishes to stay alive; and the third is the warrior that wishes to kill and be killed, to sacrifice his life in the way of Allah (Talab al-Shahādah), which is the best rewarded ideal Islamic action. This is according to the tradition that on the Day of Judgment Allah will smile to those warriors who had not looked behind and went to their death willingly, with open heart.

There are many Qur’anic “sword verses:” fighting all infidels (9:5); fighting the People of the Book, Ahl al-Kitāb (9:29); fighting the hypocrites (Munāfiqûn) (9:64-73, 3:86:91); fighting the enemies of Islam whenever they are found (47:4). The Muslims are not allowed to befriend idolaters even they are nearest relatives (9:23, 58:22). Muslims are commanded to terrorize their enemies wherever and whenever they are found (3:151, 8:12, 8:60, 33:26, 59:2). Beheadings (8:12, 47:4) are of the most important and practiced acts in Islamic history. It is so pervasive that it becomes a model for the best Islamic deed.

These acts are not without rewards: first, the Shuhadā’ immediately gain the glorious gardens of Eden with “… rivers of wine and streams of purifies honey, and fruits of every kind of them…” Second, they enjoy the black-eyed virgins in paradise (44:51-4, 52:17-20, 56:22-4), and young boys, beautiful like a pearl in a shell are there to serve all the Shuhadā’ needs. However, the most important reward of Jihad is the fact they are not dead. This is so important so that it must be quoted from the source: 2:154: “Do not think that those who are killed in the way of Allah are dead, for indeed they are alive, even though you are not aware (wa-La Takûlû Liman Yuktalu Fī-Sabīlillāh Mawtan, bal Ahyā’ wa-Lakin la Tash’arûn). 3:169-71: Never think of those who are killed in the way of Allah are dead. They are alive with Allah…rejoicing at what Allah has given them of his grace, and happy for those who are trying to overtake them… They rejoice the kindness and mercy of Allah…” (La Tahsabāna al-Lathina Kutilû Fī-Sabīlillāh Amwāan, bal Ahyā’, ‘Inds Rabuhum Yurzakûn).

The concept of Shahīd in the Hadīth. He is granted seven gifts: he is forgiven at the first drop of his blood; he is dressed in clothes of Imām and sees his status in paradise; he is protected from the punishment of the grave; he will be safe from the great fear of the Day of Judgment; a crown of glory will be placed on his head; he will intercede on behalf of 70 members of his family; he will be married to 72 virgins.

From the Hadīth, here are few examples of the importance of Jihad.

“Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords… whoever amongst us is killed, will go to Paradise… and their enemies will go to the Hellfire.”

“…I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.”  

“Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the shahid who, on seeing the superiority of Jihad, would like to come back to the world and get killed again because of the dignity he receives.”

“I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Mohammad is Allah’s apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give obligatory Zakāh.”

“Allah’s Apostle said: No doubt I wish I could fight in the way of Allah and be a Shahīd and come to life again to be Shahīd and come to life once more.”  

“There is no group of people on earth in which you cannot bring me from them Muslims. And the best I like that you bring their wives and sons and kill their men.”

One of the ingredients of Jihad is the doctrine of homicide bombing (Istishhād). It is mistaken to allude Islamic Istishhād to Christian Martyrdom. While the Martyr testifies his faith through his personal sacrifice; the Shahīd testifies his faith through his homicide terrorism against the infidels, as the most exalted expression of faith. The Martyr tortures and kills himself out of religious devotion to God. The Shahīd, kills other for not converting to Islam, or worse, just for being infidels.

People misunderstand homicide terrorism by thinking that only hatred could cause Muslims to act in deep inhumane activity. This in fact is basically wrong, because it is part of Islamic belief that Islam wins because the Muslims love death while peoples of the West love life. This distinction is not “out of depression and despair” as Islamic propagation claims in its politics of deception, and Western ignorant apologists adhere to. It is cheerfully carried out to the service of Islam, for the sake of Allah. That is why Palestinian homicide bombers detonate themselves, while their families celebrating their wedding to dark-eyed virgins in heaven. It is as if accompanying the groom to his wedding; it is joyful event, the Shahīd is alive, together with Allah.

Instead of asking the stupid question “why do they hate us?”, the Free World must realize that it is facing the greatest national security existential threat ever in history, far beyond and above the 20th century two World Wars and the horrors of the cold war era. The Free World has already been in the midst of a third world war, formally conducted by Islam as a religious war, a war that is so different from the previous wars in the 20th century; a war that is conducted not in the battleground and not by planes and tanks. This is a war of totalities is perpetuated by three Islamic arms: a total war of inhumane Jihad terrorism that is sweeping the entire states in the world to chaos; a total war of Hijrah, a huge unprecedented immigration to the Free World’s lands that threatens to change the demography, the culture, and the way of life of its indigenous peoples; and a total war of Da’wah, a strategy of propagation and sophisticated diplomacy to deceive and mislead the Free World, called the Kuffar, the infidels, by controlling their minds and changing their awareness about the situation.

On this war of totalities, the Free World has no coherent plan, in fact it has no plan at all to battle the enemy. This complicated reality starts with misunderstanding and misreading the situation. Moreover, there is no concrete definition of the lethal threat and no comprehension of its essence. As a result, the Free World is unable to act, in fact, is led by its own free will and full awareness to civilizational distinction. By its large scale and by its huge repercussions, this lethal existential threat and of conscious suicide has become unprecedented in history.

Therefore, the Free World’s leaders have to ask the right correct question: how do we define and understand the situation? And the answer is meant to mobilize all the political powers possible internationally and the abilities to fight for their existence.

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Terrorism

Can the Taliban tame ETIM?

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Uighur jihadists of Turkestan Islamic Party

The Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) is also known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a Uyghur Islamic extremist organization founded in the Xinjiang province of China. TIP is the new name, although China still calls it by the name ETIM and refuses to acknowledge it as TIP. The ETIM was founded in 1997 by Hasan Mahsum before being killed by a Pakistani army in 2003. Its stated aim is to establish an independent state called ‘East Turkestan’ replacing Xinjiang. The United States removed it from its list of terrorist Organizations in 2020. The group and its ties to Muslim fundamentalism have compounded Chinese concerns about the rising threat of terrorism within the country.

In Tianjin, the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar again pledged to “never allow any force” to engage in acts detrimental to China. Suhail Shaheen, the Afghan Taliban’s spokesperson, said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times that many ETIM members had left Afghanistan because Taliban had categorically told them that Afghanistan can’t be used to launch attacks against other countries. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had also asked the Taliban to crack down on the ETIM, which is based out of the Xinjiang province. In view of the Taliban’s pro-China stance on the ETIM, the article will assess the feasibility of the Taliban’s promises of not providing sanctuaries to the groups which are direct threat to the national security of China.

First, this statement surprises the experts in view of the Taliban’s historic relationship with the ETIM.  According to a recent United Nations Security Council report, ETIM has approximately 500 fighters in northern Afghanistan, mostly located in Badakhshan province, which adjoins Xinjiang in China via the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Most of Badakhshan is now under Taliban control, but according to some reports, Tajik, Uzbek, Uighur and Chechen fighters comprise the bulk of the local Taliban rank and file, rather than Pashtun fighters. This scenario appears very challenging for the top leadership of the Taliban to deny sanctuaries to such loyalists.

Second, ETIM is operating in Afghanistan since 1990. It has strong links with the local Taliban commanders. The local Taliban commanders may put pressure on the top leadership or hinder the extradition of ETIM members from Afghanistan. Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, thinks that ETIM members in Afghanistan still have some influence. It may not be easy for the Taliban to fully cut ties with all ETIM members in Afghanistan as it may hurt other military militants that used to support it.

Third, the Taliban’s capacity to tame the ETIM is limited because its all members and leadership have scattered across Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey. Zhang Jiadong, a professor with the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times, “In recent years, the ETIM also changed its living areas overseas. The exact number of ETIM members is hard to know but “its core members are living in countries including Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey. More of them stay in Syria than in Afghanistan and have been keeping a low profile in recent years”.

Fourth, the ETIM has developed close ties with international militant organizations, including Al Qaeda. Moreover, Al Qaeda has significant influence over the Taliban. Al Qaeda has ability and resources to sabotage the extradition of ETIM members from Afghanistan. Some militant organizations including IS-K have developed the ideological differences with the Afghan Taliban. IS-K recently used a Uyghur fighter for suicide campaign in Afghanistan just to show fissure between the Taliban and ETIM. So, this trend can be a challenge for the Afghan Taliban.

The Taliban’s new stance of not providing sanctuaries to the ETIM contradicts with some of its founding principles. The Taliban’s new version on ETIM is not easy to follow. Time will be the true judge of the feasibility of Taliban’s new stance.

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The heartwarming story of Uighur jihadists

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In the wake of 9/11, the US government scooped up all the terrorist networks and made an assessment of which ones were a threat to America. The prisoners held in Guantanamo were of the jihadist Islamic militant type. It’s not like the US government, in order to help other governments, filled Guantanamo with random, latent secessionist movements from around the world – Quebec, Catalonia, the IRA in Ireland, or the Tigray in Ethiopia. You wouldn’t find any of them in Guantanamo. The Guantanamo profile was clearly that of the Islamic militant jihadist that poses a threat to America.

Guantanamo was not a charity project where governments from around the world could dump and keep their separatists. There was a shared counter-terrorism interest between the United States and China, specifically in the area of combating Uighur jihadists, and that’s not a story that can be erased.

There were 22 Uighur jihadists held in Guantanamo, in total. Uighur jihadists were and still are the China-oriented spinoff of Al-Qaeda. Their organization, the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) was formally listed as a terrorist organization by the US Treasury Department and the US State Department during the war on terror. ETIM is still on the UN Security Council’s list of sanctioned for terrorism entities. The Uighur jihadists stayed on the Security Council’s list after a recent review of their status was completed in November, 2020. ETIM is also a part of the UN report on the status of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Very recently, in July 2021, the UN said that the Uighur jihadists group ETIM has several hundred fighters in Afghanistan on the border with China, and that they are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, even though the US government de-listed them from its terrorist organizations list in 2020 and has argued that they no longer exist. This was a purely political move by the US government that does not reflect the reality on the ground, and signifies a shift that the American public is expected to follow.

Just after 9/11, in 2002, Uighur jihadists plotted a terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. At the time, the Washington Post said: “The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said today there is evidence that an obscure Muslim organization fighting Chinese rule in the western province of Xinjiang has been planning a terrorist strike against the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan”. That marked the first time China and the US shared a common terrorist enemy. That same year, the same terrorist group (ETIM) shot dead a Chinese diplomat in the same city. 

The Uighur jihadists threatened the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; they are responsible for political assassinations, bombings and wide-spread, clear-cut terrorism of substantial scale. Uighur jihadists perpetrated a terrorist attack in Thailand in 2015, killing 20 people in a tourist resort. The same group of Uighur jihadists successfully carried out a suicide car-bomb attack on the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan in 2016, 14 years after the US Embassy there shared the same risk. You didn’t hear about more plots against America by the Uighur jihadists because the US government went after them right away: some went to Guantanamo; others were scattered.

The US State Department reported in 2002 that ETIM was a terrorist organization with over 200 acts of terrorism committed in the 1990s. China did not start making things up only after 9/11, just to fit in the US counter-terrorism narratives and priorities in order to get rid of uncomfortable critics of the regime. China was already experiencing a big, very real terrorism threat of the same kind the US faced in the 2000s. It was the same enemy.

Something as big as a terrorism plot against a US Embassy would have definitely counted in a time when even borrowing the Quran from a library was followed. If put through the ordinary legal system, a foiled plot on a US embassy could give you 15-20 years in jail or less, and then you’d be out, or maybe you would just walk if the judge didn’t like the source of the evidence. If you were “only” training with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden without an actual plot, that would also give you only several years in jail, or no jail time at all, if the judge didn’t like the source of the evidence. That’s the kind of things Guantanamo was created to prevent: a place to keep “the worst of the worst” where the US government didn’t have to think about the regular legal system. Current Attorney General, Merrick Garland, in fact, was one of those judges back in the days of the Guantanamo court wars, who ruled to release Uighur jihadists on the basis of over-reliance on evidence from the Chinese government. If the Chinese are saying it, they can’t be terrorists, was the argument there, so they had to be released. With the parents-as-terrorists DOJ memo by Garland and the recent confirmation that the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit indeed puts red flags on parents as potential terrorists in 2021, one has to be reminded that Garland rarely gets it right in the area of terrorism. More often than not, it’s exactly the other way around. Jihadists can leave, parents can come in.

There is an attempt right now to reverse the narrative of the Uighur jihadists, and the audience is the American public. That push is relatively new and emerged in the US mainstream media only over the past 1-2 years, in parallel with the narrative of the Uighur genocide committed by China. The reason is simple: you can’t have it both ways. Americans can’t feel compassion for the Uighurs and hate China, if they are constantly reminded the uncomfortable facts that the Uighur jihadists were actually together with Bin Laden in Tora Bora, they lived in a village provided by Al Qaeda and trained in weapons and terrorism tactics for Bin Laden. It’s just that their direction was different: mostly against China. They ran away together from the American bombardments of Al Qaeda in Tora Bora. They were sought after by the Americans, the same way the Americans searched for Bin Laden for 10 years. There was bounty on their heads. 22 Uighurs were held in Guantanamo for many years and were released only after a decade. In Guantanamo, Uighurs confessed right away to their activities and their links to Al Qaeda. The ETIM was listed as a terrorist organization by the US government in 2002, after the US government reviewed several organizations proposed for terrorism listing by the Chinese government, and concluded there was evidence only for them, dismissing the other organizations proposed by the Chinese. The US government wasn’t indiscriminately accepting requests by countries to help them with their problematic groups. Just after 9/11, in 2002 the group organized the plot against the US Embassy. The plot was foiled.

When the facts are so damning, the US mainstream media certainly has a problem. These facts show that China was not just making it up, looking for ways to exploit the US counter-terrorism mania of the 2000s when everything was about the war on terror and, in the haste, the US government could have been easily misled. The Uighurs as jihadists presents a very clear challenge to the spin factory of the liberal media right now. The attempt to reverse the narrative of the Uighurs as jihadists over the past 1-2 years takes the nuanced analysis angle to the level of parody. I’ll walk you through some of it.

A recent CNN investigation claims that the Uighurs jihadists held in Guantanamo were mostly economic migrants who left China in a search of a better life and they had nowhere else to go but Bin Laden’s Tora Bora. They have no idea how they found themselves in the Al Qaeda village, they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They were not aware of what Bin Laden was doing. Now, years after leaving Guantanamo, they are just men looking for love and family. The CNN story is that the Uighur jihadists were never really terrorists, just “dreamers” with guns. They used weapons only because that was the cultural tradition in the mountains – not as terrorists or something. The terrorist training camps in Tora Bora under the umbrella of Al Qaeda and bin Laden was not actually terrorism training, they were using weapons only casually, not in a determined way. The Uighur jihadists didn’t join Bin Laden as terrorists; it’s just that there was nowhere else to go. When the American bombardments of Tora Bora started, it was very scary for them. They ran around the caves looking for food like refugees. When they were captured by the Americans in Pakistan, they felt “cheated” and tricked. How could they do this to them? That wasn’t nice of the Pakistanis at all. Their dreams were shattered after all the suffering experienced in running away from the Americans bombardments. Actually, going to America and Guantanamo was better than going back to China for them. They were impressed with the level of cultural awareness demonstrated by the Americans in Guantanamo that surprised the Chinese that visited Guantanamo. To you and me, from the point of view of our standards, it could look like the American government was torturing in Guantanamo, but the Uighur jihadists really preferred the American prisons to ordinary life in China, despite “some mistakes” on the part of the Guantanamo management. The narrative is mind-boggling and you wonder how the American public can stomach that at all.

It gets better. At Atlantic story of the same kind claims that the fact that the Uighur jihadists told the US government right away what they were doing, stated their affiliation with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, and explained their terrorism training activities, meant that they can’t really be terrorists, if they weren’t trying to hide it. If what they themselves confessed was so damning, then they couldn’t have been terrorists, and that had to be excluded from the evidence. It was sad that they were “incriminating” themselves by being so forthcoming. If they confessed to it, that was just a sign that they were honest people and they can’t be terrorists. The Guardian, recently in 2020, also joined The Atlantic line and claimed that if the men incriminated themselves, the interrogations had to be discredited. And anyways, right now it all has to be about the Chinese detainment camps in Xinjiang anyways, so you can’t have actual Uighur jihadists uncomfortably messing up the narrative. The Guardian presses that ETIM is an organization designated as a terrorist organization only by China, skipping that the designation was virtually uniform – the US government, the UN Security Council, the UN report on the status of Al Qaeda and ISIS, the Canadian government, and more. You can really tell that these facts are quite annoying to the liberal media, and it is really messing up their stories.

The CNN rather gullible narrative ends with a criticism of Canada, which is also repeated by The Guardian: Canada won’t let in three Uighur jihadists, former Guantanamo detainees. The liberal media narrative wants you to see them simply as men looking to be reunited with their families, but the Canadian government hypocritically stands in the way of love. Hypocritically – because, as CNN states, Canada is against the Chinese crackdown and detainment of people in Xinjiang but won’t let in Uighur jihadists, former Guantanamo detainees. That, in fact, is the most rational approach to the issue a government can have.

The Guardian pushed the same story with the title “It breaks my heart”, also blaming Canada for not letting them in, after their families moved to Canada.

The Atlantic article pushed the same narrative, claiming that the Chinese government somehow tricked and deceived the American government that these Al-Qaeda affiliated, Tora Bora residing, Guantanamo-held terrorists were terrorists. This was only Chinese propaganda by an authoritarian regime. The article admits that the Chinese experienced over 200 terrorist attacks by that group, but here the nuanced analysis kicks in. These events were separate and isolated, instead of arising from one place of coordination, so this wide-spread terrorism wave can’t be terrorism. That pattern is exactly what terrorism of this kind looks like, in fact: loose, ideologically-driven networks without a direct chain of command. You don’t need one place of coordination to prove that terrorists are terrorists. The article also submits that a lot of terrorist attacks that China experienced were actually falsely branded as terrorism, citing small-scale incidents and attacks that would right away fall under the mainstream terrorism narrative, if the same happened in Western Europe. The Atlantic narrative also pushes the argument that terrorism is used only as an excuse by the Chinese, that’s not the real reason why they are after these networks, as if it could get more serious than that. And most importantly for the American audience, the Atlantic analysis claims that the Uighur jihadists were never anti-American “enemy combatants”, even though the author cites an article by the Council on Foreign Relations that mentions the foiled terrorist plot on the American Embassy in 2002, which was a central event for the US government. But that doesn’t count because it didn’t happen, the plot was foiled. The group was rather local, The Atlantic argues now, and was not a part of the international jihad. They were, however. ETIM’s objective was the creation of a fundamentalist Muslim state called “East Turkistan”, which was supposed to cover many countries in the region – something like ISIS’s idea for a caliphate, but for the Turk ethnicity across the region. In terms of operations, Uighur operations definitely had an international reach – whether across countries in the region, by threatening the international Olympic Games, and even as a terrorist attack on a tourist resort going as far as Thailand.

So, these are the narratives that various liberal corners are trying to push: the version of the warm, fuzzy, innocent terrorists who were just misunderstood. If there is one area where US mainstream media can’t sell their narratives about “demonizing”, “scapegoating” and “dog whistling” to the American public, that’s with Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. But they will still try. Reading these articles, you have to wonder: what’s the agenda there.

After their release from Guantanamo, Uighur jihadists were dispatched to Albania, Switzerland and Slovakia and some Latin American countries. The question is whether the American government has leverage over these former Guantanamo detainees, and whether they will join the terrorist networks operating against China. We don’t know what the terms of release of these jihadists were and whether they are not sleeping cells that could be unleashed upon China at some point. The radicalization of Xinjiang by the US government with the aim to create trouble for the Chinese government is one of the reasons the US government invaded Afghanistan, as I argued previously.

You have to love the way the US government interprets US support for terrorism around the world: we are not funding and supporting terrorism, we are just creating strategic groups to fight authoritarian regimes. In the 1980s, the US government created and funded the mujahidin, right there, in the same region. Then they pushed ISIS on the world as the good terrorists in Syria, only to have to fight them later, and God knows how many more terrorist groups that we have no idea about.

The fact that over the last 1-2 years the big US mainstream media spends resources on stories to basically white-wash clear-cut terrorists should signal something. These stories appear only now, almost 10 years after most of the Uighur jihadists were released from Guantanamo. These stories about the innocence of Guantanamo detainees scapegoated by the bad Chinese government didn’t appear right away. You’d think that the time for these stories would have been around the time when the Uighur jihadists got released from Guantanamo, not now.  

The white-washing efforts by the US mainstream media who have to somehow explain the inconvenient past, show a sad fact about American public discourse right now: you can be vilified as a monster for saying things to women, while US mainstream media will break their backs to explain why actual terrorists are not that bad after all, and are really the victims here. They were not really terrorists, they just became victims of their terrorist activities. Watch this white-washing space. It will become even more pronounced, as we move forward into more hardened narratives of the Cold War against China.

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Terrorism

Islamic State Khorasan’s Threat and the Taliban

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As the Islamic State loses territory, it has increasingly turned to Afghanistan as a base for its global caliphate. Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) is the Islamic State’s Central Asian province and remains active in the region since 2015. Khorasan region historically encompasses parts of modern-day Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. IS-K mainly consists of some members of TTP, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud- Dawa, Lashkar-e-Islam, Haqqani Network, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Afghan Taliban.

IS-K has received support from the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria. Like the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria, IS-K seeks to establish a caliphate beginning in South and Central Asia, governed by sharia law. IS-K disregards international borders and envisions its territory transcending nation-states like Pakistan and Afghanistan. IS-K aims at delegitimizing existing states, degrading trust in democracy, exploiting sectarianism.

IS-K’s relations with the Afghan Taliban are tense due to sectarian and some policy differences. The Taliban follows the Hanfi school of Sunni Islam. While IS-K has derived its teachings from Wahabi or Salfi school of Islam. IS-K propounds the agenda of borderless jihad to establish one political power. IS-K directs the fighters to “have no mercy or compassion” against the Taliban for refusing to “join the caliphate”. The Taliban agenda has been limited to Afghanistan. In 2015, a video by IS-K had denounced the Taliban for having an amir. Both emerged from the same madrassas. Five of the six IS-K leaders were Pakistani. Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem, a Taliban defector, also pledged allegiance to the ISIL in 2015. Shahab al Muhajir as IS-K new emir following the capture of his predecessor Aslam Farooqi. He was once a mid-level commander in the Haqqani Network. 

IS-K condemned the Taliban’s peace negotiations with the United States in its March 2020 newsletter Al Naba, stating that the Taliban and the crusaders are allies. In 2021, IS-K vowed to retaliate against the Taliban for their peace deal with the United States. IS-K blames Taliban as nationalists with parochial interests in Afghanistan.

In an open letter to IS leader Abu Bakar al Baghdadi the Taliban warned they would be compelled to “defend our achievements”. IS-K has been exploiting the internal power struggle within the Taliban.  In 2015, then Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour urged IS-K fighters to coalesce “under one banner”, alongside the Taliban. Leaders in the Taliban’s Quetta Shura authorized additional offensives and deployed elite Red Unit to fight IS-K. In Jowzjan province, IS-K surrendered to the Taliban.

The IS-K has launched multiple attacks since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan particularly at Kabul airport. According to the report, the group has strengthened its position in and around Kabul, where it conducts most of its attacks, targeting minorities, activists, government employees and personnel of Afghan security forces. Taliban has taken districts from IS-K in the past and reportedly killed Omar Khorasani, Farooq Bengalzai and Abu Obaidullah Mutawakil—the former leaders of ISKP. The Taliban had also closed more than three dozen Salafist mosques across 16 different provinces.

Zabiullah Mujahid said, “IS-K has no physical presence here, but it is possible some people who may be our own Afghan have adopted Daesh ideology, which is a phenomenon that is neither popular nor is supported by Afghan”.

Taliban has also international support in dealing with IS-K. The Iranian military has also collaborated with the Taliban to secure Iran’s land border with Afghanistan and deny IS-K fighters’ freedom of movement. The Taliban leaders have already opened dialogue with several regional countries, assuming that they would not allow IS-K to gain a foothold in Afghanistan and threaten their stability. States such as Iran, China, and Russia are reviewing their engagement with the Taliban. The chief of US Central Command Gen. Frank Mckenzie also admitted that the US is also providing very limited support to the Taliban to counter the IS-K.

IS-K is an external and weak terrorist outfit, which cannot manage massive inclusion. The IS-K is a potential terrorist threat, but not beyond being controlled. In the present day, however, there is little incentives for groups like the TTP to align with severely weakened IS-K at the expense of the Taliban. The TTP in fact put out a detailed statement saying that they are against ISKP in July 2020. The TTP and the Afghan Taliban both have deep connections with Al Qaeda, which has a deep rivalry with IS. There are few chances that the TTP will join hands with IS-K as it is an ally of Al Qaeda with allegiance to Mullah Haibatulllah, the Taliban supreme leader. There are more chances that East Turkistan Movement ETIM, a long-standing battlefield ally of the Taliban, will manage the Uyghur jihadist network in Afghanistan.

International pressure is also mounting on Taliban to take action against IS-K. According to the Morgan, if Taliban is not able to gain the international recognition it needs to be able to run the country. It will also hinder Taliban access to the global financial institutions, rendering the Taliban incapable of paying for the imports that feed the country. In peace deal, it was with the assurance that the Taliban would severe ties with other armed groups. However, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen refused to become the part of US-led efforts to counter IS-k.

UN report estimates that there are 1500 to 2200 personnel of IS-K in Afghanistan. Moreover, IS-K has less influence in the militant ecosystem of Afghanistan. So, it is likely less chances that IS-K becomes the threat to the regional stability. Taliban has muscle to effectively eliminate the IS-K threat from Afghanistan.

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