In first remarks on the Muzaffarnagar riots in western UP last year, South Asia al-Qaeda chief Asim Umar has described adjoining Shamli as “a refugee camp for Muslims” and accused the “Indian establishment” of “working methodically to bring the Muslims down from the level of former kings and emperors to the level of Shudras, Dalits and lower castes so that they lose the will and strength to stand up to the Hindus”.
Writing in the inaugural issue of the Resurgence — the 117-page magazine in English has been brought out by al-Qaeda’s media house, al-Sahab, and released online Monday — Umar says: “Shamli has now turned into a refugee camp for Muslims… the same Shamli where righteous scholars defeated the British in the Jihad of 1857. Forty kilometres from Shamli lies the place known to history as Panipat, the door to Delhi for Muslim conquerors. It is this symbol of Muslim dominance that has been unfortunately forgotten by the Muslims (but not the Hindu)”.
“It must never be forgotten that oppressing the weak and crushing the downtrodden is in the psyche of the Hindu. By religious conviction, the Hindu is a worshipper of power. He accepts anyone more powerful than himself as his God; but there is no place for principles, ethics, morality, leniency or kindness for the weak in a Hindu society,” he writes.
The magazine also has an exclusive first-person account by fugitive al-Qaeda commander Ayman al-Zawahiri of his life with Osama bin-Laden.
The lead editorial in the Resurgence says “it is our hope that the blood of our martyrs in Afghanistan and Pakistan will pave the way for the liberation of Muslims from Kashmir to Arakan and the establishment of the Shariah as the supreme authority throughout the Indian Subcontinent”.
Hassan Yusuf, another contributor, writes that al-Qaeda has decided to form a new unit under Umar’s command “to unite the efforts of the mujahideen for making the Shariah of our Lord the supreme authority throughout a region which is home to at least one third of the Muslim ummah (nation)”.
India’s influence is also invoked to legitimise jihad in other regional states. In one article on Bangladesh, Sulaiman Ahmad claims “Indian influence in Bangladesh is not just political or economic. Even culturally, this Muslim nation is being turned into an Indian outpost. The city of mosques, Dhaka, has been turned into a city of idols… Hindu culture is spreading like cancer, with full support of the Awami League government”.