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Al Qaeda magazine declares jihad in Kashmir

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The March-April 2022 issue of the Urdu-language Al Qaeda magazine “Nawa-i-Ghazwa-e-Hind” is centered on a theme articulated as “From Aqsa To Kashmir – One Ummah, One War,” seeking to project the jihadi conflicts from Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to the Kashmir Valley as a single global war against the non-Islamic world, reports the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

The Urdu-language jihadi magazine “Nawa-i-Ghazwa-e-Hind [The Voice of the Battle of India]” was known earlier by the name of “Nawa-i-Afghan Jihad [the Voice of Afghan Jihad].” It is not known which jihadi organization then published the monthly magazine, which has been regularly published for over 15 years. A few years ago, Al-Qaeda In The Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) formally took over its editorial control.

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In 2022, there was some disruption in the magazine’s publication. The AQIS grouped the issues for March and April 2022 into a single 110-page edition serialized as Issue Three, Volume 15, 2022, corresponding to the Arabic months of Sha’ban and Ramadhan of 1443 Hijri. AQIS grouped together the next three issues, for May, June, and July of 2022, as well.

Ghazwa-e-Hind (“the Battle of India”) refers to a prophecy of Muhammad that a victorious group of jihadi fighters will arise from the land of Hind and join with the forces of Jesus, who will be re-born in the present-day greater Israel region to proclaim the victory of Islam. “Hind” refers in jihadi parlance to an area stretching from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

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The March-April 2022 issue of the magazine includes a Quranic story, from Quran 2:195, that inculcates the message of jihad and martyrdom, in which Allah says: “Do not put yourself in the path of death.” The issues says that a Muslim soldier had lunged into an army of Romans, for which other Muslim soldiers had chided him for putting himself in the path of death. Abu Ayyub Ansari, a companion of Muhammad, told the soldiers that this particular verse was revealed for the ansar, the seventh-century local residents of Medina who, according to Islam, hosted Muhammad and his followers in their homes when they emigrated from Mecca. Since Islam was already prevalent in Medina at the time, the Muslims had gone about their lives as usual, and the verse, according to Ansari, warned that Muslims were putting themselves in the path of death by engaging in routine daily activities rather than waging jihad and achieving martyrdom.

The issue includes an editorial and several articles. The editorial, titled “Not Of Kings, This Earth Belongs To Allah,” says that whether under the rule of Republicans or Democrats, America continued to occupy Afghanistan and carry out raids and drone strikes throughout the Middle East.

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“Then as a result of the military operations of the Ummah’s mujahideen, America’s defeat [in the field and] then its defeat at the table as a result of a political strategy revealed this reality”, it says, adding that the former Democratic US president Barack Obama wanted talks, while the former Republican president Donald Trump continued with them, and Democratic President Joe Biden abided by the same terms reached in Doha where the US and the Afghan Taliban signed a peace agreement in 2020. The editorial further reflects on contemporary issues in India and Pakistan, arguing that the Earth belongs only to Allah.

The magazine includes an article titled “Fitna [strife]”. It discusses various wars in early Islamic history, and how challenges from the Kharijitesand others were crushed as well as when and how some Islamic personalities such as the Islamic caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was the fourth caliph of Islam, and his son Hussein, were killed.

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The March-April 2022 issue has a number of reports about Afghanistan, which is often the cause for the magazine. It has reproduced a message from Mullah Hibbatullah Akhundzada, emir of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the ruling Taliban jihadi organization), in which he urges the Taliban mujahideen to be good toward prisoners. The Taliban who seized power in August 2021 have been targeting and killing anti-Taliban officials, soldiers, and members of resistance groups. The magazine has republished several orders of Mullah Hibbatullah Akhundzada, including one banning the cultivation of opium and drugs and issuing a set of guidelines to be adopted by the Taliban mujahideen.

It has articles about several topics referring to the fasting month of Ramadan, which in 2022 lasted from April 2 to May 1, including: personal and social etiquette to be adopted during Ramadan; the importance of the month of Ramadan; the historical events that took place during the month of Ramadan; and piety during Ramadan. One of the articles is titled “Ideological Wars”, and is a translation from an Arabic-language book on the same subject by Maulana Muhammad Ismail Rehan.

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Another article is a religious discussion of bad nazri (“bad glance”) and ishq majazi (“lovelorn”). It defines bad nazri as looking at someone who is a na-mahrahm, (i.e., a non-relative of the opposite sex), talking to her to make your heart happy, sitting with her alone, or arranging your hair or dressing in front of him or her, among other things. According to the article, such actions are forbidden in Islam.

Similarly, the article says ishq majazi invites punishment from Allah. “90 percent of people in prison today are those patients afflicted with ishq majazi who have become mad by watching VCR, cinema, television, and novels, etc.”, it adds.

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In recent years, India has been home to attacks by extremist Hindu groups on India’s Muslim minority. One of the articles celebrates Muskan Khan, a hijab-wearing Muslim girl who, when jeered at and heckled by a mob of extremist Hindus in India’s Karnataka state in February 2022, shouted “Allah-o-Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]”. Another article is titled “What is Hindutva?” and explains the ideology of extremist Hindu groups. Another discusses a controversial Indian movie: “Kashmir Files,” which showed how Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir in the wake of the rising Islamic jihadism. It also has a commentary piece on Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist who was sentenced to 86 years in prison after being convicted of trying to kill US military personnel in Afghanistan, and is currently imprisoned in Texas.

The magazine has short reports – usually a few sentences each – about jihadi operations in different parts of Africa and the Middle East. It has a review of Pakistani newspapers, noting the response of Islamic clerics and prominent individuals on topical issues. The magazine has reproduced several articles from jihadi leaders who are no longer alive, including Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Ustad Ahmad Farooq, and Abu Yahya Al-Libi.

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