Al-Shabab Calls On Muslims To Take Revenge On Hindus "Wherever They Find Them" After Perceived Offense To The Prophet By Indian Government Officials

June 20, 2022

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On June 19, Al-Kataib, the media arm of the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabab), issued a statement in Arabic titled "Statement on Defending the Honor of the Prophet."[1] The statement was also shared in an English translation by Al-Qaeda's Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF).[2]

The statement concerns the perceived offenses contained in the television remarks made on May 26 by Indian politician Nupur Sharma, the then spokeswoman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who was subsequently suspended. The head of the party's Delhi media unit, Naveen Kumar Jindal, was also expelled for sharing a screenshot of Sharma's remarks in a tweet.

The statement opens by describing the "sorrow" and "rage" experienced by Muslims upon hearing the "recent remarks made by the Hindu polytheists in which they insulted the honor of the best of creation, our noble Messenger," referring to the Prophet Muhammad.[3]

It goes on to argue that the offenses were not individual mistakes with "no connection to official Indian policy" as the "fake media" portrays, but part of a "systematic campaign" and a "fierce war" on Islam and Muslims in India. The statement contends that the "extremist ruling party [BJP] and Hindus have shown their hostility toward Islam for the past decades," through the marginalization of Muslims, their displacement, the destruction of their houses and mosques, and by forbidding women from wearing the hijab. The latest incident confirms the extent of the hate of the "idolatrous" Hindus towards Indian Muslims, and "it will remain an unforgivable crime" and a "fire that will not subside" as long as all those who insulted the honor of the Prophet remain unpunished.

The statement further calls on the Muslim Ummah (nation) to come together and cooperate in "defending the honor of the Prophet Muhammad" and in seeking "revenge against the Hindu polytheists wherever they find them," in retribution for the offense, as commanded in the Qur'an: "And those who abuse the Messenger of Allah – for them is a painful punishment" (Surah Al-Taubah, 61).

Quoting a hadith (saying of the Prophet) and medieval Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, a precursor of Salafism, the statement explains that "abusing Allah and His Messenger is an absolute offence" and that the execution of dhimmis (non-Muslim subjects) is justified.

This is not the first statement by an Al-Qaeda affiliate group calling for violent retaliation against the Indian officials perceived to have insulted the Prophet. On June 7, 2022, As-Sahab Media Subcontinent, the official media outlet of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), published a two-page press release vowing "death and destruction to the rulers of India, of executions and hangings, of imprisonment and being bound with chains."[4] On June 5, the Islamic Translation Center (ITC), an unofficial pro-Al-Qaeda media organization, published a video calling on Indian Muslims to avenge the honor of the Prophet and "kill the blasphemers."[5]

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