New Delhi: The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Tuesday issued a statement, asking Indian Muslims, especially scholars, to unite and wage war against India as a mark of their protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), ThePrint has learnt.
Sources in the intelligence agencies, however, called it an agenda of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to “divide India in these sensitive times”.
This is the first time the AQAP, which was formed in 2009 by a merger between two regional offshoots of the Al Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, has raked up an issue concerning Indian Muslims.
The statement in Arabic called the Indian government “infidel” for enacting the CAA and asked Indian Muslim scholars to start a fight for their “ummah” (community).
The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before 31 December 2014.
The outfit announced their support to their “Muslim brothers” in India, asking Muslim scholars to fight back in order to protect their religion and identity.
“In full view of the world, the infidel government of India enacted the citizenship law, excluding only Muslims. It is clear discrimination and explicit racism, in pursuit of this government to limit the growing power of Muslims, who are numbered more than two hundred million,” the statement said.
The statement further said the Indian government has prepared the ground for persecution of Muslims and are crushing the dissenters with force.
“With this Act, the Government of India wanted to prepare the ground for the practice of injustice and persecution in various forms,” it said.
“Muslims who are protesting against this law and expressing their opposition, are being subjected to injustice with the protection and even participation of the police,” it added.
The statement also said the US is supporting India in the genocide against the Muslims and President Donald Trump visited the country as a reward for this ill-treatment of the community.
“America announced the visit of its President Trump to India to serve as an award for the Indian government involved in those crimes within the fierce campaign of genocide of Muslims,” the statement said.
‘Script of Pakistan’s ISI’
According to a source in the Indian intelligence agencies, Pakistan is seeing the protests and anguish among the people regarding the CAA as an opportunity to create religious divide and thus, it tried to reach out to the Muslim intellectuals through the AQAP.
“This was a clear attempt to incite the Muslim intellectuals and to get them to their side. They know that if they are able to make an impact using the CAA and by talking against the Indian government, it will be a great victory for them,” the source said.
“This statement is nothing but a script of Pakistan’s ISI,” he added.
What is AQAP?
The AQAP in the past had carried out violent attacks both domestically and internationally, including the shooting at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
The outfit operates mostly in Yemen, and targets foreigners and security forces as it aims at toppling the Saudi and Yemeni governments to establish Islamic caliphate, the intelligence source quoted above told ThePrint.
An AQAP document from 2012 lists their objective as: “To expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and establish the Islamic Caliphate and Shari’ah rule which the apostate governments have suspended.”