BRIEFS

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 4 Issue: 21

ANSAR AL-ISLAM IN THE MUSLIM DESERT RELEASES NEW WARNING

On May 1, the website http://sahara.6te.net posted a warning to the Moroccan government that “Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert” has declared “jihad against this agent government headed by Mohammed the Sixth, and all the agent governments in the Muslim Maghreb” (Terrorism Focus, May 8). The declaration warned Muslims to avoid government-related facilities in Morocco and in the Maghreb since they are now targets for jihadi attacks. The group, Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert, was previously unknown. On June 28, Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert posted a new statement, this time proclaiming that they will work alongside Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to “regain the lands of Andalusia,” referring to the parts of the Iberian Peninsula that were conquered by Muslims in the eighth century. The group chastises the “traitors and the apostates who have pledged allegiance to America in the fight against the mujahideen…” Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert demands that the “scholars of the Islamic Maghreb” support their objectives, and announce that “we are at the start of this mission and, by the grace of God, the one and only, we will not let go of these traitors, the agents and collaborators of the Crusaders.” The fact that this is the second announcement from this new group is a cause for concern as it coincides with the upsurge in activity from AQIM. Nevertheless, there is no evidence at this time that Ansar al-Islam in the Muslim Desert is anything more than propaganda.

BIG MARKET FOR JIHADI PROPAGANDA CDS IN PESHAWAR

A June 29 article in Pakistan’s Daily Times illustrates the popularity of jihadi CDs in Peshawar. According to the article, a large number of shopkeepers in Peshawar’s Karkhano Market are actively selling jihadi propaganda materials on CDs and cassette tapes. The materials include propaganda related to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Waziristan. One shopkeeper told the newspaper that he sold “20 to 25 cassettes, cost ranging from Rs 30 to 60, on a daily basis.” A different shopkeeper said, “We sell these cassettes, featuring fighters in jihad, secretly, as police seize all such CDs during their raids and also arrest shopkeepers.” According to the paper, when “asked why are people buying jihadi CDs, a buyer at Karkhano Market said [that] when non-Muslims attack you, it is Muslims’ prime responsibility to participate in jihad: ‘We like watching jihad films, and are proud of our warriors,’ he added.”