Terrorism Monitor: "Saffron Scare: al-Qaeda‘s Propaganda War in India"

March 25, 2018

Of late, al-Qaeda’s South Asia branch has been proactive and forceful in its campaign against India and its neighbors. A “code of conduct,” released by the group in June 2017, signaled an expanded geographical scope by including Afghanistan and Myanmar into its supposed domain of influence and operation, adding to its core focus on India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has since sought to augment this with a series of videos released at the end of last year that purport to depict anti-Muslim policies and atrocities committed by Hindu right wing groups, as well as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The films all employ the phrase “saffron terror,” an allusion to violent Hindu nationalism.

Propaganda Wave 

In the 20 or so pages of its code of conduct, AQIS broadly laid out its future strategy in the region, especially its choice of targets and their priorities. Besides the traditional American and Israeli targets, AQIS singled out India as a priority target. The document claimed that India is promoting and defending secular values in every sphere in the region and specifically mentioned targeting Hindu political and religious leaders who AQIS alleges have been instrumental in anti-Muslim activities in the country and beyond.

Within four months of the document’s release, AQIS reiterated its jihadist campaign against Hindus with its saffron terror videos, in which it gave more specifics on Indian targets (SITE, November 26, 2017). Three videos were released between December 20 and December 29. [1] The group released a further video on December 29 entitled “How Do We Forget,” which focuses on Kashmir. It included footage from Kashmir and of India’s Prime Minster and BJP leader Narendra Modi. [2] On January 7, AQIS released another audio-visual message entitled “The History of Islamic India,” targeting Indian Muslims and depicting the “lost glory” of Islam. [3]

For Complete article, See, Animesh Roul, "Saffron Scare: al-Qaeda‘s Propaganda War in India", https://jamestown.org/program/saffron-scare-al-qaedas-propaganda-war-india/

Terrorism Monitor (Jamestown Foundation) March 23, 2018