Syria is the latest international jihad battleground, attracting jihadis from all over the world. Before Syria it was Iraq and Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, etc. Yet the mainstream media and government analysts continue to represent these jihads as localized, nationalistic conflicts.
"Whole families from Kazakhstan travelling to Syria for jihad," from Asia News, October 18 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Astana (AsiaNews) - A new trend is emerging in Syria's civil war. As hundreds of thousands of Syrians flee the war in their country, outsiders are doing the opposite, coming to the war-torn country on a 'family jihad' with women and children.
In recent months, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has run virtual "travel agencies" online, offering those who want to go to Syria the opportunity of staying with affiliated groups.
On Monday, the ISIL uploaded a propaganda video titled 'Letters from epic battlefields, the hospitality of a jihadist family' that has gone viral among jihadist social networks.
The video is the first real evidence of a new trend among jihadist groups. Instead of travelling alone or in pairs, thus raising suspicions, jihadists are now moving as families.
The video, which praises one family, shows a group of 150 people who arrived in Syria from Kazakhstan with women and children, in the past few months.
A young man who goes by the nom de guerre 'Abdel-Rahman the Kazakh' explains that he came to Syria "to fulfil his duty as set out by the precepts of Islam". In his mid-teens, he also recites a verse on the glory of martyrs.
The video then moves on to a third jihadist, "Seif al-Din the Kazakh", who explains that "it is every Muslim's duty to join jihad to defend Muslim lands across the world when they come under attack."
He says that it is "every Muslim's duty to join jihad to defend Muslim lands across the world when they come under attack." In Islamic theology, jihad warfare is fard kifaya, an obligation of the community as a whole but not of every individual believer. Jihad becomes fard ayn, obligatory on every individual Muslim to aid in some way, when a Muslim land is attacked.
In another scene, a man, perhaps the head of the family, praises God for "allowing the family to emigrate and to be together in Syria to fulfil its duty of jihad".