May 17, 2014
The deputy leader of an al Qaeda-allied jihadist group that is led by commanders from the Caucasus and other former Soviet republics has called for Ukrainian Muslims to wage jihad against the Russia government.
Abdul Karim Krymsky, the deputy emir of Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar (the Army of the Emigrants and Helpers, or Muhajireen Army), said that Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian Muslims should “start on the path of jihad.” Krymsky made the statement in a video in which he appeared with Salahuddin Shishani (the Chechen), the emir of the Muhajireen Army.
The video was obtained and partially translated by From Chechnya to Syria, a website that tracks fighters from the Caucasus and Central Asia who are waging jihad in Syria. The video was first published on May 13 by Akhbar Sham, a Russian-language website that promotes the Muhajireen Army.
“You have to open up lands yourselves and defeat the infidels,” Krymsky, a Crimean Tatar, says.
“We see now that Muslims, Tatars, who went to Crimea and Ukraine have reached such a level of humiliation while here [in Syria] Muslims are proud and walk around freely and we simply see the difference in that,” he continues.
Krymsky then says that fighters in the Crimea who cannot emigrate to wage jihad should do so at home or in “Moscow or Poland.” Crimea, a region in Ukraine, was annexed by force by the Russian government this spring.
“I want to say to those brothers, and I am addressing those brothers who remain [in Crimea], that they should feel dignity, so that they can start on the path of jihad,” he says. “So if they can’t come to the lands of Islam, like Sham [Syria], they can go to Moscow or Poland because the infidels there and here won’t rest until they destroyed your religion.”
Krymsky also says that Muslims in the Ukraine should follow the example of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group that fights the Russians in the Caucasus.
The Muhajireen Army is an independent jihadist group affiliated with the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and comprised of hundreds of fighters from the Caucasus and Russia, as well as Syrians. The group is closely allied with the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria; Ahrar al Sham, an al Qaeda-linked group that is part of the Islamic Front; and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Earlier this year, the Muhajireen Army released video of one of its training camps inside Syria.