India (MNN) — Al-Qaeda is waging war in India.
The commander released a videotape yesterday announcing plans for a new wing of the terrorist group. Spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA Todd Nettleton explains, “The leader of al-Qaeda has released a video tape basically announcing or calling for a new jihad in India and in South Asia.”
In the tape, Ayman al-Zawahari targeted the “apostates of India,” mainly Christians, Jews, and Hindus. Muslims of the world are awakening and uniting. Nettleton says that al-Zawahari is “calling for his brothers there to come forth and liberate the Muslims in India, in a sense, opening a new front for al-Qaeda in that part of the world.”
About 13% of the population is Muslim, but in a country with over a billion people, that translates to over a hundred million. Past clashes between Hindus and Muslims in India have been underscored by an unprecedented viciousness.
The call for jihad is coming as the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is settling in. Modi is deeply connected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu Nationalist Party with a violent history against both Christians and Muslims. That doesn’t bode well for India’s future, notes Nettleton. “This is the guy who now is in charge of the entire country of India. Now there’s a call for Muslims for a jihad against that country. It really does put the pieces in place for what could be a significant conflict.”
At least three Indian states with large Muslim populations have been put on alert in the wake of the video’s release. However, Nettleton also wonders if the announcement could be a desperate attempt to stay relevant. “Islamic State has made so many advances. They have become the flagship jihadi organization in the world. They’re having a boon in recruiting, they’re having a boon in fundraising.”
Due to the Islamic State’s lightning advance, al-Qaeda’s profile has fallen. “The fact that it focuses on an area of the world where Islamic State is not active, is not doing anything at this point in time, says to me it’s a real effort to put al-Qaeda back on the front pages.” That’s not to say that the jihad can be easily dismissed, cautions Nettleton.
He goes on to say church leaders have already expressed deepening concerns about the spike in oppression since Modi took office. An added threat of jihad adds another layer of worry. However, “They understand that the potential for persecution is growing, but they also understand that God has called them to reach out. God has called them to reach out and evangelize Hindus and Muslims. So, they are excited about that opportunity even as they know it does come with a price.” In fact, when asked about their concerns, Nettleton shares, “Some of the pastors that we’ve talked with in India have said, ‘We don’t control who the government is. We do control if we’re faithful to the call of God.'”
Prayer cover encourages. It’s no surprise that they’re praying for both al-Qaeda and BJP members. “We want to see these people reached with the Gospel. We want to see them come to know Jesus in a personal way because that really is the only pathway that leads to peace in these countries,” says Nettleton.
Against the backdrop of a physical fight coming, believers are preparing for the underlying spiritual warfare. If you want to come alongside, click here.