World

ISIS Uses Blind Fighter to Promote Jihad and Militant Insurrections

kazakh
A blind Islamic State fighter from Kazakhstan appears in a propaganda video. SITE Intelligence Group

In a twisted attempt at inclusivity, the Islamic State group also known as ISIS is featuring disabled fighters in its propaganda videos and encouraging people with disabilities to wage war against the infidels.

One of the group’s most recent videos, released Saturday, features a blind Kazakh fighter in Syria calling for the overthrow of the government of Kazakhstan. A little over a month ago, another video released by the Islamic State showed an ISIS fighter with one leg telling future jihadists that a disability is “no excuse” for not fighting.

The most recent  video was released after President Donald Trump met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the White House on January 16 to discuss a strategic partnership between the two countries.

The video, released by the SITE Intelligence Group, included five Kazakhs, including a scholar, a sniper, and the blind fighter. The men argued that Nazarbayev’s government should not be permitted to remove the Islamic identity of its people and govern with laws imported from Russia.

“My brothers and sisters, O brothers in faith, what is wrong with you? Where are you? Didn’t we dream of the Caliphate for years? And here it is, the Caliphate granted to us by Allah,” said the blind fighter, who identified himself only as Abu Bakr al-Kazakhi.

“Today the world is divided onto one of two places: a land of faith and a land of disbelief. All the disbelieving faiths have amassed against the Caliphate, and at the same time you are procrastinating and using every lame excuse,” he continued.

kazakh A blind Islamic State fighter from Kazakhstan appears in a propaganda video. Site Intelligence Group

Central Asia has been singled out as a region susceptible to terrorism, but Kazakhstan has been known as one of the most stable countries in the region. Nevertheless, the government has mobilized resources in recent years to combat extremism in a country where around 70 percent of the population is Muslim.

“The risks of religious extremism in Kazakhstan are quite high.  This is probably one of the few threats that the Kazakhstani authorities have addressed by rapidly mobilizing huge administrative, financial, and informational resources,” wrote scholar Serik Beissembayev in a 2016 paper on Kazakh religious extremism.  

The state  program  to  combat  religious extremism  and  terrorism  in  2013-17 had  a budget  of over $1 billion, the paper noted. 

On January 16, Trum and Nazarbayev pledged to "deepen bilateral defense and security relationships," and  agreed on the signing of "the fourth Five Year Plan for Military Cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United States Department of Defense," according to the State Department. 

Editor's Pick