Dec 2, 2011
For the November edition of the Jamestown Foundation’s Militant Leadership Monitor (MLM), I have written what is probably the first publicly available English-language profile of Abu Zar al-Burmi, the mufti of the Waziristan-based Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The MLM is only available via paid subscription, so you’ll have to be a subscriber to read the full text of my article.
Many of you Urdu speakers have heard Abu Zar’s voice before. He is the jihadi cleric debating with a counterpart from the Pakistani military in an audio recording that has spread on the Internet.
Abu Zar represents the most radical elements of Pakistan’s jihadi landscape. He and his ilk are unlikely to ever negotiate a peace with the Pakistani government. And the Pakistani government, military, and public must contend with the fact that peace talks will not end the war for some of the country’s anti-state jihadists.
Abu Zar says that his goal is shariah ya shahadat (Islamic law or martyrdom). He will fight to the death. Abu Zar seeks a pure Islamic state. He says that not even a 99% Islamic state will suffice. For him, even Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a kafir (infidel).
One final interesting tidbit: Abu Zar is a Pakistani national of Burmese ancestry who is the leading cleric for a jihadist group founded in Uzbekistan, but now based in Pakistan’s Waziristan. His background is truly an example of globalization — but, given the IMU’s viciousness, of its ugliest sort.