Turkish authorities have discovered Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) training camps for children in basements hidden in Istanbul.
Hürriyet Daily News reported that “24 of around 50 suspects of Tajik and Uzbek origin” are children that trained in those basement camps. The officers raided 18 homes in the “Pendik and Başakşehir’s Kayaşehir neighborhood.” The houses contained “battlefield maps as well as documents describing the group’s contacts in both countries.” Other evidence led authorities to believe the group intended to meet ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Usmon Ghazi, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), pledged allegiance to ISIS in early August, almost a year after he offered support for the radical Islamic group.
In mid-September, the Uzbekistan Education Ministry banned anyone under 18 years of age from Friday prayer services. According to RFE/RL, official Ubaidullo Azimov claims “that the government’s position was that ‘children’s brains should not be distracted’ from school studies by religion.” He stated that “children should only learn what is taught at school.” The students should not wrap themselves with religious studies until they “have finished their high-school studies.”
A video recently surfaced showing a young Uzbek jihadi male, aligned with al-Nusra Front, breaking down in tears right before taking part in a suicide attack mission in Syria. Media identified the male as 20-year-old Jafar al-Tayyar. He fought as part of Imam Bukhari Jamaat, “an Uzbek-led faction that pledged allegiance to the Afghan Taliban last year.” The faction released the video on September 20.
RFE/RL also wrote that Tawhid wal-Jihad (TWJ), another Uzbek group in Fua that has “fought many times alongside the Nusra Front,” has released a video showing one Uzbek fighter who allegedly survived a suicide attack. He told the other militants he “exploded a remote-controlled vehicle bomb,” but appears shocked. He collapsed with the other fighters cheering him.
Not all jihadists in Uzbekistan align themselves with ISIS. An Imam Bukhori jihadist speaking with RFE/RL in August insisted that group was formally opposed to ISIS.
“IS is a group with a false ‘aqidah’ [Islamic creed]. Its leader [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi is a person who likes to indulge in pleasures, he is a depraved person,” he said.
He called Baghdadi’s followers “ignoramuses” and bashed them for calling non-ISIS people infidels even though they smoke. He also found problems with Baghdadi’s permission to kill other Muslims. RFE/RL reports:
“In Raqqa, there is an oil plant. It was captured by Jabhat al-Nusra. After Baghdadi attacked [Nusra], spilling the blood of around a thousand mujahedin [jihadist fighters], and taking about one and a half thousand captive, he took the oil plant for himself,” the militant said.
“Once [IS] declared it permissible to kill Muslims, to confiscate their property, sell their women for $500 at the bazaar, a fatwa was issued for us to fight against IS. If they come onto our territory then we will fight against them.”