Iraq’s minister of defense posted two pictures of an alleged Chinese Islamic fighter with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, formerly known as ISIS. This would be the first confirmation of a Chinese national within the jihadist group.
The Facebook post said the man is a Chinese “daash,” which is an acronym for ISIS. In one photo, the Chinese man is on the ground and unconscious. His face is swollen, and there is an Arabic tattoo on his left arm. In the top photo, it appears an Iraqi soldier propped him up to show his face to the camera.
Individual jihadists from around the world have joined the Islamic State. A British national murdered American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Malaysia reported that women traveled to Syria and Iraq to be comfort women for ISIS jihadists. Yin Gang, West Asian and African Studies scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told South China Morning Post there are hundreds of Chinese nationals fighting with ISIS. “All Muslims under heaven are one family,” he said.
“These Chinese nationals are responding to the extreme Muslims’ call to join the jihad of ISIS and are seeking to gather combat experience,” Yin also said.
Yin said the men wanted to join al-Qaeda but decided against it when some stability reached Afghanistan. But the volatile environment in Syria and Iraq provides these men the chance to experience jihad.
In 2013, a Chinese man known as Bo Wang released a video asking Chinese people to join him in Syria. He identified himself as Yusuf, chatted about converting to Islam, and fought with the Libyans during their war. In the video, he held a Kalashnikov rifle, and a black jihadist flag waved in the background.