Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is reporting that Russian-speaking women in the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) released a message to women in Russia to join them in Syria.
A man named Abu Dudjana shared the message on his VKontakte (Russia’s version of Facebook) social media page. The ladies claim they are in “the blessed land of Sham,” which is the name other caliphates have used for a region that includes most of Syria. They ask their sisters “in the lands of the infidels” to join them, since Russia “is a state of humiliation and shame”:
“Every step you take is monitored, and once you go beyond what the kuffar [infidels] have allotted you in terms of practicing religion, you are immediately driven back,” the message says.
“At a time when the infidels should be humbly begging you to accept their jizya [protection tax], you yourselves voluntarily belong to them as property, which they then use to fight Islam. You work for the infidels, receiving a salary from them, the amount of which depends on how much you deny your religion. You pay for teachers, so they can teach your children to be infidels,” the message says.
The women try to lure women on the idea of hijra and jihad, which ISIS uses as a way to justify their barbaric atrocities in the Middle East. They claim the ladies in Russia must participate in hijra, a migration in the steps of Mohammad, since it is a religious duty.
“And there is nothing that could result in this being postponed. Neither the existence of debts or obligations, neither your parents nor your property or work — nothing should deter you from resettlement… Understand, sisters, this is your religion and there is nothing more important in this world,” the message insists.
“Hijra was not easy for the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad]. It was a risk, and that risk is still here today. So let your main reserve be piety, sister. After all, if you fear God and trust in Him, He will find a way for you,” the message says.
Then the women entice their “sisters” with the prospect of an amazing and sweet husband. If the woman is already married, she needs to leave her husband and find a new one within the caliphate.
“Encourage your husbands, and if they turn away, then dump them without hesitation and move yourselves. Allah will give you, inshallah [God willing] mujahideen [militants] as husbands, who are God-fearing and sincere,” the “sisters from Islamic State” say.
In July, ISIS opened a marriage office in al-Bab in Syria “where single women and widows can register to marry” the radical Islamists. If a marriage blossoms, the couple can take a honeymoon in the caliphate.
The pivot to Russian Muslims follows months of recruitment among Chechnya’s Muslim community. Among the Islamic State’s most revered military leaders is Omar al-Shishani, “Omar the Chechen,” who is believed to be in charge of much of ISIS’s military strategy in Iraq and Syria. The fair-skinned, red-haired militant sticks out in videos and photos distributed by the terrorist group. Murad Margoshvili, also known as Muslem al-Shishani, is another Chechen figure in ISIS and “has a Che Guevara status” in Syria.
A Chechen mother kidnapped her Dutch-born children, ages 8 and 7, and fled to Syria to join ISIS. Her ex-husband alerted police that his wife might flee the country. His worst fear came true when “[T]he head teacher of the children’s Islamic school alerted” him “after his ex-wife printed plane tickets to Greece for herself and their children.”
What can this mean for Russian President Vladimir Putin? He installed a pro-Russian government in the region in 2003 after the Second Chechen War. In 2007, Ramzan Kadyrov–Putin’s close friend with whom he shares friendships with some of Hollywood’s powerful stars–was elected as head of state. Giving Kadyrov the presidency allowed the 38-year-old to “create the Islamic republic that Chechen separatists had dreamed of – albeit one entirely reliant on Moscow for financial support and where Shariah law is selective, not absolute.” However, in September, ISIS released a video with threats against Russia, responding to Putin’s promise to provide aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The jihadists vowed to liberate Chechnya and Russia’s North Caucasus. Kadyrov responded with disgust towards the jihadist in an Instagram post as he wore a Putin t-shirt:
“These jerks have nothing to do with Islam,” he said. “They are the blatant enemies of Muslims all over the world. Naive people decided to threaten Chechnya and all of Russia with two aircraft. They can sit in 2,000 aircraft and still not make it to Russia.” He then asserted, “I declare, with all responsibility, that whoever gets it into their heads to threaten Russia and speak the name of President Vladimir Putin will be destroyed as soon as he says it,” adding, “We won’t even wait for him to sit at the helm of a plane.”
But others in the North Caucasus region do not feel the same way. Radical Islamist fighters from these areas, especially Dagestan, were responsible for suicide attacks in Volgograd, Russia, months before Sochi hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. In December 2013, ISIS leader Abu Umar al-Shishani said then-Chechen militant leader Dokka Umarov financed the terrorist group. The militants confirmed Umarov died on September 7, 2013.