A charity known as İMKANDER has praised Doku Umarov, the former emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate whose death was announced by the jihadist group just last week, during recent rallies in several Turkish cities.
The rallies, which took place on March 21 “in several cities,” including at the “Fatih Mosque in Istanbul,” were attended by “thousands of Muslims,” according to Kavkaz Center, a media outlet for the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. İMKANDER released several photographs of the rallies as well as a description of the events on its Turkish-language website.
Photographs show hundreds, if not thousands of people, including women and children, attending the rallies. Many are waving the black banner of jihad. Professionally made banners with İMKANDER’s name as well as with images of Doku Umarov are seen throughout the rally.
Murat Ozer, İMKANDER’s president, addressed the large crowd in Istanbul. Ozer “emphasized in his speech that the proclamation of the Caucasus Emirate in 2007 was not something new for the Caucasus, as the opponents try to present, but an act of restoration of an Islamic state, uniting the Caucasian Muslims under the common flag of Monotheism, which was lost as a result of aggression and capture of Caucasus by Russia,” Kavkaz Center said.
Photographs of other rallies organized by İMKANDER, with hundreds of people in attendance, were also taken at Ankara, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Diyarbakir, and Eskisehir.
İMKANDER, which runs an English-language website where it prominently solicits donations, is clearly supportive of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Caucasus Emirate. The Turkish charity was “founded in 2009 in order to help the refugees and asylum seekers who have been the victims of the ongoing wars and the occupations, particularly in Caucasus and generally in the whole İslamic world,” the NGO says on its ‘About’ page on its English-language website.
İMKANDER declaries that it is aiding 150 families “at 98 houses,” presumably inside Turkey.
“Almost all of these families are the wives of martyrs and the fighters, including their orphans,” the group claims.
Al Qaeda often uses charitable organizations to provide financial and other support for the families of slain fighters and leaders.
In September 2013, İMKANDER celebrated the defeat of a Russian initiative to have İMKANDER and other NGOs blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council. Russia’s ambassador to the UN said that İMKANDER has “links to an al Qaeda entity on the list,” but did not disclose the name of the al Qaeda entity.
Doku Umarov’s death was announced on March 18. According to Kavkaz Center, he “was seriously wounded in a battle and died 10 days later.” It is unclear as to the exact date Umarov was killed.
Doku Umarov was unequivocal about his group’s involvement in the global jihad and his desire to establish an Islamic state in the Caucasus. In a July 2013 statement calling for further attacks aimed at disrupting Russia’s plans for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Umarov said that his group is “part of the global jihad.”
Umarov had led the jihad in the Russian Caucasus since he declared the establishment of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate in November 2007. He admitted to planning and executing numerous terror attacks in the Caucasus and in Moscow, the Russian capital. The US added Umarov to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in June 2010. The Islamic Caucasus Emirate was added to the US’ list of global terrorist groups the following year.