Islamic State flaunt 81-year-old fighter in propaganda bid

Islamic State flaunt 81-year-old fighter in propaganda bid
The self-proclaimed caliphate flex their militant muscle by releasing photos of their elderly extremist
2 min read
01 Jun, 2016
The extremist group flexes its muscle in this latest batch of propaganda pictures [screenshot]
As the Islamic State [IS] group faces renewed efforts to oust them from Raqqa and Fallujah, the militant group has released new images showing one of its oldest recruits – an 81-year-old grandfather from China's Xinjiang province.

Muhammad Amin, who is of China's Uighur Muslim minority, was featured in a propaganda video released last year by the group, in which he explained that he had travelled to join the IS group after seeing footage of his grandson – who was also a fighter in Syria – being killed in the country.

"I was subjected to oppression in Turkestan at the hands of the Chinese... for 60 years," the elderly extremist said.

"I made hijrah (religious journey) accompanied by my four grandsons, my daughter and my wife."

The Uighur ethnic group that Amin belongs to has faced persecution by Chinese authorities, including draconian bans on fasting and Islamic dress codes.

His choice of joining the extremist group, however, is rather out of the ordinary as Chinese Muslims have historically rejected extreme and puritanical interpretations of Islam.

Armed, but dangerous?

Although shown dressed in combat fatigues and holding an AK-47, the IS group's grandpa-at-arms said at the time that he was not engaged in the group's combat operations.

Muhammad Amin
Armed, but not so deadly: Amin was trained by IS but
admitted not engaging in battle [screenshot]

"I came to Islamic State and went to a training camp despite my old age," he told his IS interviewer. "I went to a training camp and I crawled, I ran and I rolled."

"I did almost everything and ended training camp well. After receiving a weapon I asked permission to participate in battle, but he didn't give me permission so I am presently at the base," he added.

This latest release of pictures may be seen as one of many desperate attempts by the IS group to demonstrate their appeal and strength in the face of fresh territorial losses in both Iraq and Syria.

At present, Iraqi government forces are engaged in an advance on the group's base in Fallujah, while Syrian rebel groups are gaining ground on the self-proclaimed caliphate's stronghold of Raqqa.