[This article was published in the 20th issue of Nida'ul Islam
magazine (), September-October 1997]

An Official from the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan provides

A Comprehensive Analysis of the Kurdish Cause

On 25 August 1988, there was an operation which Saddam himself named "Al-Anfal", where he gave permission to his troops to keep whatever they get their hands on, including the Kurdish women whereby more than 184,000 were taken as slaves The movement governs the east of Sulaimania in the east of Kurdistan in Iraq. Its areas of influence are inhabited by two hundred thousand people in five cities and one hundred villages; all gratitude to Allah, over the last year, the movement began to enforce the Islamic Punishment Law

The call from the Islamic groups is fruitful these days, especially after the infighting amongst the secular Kurdish groups and the weakening of the authority of Saddam over the region.

Halbajah was attacked when its inhabitants numbered 70,000, today, all gratitude to Allah, it has 100,000 inhabitants

Introducing Sheikh Fateh Karikar

  • Born in 1956, Iraq.
  • Graduated in the Arabic Language studies from the Suleimania College in 1982
  • Married with four children: Sayyid Qutb, Ma'alem, Zhilal, Ibnu Taymiah
  • Joined the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan in June 1988
  • Appointed as head of the Military wing of the movement in 1992
  • Appointed head of the office of planning and implementation in 1995
  • Established the Military Academy of Kurdistan
  • Has 21 books some of which are original works, while others are translations; 3 of these are on poetry
  • Currently residing in Norway as a political refugee, where he has good efforts in Da'wa


Would you kindly introduce yourself to the reader?

In the Name of Allah the Source of All Mercy the All Merciful, all gratitude to Allah, peace and blessings upon His Messenger, his family, his companions and all those who support His deen.

Your brother in Faith, Abu Sayyid Qutb Fateh Karikar born in 1956 in the city of Sulaimania in Iraq. I received my primary and secondary education in Iraq, and the tertiary education in Pakistan. I have submitted my Ph.D thesis atthe university of Sind on the methodology of Da'wa in the story of Moosa peace and blessings upon him and upon our Messenger. I ceased my studies there in 1988 whthe Halabjah incident occurred in Kurdistan. I have since dedicated myself to the Islamic mission. I am married with four children through the grace of Allah. I was at one stage responsible for the military office of the Islamic movement, in 1995 they decided that I should take charge of the office of planning and implementation where I continue to work in addition to responsibilities for the movement in Europe - all gratitude to Allah.

Many people are ignorant of the hardships which the Muslim Kurdish people are living under, what is the reality of these hardships, and what are their most important catalysts?

The ignorance of the situation of the Kurds and the Kurdish issue, is an ignorance amongst the Muslims in particular. For example, Marxist groups as well as leftist Liberal groups, which are influenced by the direction of the East and the West, were concerned with the Kurdish issue, and they had written about it in their publications. They also have their guidelines with respect to their stance in relation to the Kurdish issue. However, as the Muslims were late in understanding the Kurdish issue and other issues such as the Palestinian, the Kashmiri and the Phillipino, some of them remain ignorant or do not have sufficient understanding with respect to what transpires in the Kurdish area. There are many books and publications around the Islamic activities here and in the Kurdish area in general. There may also be some neglect in the Kurdish community in bringing the issue to the fore.

As for its catalysts, these are certainly the loss of the central authority of the Islamic presence in Islambul, I mean by this the Islamic Khilafa, then the dispersion of loyalty and the division of the Islamic land all over the world.

Further, the emergence of Nationalism in the early stages in Europe and the arrival of this movement in our Islamic world was a reason in dividing our community with each race demanding independence and self rule. At the outset, the Turks, then the Arabs, then the Persians then others, the Kurds lived amidst this squabble in the region of the Middle East. The Kurds also reacted with other people in a peaceful manner in their call for independence. When this nationalism emerged amongst these people, one can say that the main reason was the weakness or lack of a central Islamic authority. In our view, this is the first reason for the hardships of the Kurds and the others.

Secondly, the inability of the imported ideologies to deal with the Kurdish issue in a correct manner, and their failure to present a correct solution which would harmonise with what the Kurds are demanding and which may also harmonise with what other peoples of the region are demanding. Whilst the Liberal and leftist groups may have contained the Kurdish issue for a short time they, have failed miserably in their attempts to suppress it. These groups are also responsible for the emergence of the barriers amongst the Kurds themselves.

A great deal of the hardships was caused by the establishment of the different governments in the area, such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, the former states of the Soviet Union, which are Armenia and Azerbaijan now, bearing in mind that Kurdistan is divided amongst all these countries.

Despite their ongoing disputes and wars, these regimes share a united stance with regards to the Kurdish issue. This too has added to the hardships of the Kurdish people. The Arab Nationalist regimes in Syria and Iraq, and the Secular and nationalistic Turkish regime and the Communist direction of the Persians all played their roles in complicating the Kurdish issue. Add to this the politics, the geographical division and the internal divisions amongst the Kurds which all led to the present situation. As one of the Lebanese Journalists said: If various nations had been oppressed by history, the Kurds have been oppressed by both history and geography.

Can you explain the conditions of the Kurds in the countries where they live?

Their situation is as the one who seeks refuge from the cinders in the fire, meaning if he was to leave one place for another, he faces the same hardships. The Iraqi Kurd when fleeing, may flee to Iran, to Turkey or to Syria; Syria will not give him an opportunity unless he belonged to a certain Iraqi opposition party. Iran also places importance on issues to its interest, either because of its war with Iraq, or with a view to its future plans for Shi'a dominance, looking for a foothold in Northern Iraq. As for Turkey, their direction is a secular nationalistic direction which is most grudging against the Kurds. This has also reflected against the Islamic tides within Turkey itself, so much so that even individuals in the Tabligh movement do not like the Kurds or believe that there are no pious Kurds in Eastern Turkey. These are their miserable conditions.

With regards to their situation in Iraq, there may be some who have heard about the conditions of the Kurds through the media, following the events in Kuwait. In particular, the Arabic media made minor efforts to reveal some of the injustices of the Iraqi regime which they used to previously conceal. For example, on 25 August 1988, there was an operation which Saddam himself named "Al-Anfal", where he gave permission to his troops to keep whatever they get their hands on, including the Kurdish women whereby more than 184,000 (one hundred and eighty four thousands) were taken as slaves. An area two and a half times the size of Lebanon was sprayed with Chemical weapons where no vegetation grew for the subsequent four years resulting in the migration of more than one and a half million Kurds. These people also fled to certain areas of Iran as deep as 90 kilometres which were completely devoid of inhabitants.

Similarly in Syria, 100,000 of those who lived along the Syrian-Turkish border, were deprived of their Syrian citizenship. Their condition in Iran is similar, it was bad and became worse after the Iranian revolution, as in addition to the racist oppression, the sectarian oppression was introduced.

Add to this the refusal of the regimes to allow the Kurds to have any political representation as Kurds and as Sunni Muslims. Similarly with respect to Turkey, perchance the situation there is known by all. One can say that all the Kurds in the Kurdish areas are under hardship and suffering.

However, at times, the pressure on them is greater from one provincial government to another. For the use of Chemical weapons by Iraq against the Kurds was preceded by Kamal Attaturk in 1936 when he used chemical gases against the Kurds. The latest attacks of the Turkish troops against the Kurds, were a repeat of what the Kurds suffered at the hands of the Iraqi troops. Furthermore, the complete suppression of the Kurds, and the suppression of their personality which they faced at the hands of the Syrians; were also faced at the hands of the Iranians previously during the reign of the Shah of Iran, and during the Iranian revolution. Therefore, the Kurds are suffering equally under all these regimes.

How have the secularists contributed to dividing the Kurds? and what resulted from this?

The condition of the Kurdish people is like that of the others. Their condition started to deteriorate after the fall of the lost minaret (i.e. Khilafah) -as referred to by Dr Abdullah Azzam may Allah have mercy on him- and this is when the Muslim people started to disperse. The thirties and forties were the liberal period, and this is when the Kurds made demands which pertained to their own regions in view of preserving their independence for a number of preceding centuries. A review of history reveals that the Kurds preserved their independence as princedoms, whilst these were more than one Kurdish princedom at the same time, with their own disputes and battles, it remains a fact that they were agreed about their independence. In view of the Kurds being Sunni Muslims, their loyalty was pledged to the Ottoman Sultan. One hundred and Eigyears ago, prince Muhammad Almaruzy had his own independent princedom with its own light armament factory, this princedom allied to the governor of Baghdad geographand administratively.

As for the secularists, when they appeared in the thirties and forties, every Muslim region was politically, constitutionally, and intellectually following the West. After this, the fifties and sixties were the decades of military coups which saw the arrival of the leftist and nationalist ideologies to the Islamic world in general. At the same time these movements had a stronger influence in Kurdistan with the emergence of the armed and organised Kurdish groups which led to the September 1961 rebellion in Iraq.

During the seventies and early eighties, the Kurdish movements with Marxist ideologies also had good relationships with the Ba'thi Iraqi regime. Later in the eighties, some of these movements turned to the West and adopted the liberal ideology. However, in general, the Kurdish regions adopted the Marxist ideology moreso than the Capitalist ideology. This added to the barriers amongst the Kurdish people who had divided loyalties to the different ideologies. These movements without doubt also carry some responsibility with respect to these hardships. However, we cannot overlook their positive points as these movements also increased the awareness of the Kurdish people and participated in realising some of their gains.

What is the position of the International Infidel powers with respect to the Kurdish people?

The international infidel powers are directly responsible for the suffering of the Kurds. The Sikes-Pico agreement in 1916 divided the region to its current borders. The first division occurred after the Charle Diran battle between the Iranians and the Ottoman Turks in 1516. After this by four hundred years the region was divided along the current five boundaries which are the former Soviet Union, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq and these international powers are partners in this division.

The hopes of the Kurds were lost following the rise of Kamal Attaturk through his interaction with the Western powers and his promotion as a 'sincere' leader, while in the actual fact he was a secularist loyal to the West. The suffering of the Kurdish people increased further in 1924 after the Luzan conference.

Sheikh Fateh, we would like you to give some information about the Islamic movement in Kurdistan: Its outlook, its goals and its scope.

The Islamic movement as an armed movement in Iraq was established in two phases, the first was in 1985, the second in 1987 when Sheikh Uthman Bin Abdul Aziz emerged and became its advisor. From that day in 1985, all gratitude to Allah, the army of the Qur`an was the first organised group for any serious, truthful, and sincere armed effort. The Islamic movement at the outset was an inexperienced movement. The Jihad and victory motives after the oppression were large motives for the Muslims who participated in the struggle.

At the outset, the movement was the frame which gathered those who supported Jihad, some of them were from the "Muslim Brotherhood", others were Imams of mosques, and others were Salafis (according to the way of the predecessors), some were Sufis, some were people partial to arms, and some were tribal; so instead of dying under the banner of Talabany or Barzany, they preferred to die under the banner of a man like Sheikh Uthman. Further, the movement is a result of the reality around it and the errors, oppressions and evil pressures which were constricting. The gradual worsening of the situation led to its crystallisation over a number of stages, and it continues on its way, however, it has passed through a lengthy period.

The movement can today be described as a section of the Kurdish liberation movement, a main section bearing in mind its Islamic nature, thus it is linked to the Muslims in Iraq and it is a Sunni movement so it is linked to the Sunni Arabs. And since it is a Kurdish movement, it has effects in the Kurdish region as well. The movement is like a fence which protects the Muslims in general, in view of its being an armed movement; and because of its presence with the grace of Allah, many of the enemies of Islam are no longer able to interfere with the Islamic activities to the same extent, whether they came in peace or in war.

The movement adopts the way of the people of Sunna and Jama'a. The people who composed the constitution of the movement are scholars and Islamic activists and figures, all gratitude to Allah Most High. As for those who joined it and reached positions of command, they are also with the grace of Allah people of a good standard and of good understanding. In addition to the members with Islamic education, there are also members who have academic education, for example you will find a member who is a medical practitioner who has also memorised the Noble Qur`an, and also memorised 6000 Hadiths of Bukhary. You would also find brothers who had spent a lifetime with the "Muslim Brotherhood" before joining the Islamic movement, bringing some of their experiences. There are also in the second and third degree of leadership in the Islamic movement those who were with the Marxist movement who brought their previous experience all gratitude to Allah.

It is a movement which aims to bring down the Iraqi regime and replace it with an Islamic regime. The movement does not have any other aim such as the establishment of a Kurdish state or anything specific to the Kurds. It is an Islamic movement. As it emerged in the Kurdish regions, it is natural that many Muslim Kurds who live in the region would join it. The areas of its activities are within Iraq, in particular areas of the Muslim Kurds which the movement is attempting to unite under one umbrella, or under one common administration which aims to preserve the Kurdish gains. These gains do not belong to any particular group such as the Talabany group or the Barzany group or any others. These gains belong to the people and the people rose to preserve their independence. So it is incumbent on the movement to protect these gains.

As for the areas with militarily presence, the movement governs the east of Sulaimania in the east of Kurdistan in Iraq. Its areas of influence are inhabited by two hundred thousand people in five cities and one hundred villages; all gratitude to Allah, over the last year, the movement began to enforce the Hudood (Islamic Punishment Law) , and this area was not granted by any except Allah Most High, the movement took this area with blood, suffering, tears, and loss of limbs, and it deserves with the grace of Allah, this area and more.

As for its organisation, it is present in the area under the control of the National Union, as it is also present in the area controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). This coexistence is either based on agreement where each group maintains its links, or through military balance which must never be weakened, as is the case in the area of the National Union which is guarded with the grace of Allah by the forces of the movement. The forces of the Union cannot interfere with the movement in our weak areas fearing for their own factions in our strong areas, so we have a military balance. As for the situation with the KDP, there is an agreement on principle as they have not declared enmity with Islam to this day in the manner that we see with the Talabany group.

Is there any military cooperation between the movement and the KDP?

There is no military agreement as such, however, at times, there are shared areas. For example there is a chain of mountains comprising seven mountains, four summits in our hands and three in theirs, so naturally if there was a military defeat in our areas, our forces would withdraw to their three summits, the issue would work the same way if the reverse was to happen. However, there is no military agreement to any particular plan, as something like this must be declared with bravery and skill, and all gratitude to Allah the Lord of the Worlds, today the Kurdish people in Iraq have an important, salient, and distinguished feature, when anyfighting takes place between the secular groups, the people look to the stance of the Islamic Movement, if the Movement gives support to a particular party, the people wrally behind that party regarding that party as being just. For this reason both parties are careful about the stance of the Movement when any fighting breaks out among them.

What is the relationship of the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan with the Jihad Movements in the world?

Naturally the constitution of the Movement requires to support all the Jihad movements throughout the world, even they have not heard of us or are not supporting us, and even if these were to take an opposing stance to us - which they would not. For example, we take a supporting stance with the brothers in Thailand and Burma, even if they have not heard of us, or may have heard of us but are not supporting us. Hamas, for example, if they were to take a non-supportive stand towards us for a particular strategy, our position would remain one of support for them without hesitation, as is our position with every Jihad movement. As for the non-Jihad movements, our mutual relationship is based on common interests, on advise and support, and on taking and giving.

What are the most important achievements of your movement, especially the military front?

The movement -with gratitude to Allah- achieved a great deal, of these is the improvement in morale. The Islamic Movement emerged on the Kurdish front and presented Islam and gathered the good people around it. The movement also became the protection for every person who wishes to work for Islam in its areas of control, this is a major achievement. The Kurdish authorities before had their Marxism symbols engraved on some of the mountain tops; these were removed with the blood of our best men who had been raised according to Islam, in the case of creed, worship, way of life, behaviour, and movement.

What is the real viewpoint of the Kurdish people towards nationalism and what is the extent of their adherence to Islam?

The secular nationalism which emerged in Europe after the weakening of religious sentiments are idols, being worshipped without regard to Allah, as Sayyid Qutb -may Allah have mercy on him- stated. In this respect, the Kurds do not support secular nationalism, not even to the extent of 1 in a 1000.

As for the extent of their adherence to Islam, all gratitude to Allah, their adherence is good, and the people know that the solution is Islam.

What are the news of the latest battles which transpired between the Islamic movement and the Communist groups? And in what directions are they heading?

The latest battles were in April, five months ago. These were among the fiercest battles, the reason for this goes back to the fact that Iran besieged the areas of the Movement for fifty days preventing everything, including food, from reaching the Muslims. This was in addition to the siege of the Marxist Talabany in Sulaimania.

Initially the battles ensued for a period of three and a half days continuously, then they stopped for eight days, to resume later. However, all gratitude to Allah, victory belonged to the Mujahideen where 465 Marxists were killed as against 43 martyrs of the Movement, 4 of whom were leaders, we ask Allah Most High to accept them as martyrs. None of our men were captured whilst 518 of their men were taken captive. The enemy were not able to take any new areas whilst the brothers won much equipment and heavy armament.

In what direction is the situation currently progressing?

An agreement between the two parties was reached, however this has not been adhered to to date. The agreement stated that both parties would withdraw their forces to their previous positions, however the Communists did not comply with that; this forced the Movement to maintain their advanced positions. We are currently working to reinforce our military front to enable it to face any emergency.

How do you see the solution to the Kurdish problem? Is it possible to achieve an independent Kurdish state?

We do not believe that it would be easy to arrive at an independent Kurdish state. As after Kurdistan was divided in the Sikes-Pico accord in 1916, it became difficult to unite it again.

However, the outlook and main concern of the Kurds today are to live in dignity, and we in the Islamic Movement desire to establish an Islamic government. There is no reason why the Kurds cannot have their own state as Sheikh Sa'eed Hawwa discussed in his book "Al-Islam", where he stated that there is no reason why there could not be a Kurdish state, governed by qualified Kurds, as long as they are tied to the central authority.

Does Turkey or Iran play any role in directing or defining the policies of the Islamic Movement?

No, with the grace of Allah, Turkey has no effect on our Movement, even with respect to our office in Ankara which is staffed by five people, or even Erbakkan and the eighty members of the Rafah Party, though we desired their cooperation with respect to the Kurdish issue, however, they did not show any reaction in support of the Kurds.

As for Iran, it also has no authority over the Movement, all gratitude to Allah Most High. Had it had any role, the resources of the Movement would have been much greater, and we would have possessed tanks and heavy artillery.

There are much arms in the Kurdish region, as all the provincial governments have armed the Kurds, however, we have to purchase the weapons we need with our own money.

How does the Islamic Movement work to boost its military force in confronting the schemes of the Communists to hit at the Movement?

The Movement relies on Allah Most High firstly, and on its military wing secondly. The call from the Islamic groups is fruitful these days, especially after the infighting amongst the secular Kurdish groups and the weakening of the authority of Saddam over the region. All gratitude to Allah, the Movement has been able to establish peace and security in the region, and is upholding the Islamic Law. This led to the purification of the region from alcohol, fornication, loose conduct, and the rejectionist secular agendas.

The Movement's activities led to the spread of news in the other areas, and has given a good picture of the rule of the Muslims. The internal secular groups have attempted, as have other provincial forces, to abort these efforts. The way to confront the forces of ignorance and rejection is to establish an Islamic society.

Do you have any parting words?

My parting words are to remind all of Allah firstly, and to seek His pleasure; and to feel certain that Allah Most High will not forsake us. Halabjah was attacked when its inhabitants numbered 70,000, today, all gratitude to Allah it has 100,000 inhabitants. Sheikh Uthman used to seek permission to teach in some of the mosques and he was denied this permission, today he is enforcing Islamic law.

My advise to my Muslim brothers and sisters has two points, the first: not to fear confrontation and Jihad, because the human being does not fully appreciate this religion except in the situation of Jihad, for Halabjah which was suffering miseries is now proud and secure with the grace of Allah, no benefit came to it except through the grace of Allah and through arms.

When one of us reads the story of Abu Bakr sending one man, Alqa'qa', to reinforce the Muslim army, the Muslim person realises his own value in Jihad. Sheikh Abdullah Azzam did not collect any money for us, however, he used to pray for us in his sermons, and when he would finish his sermon, he would say to me: I did not forget to mention you today. So I would say: All gratitude to Allah.

The second point: I remind my brothers and sisters not to forget the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan, for it is a Movement which has none except Allah Most High, and to this day there is no one to adopt its orphans. The Islamic Movement does not have the depth behind it which our Palestinian, Eritrean, Phillipino, or Kashmiri brethren have, knowing that 30 dollars suffices to assist one Mujahid in his home and his family.

Finally, we ask Allah Most High to accept our efforts and to make these sincere for His Noble Face.

The address and account number for those who wish to make donations to the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan:

AZMR Information Senter
0182 0510 - Norway
Fax: (0011) 4722207247

Bank Account:
Konto nr: 1607.56.99267
OSIO - Norway

Back to Articles Sorted by Topic or to Articles Sorted by Issue