Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami (Urdu: حرکت المجاہدین الاسلامی) (abbreviated HUM) is a Pakistani Islamic militant group. It was established in 1985 initially opposing the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The founders of the group had splintered from Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami.

Post Soviet - Afghan War

In 1989, at the end of Soviet-Afghan war, the group entered Kashmiri politics by use of militants under the leadership of Sajjad Afghani. In 1993 the group merged with Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami to form Harkat-ul-Ansar. Immediately following the merger India arrested three senior members: Nasrullah Mansur Langaryal, chief of the former Harkat-ul Mujahideen in November 1993; Maulana Masood Azhar, General Secretary in February 1994, and Sajjad Afghani (Sajjad Sajid) in the same month in Srinagar.

As a response the group carried out several kidnappings in an attempt to free their leaders, all of which failed. Linked to the Kashmiri group al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one, Hans Christian Ostrø, was killed in August 1995 and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year. In 1997 the group renamed itself to the original Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, in a response to the United States defining Harkat-ul-Ansar as terrorist organization. In 1999 Sajjad was killed during a jailbreak which lead to the hijacking, by the group, of Indian Airlines Flight 814 in December, which caused the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar. Azhar did not, however, return to the HUM, choosing instead to form the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), a rival terrorist group expressing a more radical line than the HUM. The group has since not committed any major incidents.

Post 9/11 Attacks

The group again came to the attention of the US after the 9/11 attacks, leading President George W. Bush to ban the group on September 25, 2001.

Long-time leader of the group, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, in mid-February 2000 stepped down as HUM emir, turning the reins over to the popular Kashmiri commander and his second-in-command, Farooq Kashmiri. Khalil assumed the position of HUM Secretary General.

HUM is thought to have several thousand armed supporters located in Pakistani Kashmir, and India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions. It uses light and heavy machineguns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. HUM has lost some of its membership due to defections to the JEM.

The group is based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other towns in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but members conduct insurgent and militant activities primarily in Kashmir.

On October 10, 2005, Britain's Home Office banned HUM and fourteen other terrorist groups from operating in the United Kingdom. Under Britain's Terrorism Act 2000, being a member of a HUM is punished by a 10-year prison term.

The Experiment

The HUM owned the domain name until late in 2001, when the ownership lapsed. In March 2002 a US freelance journalist, Brian McWilliams, purchased the domain name and created a website at this address. He has stated that his reasons were to see what kind of response he would get from international or otherwise unfocused jihadis, and indeed, he has stated he received numerous emails from individuals all over the world who were eager to engage in terrorism and violent struggle. McWilliams also has stated that he wanted to see what kind of response he would receive from the individuals who purport to monitor and report on terrorist websites.

In February 2003, after the release of the Slammer worm virus, Computerworld magazine reported that the HUM website--McWilliams' site--was the origin of the global computer attack. McWilliams went public with what he termed his experiment, and what many others called a deliberate and highly unethical hoax. The controversy has died down somewhat in the past three years, but the personal enmity created over this issue remains, and can be read at length in numerous venues.

The McWilliams version of the HUM website remains up to this day, apparently unaltered from its appearance in early 2003. Full details of McWilliams' ownership of the domain name remain available through WHOIS at Network Solutions.


External links

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