Many educated Muslim youth from India, especially from middle class families are being influenced by Jihad by Internet Islamic groups. Cops are facing new challenges in dealing with this issue. Hundreds of Indian Muslim youth, mostly from poor and vulnerable backgrounds, are lining up for visas at the embassies of some of the Gulf and Middle East nations with the aim of joining the ‘jihad’ in Iraq. Intelligence agencies have time and again arrested many masterminds who are providing laptops and other IT equipments to IT Cell members of Indian Mujahideen to gather information about the target area and recce them. Most of them are tech savvy youth who are not only educated but also from good background. After Bhatkal, Haja Fakkurudeen, aged 37, resident of Paranagipettai near Cuddalore, a coastal village of Tamil Nadu is another Indian Muslim youth being drawn into the jihadi “poison” facing the country. He has joined forces with the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militants against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Iraq. In internet chat rooms where Islamists congregate, messages are posted calling on Indians to join up, to prepare themselves for what’s being described as a coming communal catastrophe. Tamil Nadu is becoming hub for jihadi propaganda.
On Monday, two young men have been arrested in Ramanthapuram district of Tamil Nadu after a photograph of a group of people posing in T-shirts with the emblem of the Terrorist group ISIS went viral on social media. The two men, Abdul Rahman and Rilvan, have been charged with abetting insurgent activity and criminal conspiracy for ordering and distributing the T-shirts. The ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are a breakaway group of the Al Qaeda, which has captured large swathes of Iraq and Syria and have declared a Muslim “caliphate”. Though ISIS is not a banned organisation, it is an insurgent group fighting against governments abroad. Both these men are active supporters of the ISIS and were seeking the support of others. 24-year-old Abdul Rahman, the police alleged, placed an order for 100 such T-shirts with a firm in Tirupur, through Rilvan.
Indian intelligence agencies have been on the track of some 18 youth reported to have joined ISIS. The Maharashtra police suspect that many young men may have already enrolled in the ISIS. Most of them left in the last week of May, claiming they were going for a pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala. Four young men from Mumbai are believed to have joined the ISIS recently and the Maharashtra police suspect there could be more such cases. However, this village is just one of the many places where Muslim youth are being exposed to radical propaganda through internet literature and videos. ISIS chief Abubakr Al-Baghdadi, who recently declared himself as the Caliph of Islamic State has asked Indian Muslims to wage war against the nation in an audio message. Last year, Pakistani al-Qaeda ideologue Asim Umar called on Indians to join the global jihad. Intelligence Bureau officials believe those nearly 250 Muslim youth from across the country are ready to leave for Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to join these terrorist organisations. Yet, they do not belong to any group. Rather than joining Pakistan’s ISI backed terror organisation, these youth are joining directly bigger organisations.
Iraq alone has had to deal with nearly 2,000 applications from Indian Muslim youth coming from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states. In this regard, India has stepped up security dialogues with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Syria and South Africa. Young Muslims from all over the world join in the ‘jihad’ against the oppressor. Now, this autocrat can be the much loathed US and the generic West; Jewish-Israel, Hindu-India, or can take an intolerant height wherein the Shia or Sunni is targeted. The challenge for India is to effectively and empathetically quarantine it. Indian intelligence agencies scanning immigration data and missing person’s reports across the country have a mammoth task on hand. Close to six million Indians live in West Asia and thousands go to the region every year for jobs and pilgrimage.
The businessman, Adil Dolare, reportedly worked for a religious institution named the Islamic Guidance Centre in Kalyan in Thane district. Dolare would reportedly meet the four men every evening. The 35-year-old businessman who runs a private enterprise in Navi Mumbai often gave talks on Islam, according to reports. Four men, Fahad Sheikh, Arif Majeed, Shaheen Tanki and Aman Tandel left for Iraq on 25 May claiming they were headed for a pilgrimage. Next day, Arif’s father discovered a note from his son saying he had left to join jihadists in Iraq. After the recent reports of radicalised youth from the city leaving to join the IS, Mumbai Police Commissioner issued a circular ordering the Anti-Terror Cells at every police station in the city to remain vigilant for terror links among those reported missing. Simultaneously, the police discovered that another 15 men had left for Iraq from Mumbai in May, but never returned. These 15 seem to have no connection with Dolare. Further, ATS seized pen drives and laptops from the houses of the four missing Kalyan youth to look into any possible connections with terror organisations.
Across the world, Al-Baghdadi is viewed by Muslims and non-Muslims as a terrorist whose forces are killing innocents. His terror outfit identifies India as one of its targets, incorporating it in an ISIS map of Khorasan, about which Prophet Muhammad prophesied that jihadists will rise from there and join the forces of Jesus who will be reborn in present-day. Israel proclaims global Islamic rule. Ashfaq Ahmad, who studied at Nadwatul Ulama and is now a professor of Arabic at the Assam University, says that Salman Nadwi has been known for his ideological support for Islamic groups and such letters may influence younger generations of Indian Muslims, especially hundreds of members of Jamiat-u-Shabab-il-Islam, an organisation of youth established by Nadwi. It is also worrying that India’s Shia Muslim leadership, under cleric Maulana Kalb-e-Jawwad, is unable to grasp the threat to Indian Muslims from global jihadism originating from Iraq and Syria. Until now, terror attacks in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in India could be traced to Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence and other terror groups backed by it, but an era of global jihad has stamped its footprint in India. Youth from Tamil Nadu went to Syria via Singapore to join the jihadists. Noted investigative journalist Praveen Swami recently revealed that four Muslims from Mumbai were among Shia pilgrims that went to Iraq where they joined the ISIS. Eighteen Indians have reportedly joined the jihadists in Iraq. In a recent article, Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid warned: “the Islamic world will be plunged into a sectarian war of unimaginable dimensions” if the ISIS attacked holy cities. Anyways, this ideology war is never going to end.
I feel sorry for those educated youth who get influenced by these extremists in the name of religion and end their life in pain and misery. Whosoever they are, they become extremists or go extreme, with basic injustice and anger towards the existence, largely to create terror. We all need to work towards harmony and make this earth worth living for everyone.