New Age Islam Edit Desk
September 15 2014
Since the leader of the Al Qaeda breakaway terrorist group, Abu Bakr Baghdadi declared the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in Iraq-Syria on June 30, 2014, much water has flowed down the Ganga. The news had mixed reactions in India as, while the majority of the Muslims were against it, a considerable section of the Muslims including the Urdu media tried to paint a glorified picture of the outfit. Muslims in general and security agencies in particular were however alarmed when news of youngsters from Maharashtra and other towns of India leaving for Iraq to join the Islamic caliphate emerged. Later even the news of a Kalyan boy being killed in action came. Some boys were recently apprehended by the West Bengal police trying to cross over to Bangladesh to fly to Iraq. In Tamil Nadu some boys were arrested for donning the ISIS uniform prepared by a local tailor.
Since the ISIS is a militant outfit based on a radical interpretation of Islam and it has released its map that shows the countries of South Asia including India under its purview, the Muslims joining or being inspired by it are seen by intelligence agencies of India as potential threats to the country. The outfit has already started recruiting Muslim youth of Pakistan by distributing leaflets and brochures as there is no dearth of militant and terrorist organisations and private extremist groups and individuals in Pakistan that could fall prey to their deceptive plans. In India, though there is not a single terrorist organisation or extremist outfit openly announcing allegiance to the Islamic caliphate of Baghdadi, it has open support of some Urdu newspapers and clerics. As Urdu newspapers influence and shape the views and opinions of the middle class Muslims, and clerics also have a considerable clout and admirers, especially among madrasa students, their open or purported support to the ISIS has inspired the Muslim youth to join the outfit. The social media has also played a negative role in moulding the opinion of the youth in favour of the ISIS. The influence of the social media has become so strong that the security agencies, particularly the NIA could not ignore it. They have started preparing a dossier about the ISIS and their Indian agents or supporters so that they can file a case against the ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi under 121 A of India Penal Code for waging war against India and request the government to ban the ISIS in the country.
Of late, the ISIS has been extensively and effectively using the social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to release their messages, announcements and invitations which have been seen by the youth of India as well. The ISIS which has roped in fighters from all over the world has an eye on the Indian Muslims too. According to the NIA, there are reports that the ISIS is trying to recruit Muslims from various states of India such as Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka. A video posted on the twitter account of an organisation called Ansarut Tawhid fil Bilad al Hind has been purportedly posted by Al Isabah Productions. This purportedly shows that the ISIS has found its representatives or agents in Indian soil and has been trying to recruit Indian Muslims through them. Another video posted on the internet shows a young man claiming to be from Canada and have joined the ISIS. He appeals to the viewers to help them.
These videos and posts have made the security agencies of the country worried about the growing influence of the ISIS among the Muslim youth of India. It is not a matter for concern for the security agencies of the country alone. The Muslim masses should be more concerned and worried. This is happening in the name of their beloved religion, Islam. It is the name of Islam that is being besmirched. The Urdu print media houses, journalists and clerics who have been glorifying the extremist outfit for the last three months will have to share the responsibility for this.
It is surprising that the Indian government has taken such a long time to declare the ISIS a banned terrorist organisation in the country despite the fact that the UN has already declared it a terrorist organisation and that the ISIS has been trying to recruit Indian Muslim youth with some success. Banning the organisation in India will be better both for the security of the country and for the Muslim community at large.
The security agencies, particularly the NIA have been reportedly monitoring the social media. But why only the social media? A section of the Urdu media has been publishing material that projects the ISIS as the fulfilment of the aspirations of the Muslims by establishing the so called caliphate. It has been ignoring its brutalities and atrocities against Muslims and non-Muslims alike. ISIS has been perpetrating these atrocities in total violation of Islamic precepts of peace and compassion for humanity, but doing it in the name of enhancing the glory of Islam which in their view calls for dominating the whole world.
Recently, when the video of Mullah Omar was released by the Al Qaeda announcing the launch of the South Asian wing of Al Qaeda to ‘rescue’ the Muslims of India, a number of Muslim organisations and clerics like Syed Ahmad Bukhari publicly condemned Al Qaeda and said that Al Qaeda was not the representative of Muslims of India or the world. But the same clerics and Muslim organisations have not openly spoken against the ISIS as yet. This creates the impression that they do not consider the ISIS a terrorist or un-Islamic organization, perhaps because it has declared itself as a Khilafat. The very word Khilafat has religious connotations and sentimental value among Muslims.
Recently, the Maharashtra government has also announced that it will ban the ISIS propaganda material on the internet. These half measures are not going to help. A blanket ban on the ISIS in India is the need of the hour. The ban will cover not only the social media but also electronic and print media. It will stop the spread of misleading information and content that is being churned out by the Urdu media and social media influencing the gullible and impressionable young minds, threatening their own lives and the society and country they live in.