September 30, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5851

Amid Growing Radicalization Of Indian Muslims, Social Activist Warns Muslim Parents: You Think Your Son Won't Turn To Jihad, But Other Parents, Who Thought The Same Thing, Are Now Mourning Their Sons' Death

September 30, 2014
India | Special Dispatch No. 5851

Recently, four Muslim youths from Kalyan, a suburb of Mumbai, flew to Baghdad and joined the jihadist organization Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). One of them has been reported to have been killed in Iraq. Other media reports indicate that Muslim youths in several regions of India are becoming radicalized and are attracted by the idea of jihad and Islamic caliphate.

Recently, several youths from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad were stopped in Kolkata on their way to join ISIS. Reports indicate such radicalization in other parts of India as well, namely Manipur, Tamil Nadu, and Kashmir, among others. Over the past year and a half, jihadi videos also showed a number of Indian youths training somewhere in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. One Indian youth was recently killed while fighting in Afghanistan, as confirmed by jihadi sources.

Amid this emerging radicalization of Muslim youth in India, noted Indian social activist Javed Anand, of the non-governmental organization Muslims for Secular Democracy, wrote an open letter to Indian Muslim parents in The Week magazine, urging them to recognize the threat of radicalization in their midst and counter extremist elements such as those led by Dr. Zakir Naik, a televangelist well known for working against co-existence and pluralism.

The following are excerpts:

"Messages In Different Indian Languages Feeding The Caliphate Fantasy To Muslims Are Reportedly Circulating On Social Media; Not Be Left Behind, Al-Qaeda, Too, Is Set To Open Its Own India Chapter"

"Dear Muslim Parent,

"Salaams! You cannot but be aware that these are troubling times for the ummah in India, across the globe, and especially in Muslim-majority countries. What does Islam teach, what do Muslims want? That is the question the world seems to be asking. You could of course take the view, as many do, that the question itself reeks of prejudice against Muslims and their faith. So nothing further needs to be said. Or, you could begin by acknowledging that, as a lived faith, there are many Islams. And that some of them present a very ugly picture of their faith.

"What does the [Hindu holy book] Gita teach? It depends on whether it is Mahatma Gandhi or Nathuram Godse [the extremist Hindu who killed Gandhi in 1948] addressing the question. So [too] is the case with the Koran. It depends on whether you listen to [independent India's first education minister] Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, or Osama bin Laden. So, do not get defensive.

"Four young Muslim men from Kalyan, near Mumbai, fly off to Syria to join the jihad launched by the Islamic State. It is headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a man who proclaims himself caliph, directs crimes against humanity, and perpetuates ethnic and religious cleansing. A maulana [cleric Maulana Salman Al-Husaini Nadwi] from Uttar Pradesh [northern state of India] with a considerable following swears allegiance to this monster. A group of 20 young Muslims from [the southern Indian state of] Tamil Nadu pose for photographs wearing specially ordered ISIS T-shirts and post them on Facebook.

"One of the boys from Kalyan is already a 'martyr.' Meanwhile, messages in different Indian languages feeding the caliphate fantasy to Muslims are reportedly circulating on social media. Not be left behind, Al-Qaeda, too, is set to open its own India chapter."

"Watch [Extremist Islamic Televangelist] Dr. Zakir Naik's Peace TV More Closely; Notice How The Channel Has Nothing To Do With Peace"

"Not my son, he will never take to that path, you think. But the grieving and the anguished Muslim parents from Kalyan, too, never thought their sons would go that way. So Muslim parent, think again. No need to panic. But it is important that you are aware of the Islam that is being taught in the madrassa, mosque, or Islamic center that your son frequents. Turn your home into a part-time study circle. Watch [extremist Islamic televangelist] Dr. Zakir Naik's Peace TV more closely. Notice how the channel has nothing to do with peace; it in fact preaches Muslim supremacy and the inferiority of others.

Dr. Zakir Naik's teachings contradict pluralism

"Among the many Islams you find in your midst, beware in particular of what are commonly referred to as political Islam and violent jihadism. Here in brief is what they are all about.

"Political Islam (Wahhabism, Salafism, Ahl-e-Hadith, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind): These are the followers of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (Arabia; the theological anchor for the Saudi tribe that rules Saudi Arabia), Sayyid Qutb (Egypt; Muslim Brotherhood) and Maulana Abul A'la Maududi (India, Pakistan; Jamaat-e-Islami). The Afghan jihad against Soviet occupation in the 1980s provided the crucible for these currents to co-mingle, cross-fertilize. What unites them is the belief that it is the bounden duty of all Muslims to strive through 'all means possible' to establish an Islamic State to enforce Shariah laws.

"Violent jihadism (Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram and numerous jihadi outfits in Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere): The outfits who take the political Islam ideology to its logical end. 'All means possible,' after all, is open to interpretation. Beware if your son is attracted to the ideals of political Islam. Though it is not necessarily a conveyor belt to violent jihadism, the Islamic State fantasy lies on the same route that leads to brutal mass crimes in Islam's name. I am of course assuming that you, Muslim Parent, are yourself not sold to the ideals of political Islam. If that be the case, what can I say?"

Source: The Week (India), September 21, 2014. The original English of the letter has been mildly edited for clarity and standardization.

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