Countering radicalization: Bengaluru Imam, Kerala Jamaat to work against Islamic State

People were arrested purely based on their social media behaviour and no “direct link” has been found
Extremist groups
Extremist groups
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Thirty-eight–year-old Afsha Jabeen, a resident of Dubai was deported by UAE authorities in September 2015 for activities in support of the Islamic State using the fictitious name 'Nicole Joseph' and for claiming to be a British national.

In January 2015, US-based Hyderabadi, Salman Mohiuddin, who knew Jabeen (as Nicole Joseph) through social media and had helped her with online indoctrination and recruitment, was arrested in Hyderabad just as he was about to catch a flight to Dubai.

A man named Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who hailed from West Bengal but lived in Bengaluru, ran one of IS's most influential Twitter accounts- @shamiwitness for nearly three years before he was caught in 2014.

Many youths from Kerala, have also been deported from the UAE with alleged IS links, due to the UAE's 'zero tolerance policy' towards the extremist organization.

First, two men were sent back to India on August 29, followed by four Kerala youths who were also deported from the UAE and later released, as the police could not find any direct link.

Police have found many cases on social media where young people from across India, were behaving like they had been radicalized.

Speaking to TheNewsMinute, TP Senkumar, Director General of Police, Kerala said, “These people were arrested purely based on their social media behaviour and no “direct link” between them and radical groups could be found.”

Police, across India, are facing a dilemma in booking a person for such extremist views. On such occasions, police had to let go of them without charging them with any offence.

MN Reddi, former Bengaluru Police Commissioner said “What offence (do we book him under?) He was tweeting about something in another part of the world, which was not affecting us. So we opened the Indian Penal Code, (and discussed) Section 125.” Quoting from the IPC, Reddi said that Section 125 penalizes someone who attempts to wage war against an Asian power that is friendly with India.

The maximum that the police can do is counsel the person before letting them go and keep a tab on the released suspects.

It is at this juncture that the Imam of Bengaluru, Maulana Maqsood Imran had written to hundreds of mosques in the city to spread the message that Islam stands for peace and humanity and not intolerance and violence.

Speaking to The News Minute, he said, “We have been hearing news of many youths joining the extremist groups that indulge in violence in the name of Islam. They spread wrongful teachings of Quran and Hadith.”

In an effort to create awareness, two weeks ago a WhatsApp group with 150 maulanas across the city was created to spread the message of the peace-loving religion. They plan to conduct outreach programmes in mosques and colleges.

He said, “We want to assert that we are not supporting the ideologies of the extremist groups and anybody who joins them is not keeping with the values that the holy Quran teaches.”

Abdulla Koya Madani, state secretary of Nadavuthul Mujaihideen, an organisation in Kerala that conducts awareness programmes against the actions of Islamic State, told TheNewsMinute that the Islamic State is a conspiracy against Islam in every way.

“Our people will be addressing students and youths in colleges as they are the most vulnerable lot. They are easily influenced by social media where such extremist groups are active,” he added.

Koya Madani agrees that there is fear that overseas Malayalis who get carried away by extremist ideologies and come back to India, could influence people in districts that are densely populated with Muslim communities in Kerala like Malappuram, Kannur, Kozhikode and Payyanur.

Their awareness programme has been welcomed by not just Muslim communities but also non-Muslim communities. 

"Most young people here are educated. So we can counter strong campaigns on social media and they understand it. But Islamic organisations like ours across India should realise that this is the time to act," Koya Madani said. 

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