An audio clip, purportedly made by Abdul Rashid, refutes the claims of Peace school founder MM Akbar that his school did not endorse extremist ideologies.

Voice note by ISIS terrorist declares Peace School in Kerala has their supporters
news Terrorism Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 18:41

A voice note, allegedly made by Kasargode man Abdul Rashid Abdulla who is believed to be the kingpin behind recruiting Keralites to the Islamic terror outfit ISIS, has claimed that many staffers in Kerala's Peace International school were ISIS supporters.  

"Write this down, in the next ten years, majority of the people who will do hegira (migration) and come here will be associated with Peace School,” the audio clip said. According to NIA sources, the clip was sent by Rashid on a Telegram group used by the terror outfit to radicalise people in Kerala. Rashid is currently believed to be in Afghanistan.

Implicating MM Akbar, the founder of Peace International School who recently claimed neither he nor his school had anything to do with ISIS, the audio clip said, “Although the school management is making teachers lie that they are not teaching terrorism, what they are teaching is Salafism. May be they are not teaching terrorism directly. By Salafism, I mean learning Islam from its source.”

The audio clip was aimed at convincing listeners that ‘puritan Islam’ stands for what ISIS believes in.

“In Kerala, although Salafi organisations are not teaching jihad and hegira, in the process, unknowingly they are asking the students to learn Quran from its source… puritan Islam. In that process, ultimately, what will happen? The same that happened to me. When I learnt it from its source, I understood the reality. All the people who have joined ISIS have understood that reality," the voice note, purportedly made by Rashid, said.

Rashid's audio message, reported by TOI, is seen as a rebuttal to an interview given by MM Akbar, Managing Director of Peace International School, to Malayalam channel Reporter TV. The episode was aired in the second week of March.

The Peace International School chain in Kerala has been in the eye of a storm after it came to light that many of the 21 people from the state who joined ISIS in 2016, had worked as staffers in different branches of the school. This list included Abdul Rashid himself.   

Last year, the school in Ernakulam came under the scanner after objectionable and communally inflammatory content was found in their syllabus.

Subsequently, its founder and preacher MM Akbar was arrested by the police.

Weeks after Akbar was released on bail, in the Reporter TV interview, he attempted to absolve Peace School of allegations that the institution had, in effect, worked as a launchpad for ISIS recruitment. Akbar said in the interview, that although four among the 21 missing people were connected to the institution in some way, the school never endorsed extremist ideologies.

"All the four of them joined ISIS after resigning from our school. Then how is the school responsible if they joined the outfit?" Akbar had claimed in the interview.

In the 56th audio message shared on a Telegram group, Abdul Rashid, who is believed to be in the Khorosan province in Afghanistan, refuted Akbar's statements.

Rashid said that Akbar had lied about the number of people connected to Peace school who had joined ISIS.

"The ones he did not mention include Shihaz. He was Peace Foundation's supply manager. He was a prime member of the foundation. Why didn't Akbar talk about Shias? Shias and his family were with us till recently, but they have become martyrs. Another is Yahiya. Akbar spoke about Merin, who converted to Islam and attended an interview at the school. But he kept mum about Merin's husband Yahiya, who also worked at the school in Ernakulam, Kollam and Mathilakam," Rashid said in the audio clip.

Adding that Yahiya had taken classes for students in various branches of the school, the audio clip said, "Akbar said that we left the school because we did not get a favourable environment to build a network, that is not true. In fact there are so many people in the foundation, many teachers and parents, who are ISIS supporters."

Rashid has been circulating several voice notes through the Telegram group meant for Keralites, in which he urges believers to join the outfit.