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A couple from IS Module in India

Islamic Caliphate: A distant dream too Innocuous?

On 8 March, a special cell of Delhi Police arrested a couple on Sunday with alleged links to a module of the Islamic State (IS). Identified as Jahanazaib Sami and his wife Hinda Bashir Beigh, the two were taken into custody from Okhla area of the national capital. Initial inputs suggest that they have links to the Islamic State’s Wilayat Khorasan also known as the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP).

The police have reason to believe that Jahanazaib and Hinda were planning ‘lone-wolf’ attacks in Delhi.

A preliminary probe into the couple’s activities has further revealed an intent to increase participation in anti-CAA/NRC demonstrations.

Further, the husband and wife were in touch with senior ISKP members in Afghanistan and the aim of these individuals was to exploit the ongoing agitation against the amended citizenship law in order to incite young Muslim men and women to carry out terror strikes.

Islamic State’s Jihadi Journey

Despite major defeats against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in 2018, at least 120 other violent Islamist groups are still inspiring and orchestrating attacks around the world. The sheer volume of extremist incidents means brainwashing elements are fully engaged in the battle of ideas and spreading extremists’ totalitarian thinking, and are bound together by a transnational religious-political ideology.

As many as 64 of the world’s extremist groups are active outside the world’s major conflict zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Beyond the major conflicts, groups operating in Egypt, Mali, Nigeria, and Pakistan make these countries among the world’s ten deadliest for violent Islamist extremism and nodal areas for exporting radical Islam ideology.

Groundwork of this self-inflicted wound, in the region, was laid by Zia-ul-Haq in the seventies, and further catalyst proved the Soviet resistance, all orchestrated by Pakistan Army in nexus with the wahabi Mullah hardline and non accomodative fabric which existed in last two hundred years of Mughal ruler’s decline. The Islamic movements have grown rapidly in countries where Anti-Americans and Anti Russians have been portrayed as Jihadis. In Egypt, Algeria, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Cremia and parts of West Asia, they have found mass support. What links this movement is religious affinity and anti-Zion anti-Christian, regardless of geographic, historic or cultural diversities. The curious fact that western economic infrastructure has brought them prosperity is being used by the elites of the region, to portray them as being abused economically and do not deter them from attacking it.

If that context of economic abuse does not exist, like in case of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, plain lies and mis-quoting the Holy Koran is as easy as it gets. Centuries before, Ghazwa-e-Hind, which allegedly proclaims divine direction to convert the Indian subcontinent to Islam, was a clever ruse to lure hordes to attack India (and Pakistan regions) for pure economic reasons and reason was simple plunder.

The plundered are now glorifying the same, in the name of Islam, is another irony.

Bigger paradox is despite variation in the local conditions, the pan-Islamist movement first attracted people from the rural background; later the urban destitute and low income strata also joined the Islamic movement; together, they support the basic infrastructure for the global Islamic movement that represents its awesome self-destructive power. Al-Qaeda, Taliban and the ISKP in Afghanistan- Pakistan region, ISIS(Islamic State) in Syria and SIMI in India are the manifestation of this phenomenon.

Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP)

Owned by ISI-Pakistan Army

A string of bombings on Indian Consulates and many thwarted by the Afghan security forces, in 2015-17 were attributed to the ISKP. American intelligence blamed Pakistan’s ISI of forging a partnership between LeT and Islamic State to carry out car bomb suicide attacks on Indian missions in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State in Khorasan Province known as ISKP, the group’s Afghanistan arm, is active in the Af-Pak region and is said to have recruited some Indians. The ISI has given LeT the responsibility to partner with the IS to plot the attacks.

Its well known ISKP is led by a core of former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commanders from Orakzai and Khyber Agencies of Pakistan; the majority of mid-level commanders are former Taliban from Nangarhar, with the rank and file a mixture of local Afghans, Pakistanis.

ISKP though fundamentally targeting Taliban, has recently been brought to peace with their nemesis, guess courtesy by whom.

The recent guest treatment in last couple of years of TTP’s(aka ISKP’s) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, and his alleged release/escape, just at the brink of US-Taliban peace deal, all this points the finger in one direction and the bigger game plan of Pakistan Army and its ISI.

By beginning of 2019, ISKP has been portrayed as defeated, part of a grand show designed by ISI, by getting US led coalition forces thinking they are being assisted by the Taliban to fight off ISKP.

Pakistan Army and Mullah combine assists the ISKP to continue to resolve and evolve. The group, at behest of ISI, exercises an expansionist strategy that capitalizes on weak governance, under-addressed grievances, and poor security to establish redoubts across not only Afghanistan but the region. It has exacerbated territorial and ethnic flashpoints in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Tajikistan to indigenize its agenda among marginalized Muslims and secular populations.

The potency can be fathomed by efficacy of Rohingya crisis, which was catapulted by Pakistan using the tentacles of ISKP. It also capitalizes on social media and secure messaging applications to inspire, enable, and direct attacks abroad. In October 2017, for example, the U.S. Justice Department arrested three ISKP operatives who were in the final throes of executing attacks in New York.

Similar is the reach in India where a fertile ground is already laid, using the independent and unregulated madrassa culture and a socially debilitated Muslim worker class. This is especially alarming as this is a symphony put into effect by the ISI.

What more can be near to truth than the fact that the current emir of ISKP, Mawlawi Aslam Farooqi, is an ex-militant commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) the terrorist organization active in Kashmir, while previous emirs were recruited from TTP and other Afghan Taliban groups.

Radical Islam and Tentacles in India

The convergence of the embarrassing Defeat in 1971 war, Iranian revolution, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the CIA-ISI nexus to create a band of militant Islamists, the Islamisation program of the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq and the unremitting flow of external funding for ideology-based religious education, mainly from Saudi Arabia, have accelerated the radicalization process which Pakistan took to in the Seventies.

The end of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan “removed the cause Celebre,” but by then the Pakistani political system “had become hostage to this Euphoria of being able to effect”. Like a rat which has tasted poison, it manifested itself in two ways: Usefulness to create a diversion for dissatisfied population (to consequence corruption unattended) as well to indoctrinate the population across- insurgency in Kashmir and communal overtones in balance of India.

By year 1995, the Saudi’s diverted funds had resulted in 15 times more inflow of unaccounted funding as well as mushrooming madrassas which had explicit jihadi curriculum. This has been verified and substantiated from recovered materials from SIMI, SFI, and madrassas. The southern state of Kerala has been found to have the highest number of pro-IS cases in all of India, with about 110 of the 380 to 400 cases.

PFI was accused of being involved in hawala funding, assaults, and had allegations of having links with the Islamic State, its activists joining ISIS in Syria and naming motivations by PFI, other than rampant radicalization.

Saudi Arabia’s de-radicalization programme was mostly targeted theologically and came into play around the 2005-2006 period in the post-9/11 era, working on the view that extremist views are due to the mistaken interpretation of Islam. The programme consists of religious re-education, psychological counselling, and reintegration process with the help of local communities after release from prison.

More than 3,000 people in Kerala are known to have gone through the de-radicalization programmes successfully, via the 21 centres established across the state for this purpose. However that was primarily aimed to Kerala, where the wahabi Islam was in full flow, tipping point being the rise of ISIS. Post 2015, the same has been rampant in balance of India, however unchecked.

Viewpoint

Zia’s effort to wean away Pakistan from an Indian sub-continent identity to a Middle east identity (Pakistan’s National anthem is in Arabic), is now being tried in India, using the network of Madrassas guided by the web based network of ISI-ISKP. This web based network propaganda is capable enough to brainwash even the educated cosmopolitan, however temporarily economically debilitated Muslim.

Or else it is prone to be misused by few who want to attain power at the expense of social fabric or India, to play into hands of Pakistan Army and ISI.

10 Mar 20/Tuesday                                                                     Written By: Fayaz

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