Re­cruit­ment war between ISIS and al Qaeda heats up

Af­ter Syria and Afghanistan, global ter­ror groups set their sights on B'desh and In­dia

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Sh­weta De­sai

New Delhi: The bloody ri­valry between al Qaeda and Is­lamic State that took roots in the on­go­ing con­flict in Syria, now seems to be spilling over in South Asia. The In­dian sub con­ti­nent is emerg­ing as a new turf for the global ter­ror­ist groups to re­cruit and draw bat­tle- lines. To at­tract re­cruits from In­dia – which has the world's sec­ond largest fol­low­ers of Is­lam but have stayed averse to the vi­o­lent ji­had – al Qaeda and Is­lamic State group have re­leased pro­pa­ganda videos re­veal­ing In­dia's glo­ri­ous Is­lamic past when the coun­try was ruled un­der Sharia law and chid­ing the com­mu­nity for not join­ing the holy war against the tagh­outs ( idol­a­tors).

This week the al Qaeda in In­dian Sub­con­ti­nent ( AQIS), headed by Maulana Asim Umar, re­leased the English sub­ti­tled ver­sion of ' Shariah or Democ­racy’ video while the IS re­leased ' Bi­lad al Hind, between hope and pain', on Tele­gram, di­rectly ad­dress­ing the In­dian Mus­lim com­mu­nity, in­cit­ing them to re­volt against their life un­der demo­cratic gov­er­nance and cow wor­ship­ping Hin­dus and fol­low the path of Shariah.

Blam­ing the Bri­tish cru­saders for de­stroy­ing and elim­i­nat­ing the Is­lamic sys­tem that flour­ished in In­dia un­der the Mughal rule and the on­set of democ­racy which fur­ther sup­pressed the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, AQIS chief Umar re­bukes the In­dian Mus­lims for co- habit­ing and liv­ing un­der a man- made sys­tem as against Shariah- based reli­gious laws. “It is a won­der that 65 years af­ter the Bri­tish left, some peo­ple still ad­here to their sin­is­ter sys­tem ( man- made democ­racy) and de­clare it manda­tory for our progress and stare in sur­prise to those who want to re­store the Is­lamic sys­tem,” Iron­i­cally, Umar, iden­ti­fied as Sanaullah Khan, who left his vil­lage in Samb­hal, Ut­tar Pradesh as a teenager and later joined al Qaeda in Pak­istan- Afghanistan, be­longs to a fam­ily whose an­ces­tors strived in In­dia’s free­dom strug­gle and con­demn ji­had in the name of re­li­gion.

The AQIS, es­tab­lished in Septem­ber 2014, shortly af­ter IS de­clared a Caliphate on its cap­tured ter­ri­tory in Syria and Iraq in July, fo­cus­ing its op­er­a­tions in In­dia, Pak­istan, Bangladesh and Burma. The to­tal strength of the group is not known, but it has pres­ence of hand­ful of In­di­ans par­tic­u­larly from Umar’s na­tive town of UP, who went to fight ji­had in Afghanistan. The group’s lead­er­ship is be­lieved to be based in the North Waziris­tan area of the Af- Pak re­gion. Although AQIS has not made any at­tacks, the Delhi Spe­cial Cell last year claimed to have busted a mod­ule of five mem­bers in­clud­ing the al­leged In­dia head, who were trained and planned to con­ducts blasts.

The IS group on the other hand, has lured over a dozen young men from In­dia in its group who are at­tracted to the ide­ol­ogy of the Caliphate and re­turn­ing back to the ba­sics of Is­lam. In its video, the group in­vokes the­ol­ogy to cast In­dia as a land of Shirk ruled by poly­the­ists and idol­a­tors in com­plete dis­dain of tawheed, the con­cept of one­ness of Al­lah fol­lowed by Mus­lims. It cas­ti­gates Mus­lims in In­dia for de­vi­at­ing from the fun­da­men­tal teach­ings of Is­lam and adapt­ing prac­tices of the mushkireen ( dis­be­liev­ers). “Those Mus­lims who are re­frain­ing from ji­had and are run­ning af­ter the petty glory of small world should see the agenda of the kufr, how they are bent on elim­i­nat­ing Mus­lims,” the nar­ra­tors say in Ara­bic, with im­ages of ri­ots and dead bod­ies loom­ing in the back­ground, in the IS video.

Both the groups at­tempt to put the sec­tar­ian ten­sions between the Mus­lim com­mu­nity and ma­jor­ity Hindu into the con­text of global ji­had, equat­ing the demo- lition of Babri Masjid, ri­ots in Gu­jarat, As­sam, Muzaf­far­na­gar and the con­flict in Kash­mir, as slaugh­ter­ing of the ' Is­lamic iden­tity'. The IS makes use of its In­dian fight­ers who un­able to en­dure the in­jus­tice, trav­elled to Syria un­der the Caliphate rule and have now vowed to avenge.

“Oh broth­ers and sis­ters, they ( Hin­dus) have be­come the rulers of your life, they can kill you when­ever they want, for any rea­son, like some­times for slaugh­ter­ing a cow. Our moth­ers and sis­ters are not safe, nor our busi­nesses. Hin­dus are force­fully try­ing to con­vert Mus­lims, but the worst is that our re­li­gion is be­ing mocked at,’’ ad­dresses the masked ji­hadi, Ah­mad Farouq al- Hindi with an ev­i­dent stut­ter in Urdu to his In­dian Mus­lim brethren. `` Is there still a space for any more hu­mil­i­a­tion and dis­grace. Are you still not able to gen­er­ate the spirit of avenge and ji­had within you ?,’’

The IS also tar­gets the Mus­lim clergy in In­dia for hob­nob­bing with the idol­a­tory com­mu­ni­ties and dis­suad­ing Mus­lims away from the hon­est faith while con­fus­ing them with ideas of patriotism while declar­ing the holy ji­had as haraam. "You con­tinue to re­main pas­sive and re­frain from Ji­had in which lies your suc­cess and which is fard ( manda­tory),’’ co­erces the nar­ra­tor in Ara­bic in the new IS video. The sub- con­ti­nent with a large num­ber of fol­low­ers of Is­lam is an at­trac­tive base for ji­hadi groups to dis­charge rad­i­cal pro­pa­ganda, in­cit­ing them to fight for the glory of Is­lam and their iden­tity.

In­dian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies as well be­lieve that the pro­pa­ganda of al Qaeda and IS group is de­voured on so­cial me­dia plat­forms by ig­no­rant youth, but the num­ber of those try­ing to ac­tu­ally join­ing the groups is lim­ited. "To­day we carry GPS de­vices, satel­lite phones, light­weight modems, lap­tops, pow­er­ful/ bi­fo­cal head­lamps, ul­tra light ice axes, etc"

Thanks to easy- to- carry and cut­ting- edge GPS de­vices, the world has been keep­ing track of ev­ery step taken by Ar­jun Va­j­pai, the sole In­dian at­tempt­ing the 8000m+ Mount Makalu this year, since the time he be­gan the jour­ney on foot from the town of Tum­ling­tar in Nepal on April 13.

Around five hours af­ter leav­ing the Ad­vanced Base Camp, he reached Camp 2 at 3: 30pm and was also able to What­sApp his man­ag­ing team in New Delhi news of the safe ar­rival of the Makalu 2016 Ex­pe­di­tion at Camp 2 at 21,653.54 ft. This, de­spite the Makalu re­gion fac­ing very strong winds of up to 50km/ h and also reg­u­lar snow­fall.

The telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and live track­ing gad­gets that Va­j­pai and other mod­ern moun­taineers are armed with to­day are a far cry from the al­time­ter that was found on the in­jury- rid­den body of pi­o­neer­ing English moun­taineer Ge­orge Mal­lory on Mount Ever­est in 1999 — 75 years af­ter he went miss­ing with his part­ner An­drew ‘ Sandy’ Irvine on the North- East ridge.

The find, by North- Face moun­taineer­ing team leader Amer­i­can climber Con­rad Anker, also later re­vealed a dys­func­tional al­time­ter found on Mal­lory’s in­jured but well- pre­served body at 26,755.25 ft. That is roughly a lit­tle over 2,273 ft away from the top of Mt Ever­est.

So, due to this tech­no­log­i­cal anom­aly, a decades- long de­bate con­tin­ues about whether Mal­lory and Irvine were the first to sum­mit Ever­est that day on June 9, prior to Ed­mund Hil­lary and Ten­z­ing Nor­gay, and met with ac­ci­dents on the way back or not. But mean­while, mod­ern moun­taineers are able to load videos, pho­tos and live stream their jour­ney.

“To­day we carry GPS de­vices, satel­lite phones, light­weight modems, lap­tops, pow­er­ful/ bi­fo­cal head­lamps, ul­tra light ice axes, gale- with­stand­ing pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, sleep­ing bags with body heat map­ping tech­nol­ogy and com­pact oxy­gen cylin­ders,” lists Va­j­pai, who climbed the Ever­est at age 16 in 2010.

Tech ad­vance­ments in the past 75 years have also in­creased safety, im­proved rescue op­er­a­tions, and pro­vided fast au­dio and video com­mu­ni­ca­tions. This has led to a rise in the num­ber of moun­taineers and ‘ tourist climbers’ to Nepal and the world over. 22- year- old Ar­jun Va­j­pai is the

third youngest In­dian to sum­mit Mount Ever­est and

holds the world record as youngest sum­mi­teer on Mount Lhotse and Mount Manaslu, the fourth and eighth

high­est peaks.

Sh­weta. de­sai@ zee­me­dia. es­sel­group. com

Grabs from the Is­lamic State and al Qaeda videos

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