Rajnath seeks Muslim leaders' help to check lure of IS, terrorism among Indians

Rajnath seeks Muslim leaders' help to check lure of IS, terrorism among Indians

To check growing attempts by ISIS to attract Indians, the government today reached out to prominent Muslim leaders seeking their help to counter designs of the dreaded group and also fight violence and cross-border terrorism.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval and senior Home Ministry officials apprised the Muslim leaders about activities of the Middle-East terrorist group and its efforts to attract Indian youth to its fold.

The Home Minister sought the cooperation of the clerics, who offered all help to the government in this regard, officials said. While the Muslim leaders offered all help to the government to counter terrorism, they raised the issue of alleged persecution of some Muslim youths in the name of terrorism.

The issues that were discussed included misuse of social media, sources of impetus that attract persons, specially youth, to ISIS, the growth of ISIS influence in India's neighbourhood and the best possible law enforcement response.

Condemning all kinds of violence in the name of religion, the delegation explained that Islam stands for peace and well-being of all and no one should be misguided or have an understanding contrary to this fact.

The Muslim leaders said they were against any sort of terrorist or violent activities including cross-border terrorism. Underlining the fact that Muslims were safe and enjoyed freedom in India, they said this kind of freedom and security is not available to the community even in Muslim-majority countries.

The delegation emphasised that Indian Muslim youths have not fallen prey to any propaganda in the name of Islam and expressed satisfaction on steps taken by the NDA government for creating an atmosphere of peace and security in the mind of the minority community, a Home Ministry statement said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, a prominent Shia cleric, Maulana Abdul Wahid Hussain Chisti, chief of Dargah Ajmer Sharief, Niaz Faruqui, General Secretary, Jamait-Ul-Hind, Maulana Iqbal Ahmed Chisti, General Secretary, Maulana Wamiq Rafiq Warsi Sahab, Head, Dargah Dewa Sharief, Janab Mohibulla Nadvi, Chief Imam, Parliament Masjid, Maulana Mohammad Alim Nadvi, Haryana Imams Organisation, Yamuna Nagar, and M J Khan, National Convener, Muslim Economic Forum.

Chief Imam, All India Imam Organisation, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi told reporters after the meeting that the government has asked them to address the issue and appeal to the youth through mosques to stay away from ISIS.

"This is part of a series of meetings to be held soon. We have raised various issues concerning Muslims, including radicalisation attempts by ISIS and persecution of Muslim youths by security agencies," he said.

Chairman of Confederation of Minorities Educational Institutions, Kamal Faruqui said the issue of youths getting attracted to ISIS was a serious concern. "Government has reached out to us and we appreciate it. We have also shared our concerns to the government," he said.

The need for appropriate welfare schemes for minorities, social media strategies to be followed, especially in the area of information technology, was also discussed threadbare.

In his remarks, the Home Minister said India's traditions and family values will overcome such nefarious designs of terrorist groups and that while the traction that ISIS has got in India is extremely limited, and almost insignificant in comparison to other countries, there is a need to keep up vigil on all fronts, and not let down the guard in any manner.

This was for the first time that the Home Minister had a meeting with Muslim clerics on the issue of ISIS. Last fortnight, the Home Minister had a meeting with top officials of central intelligence and investigative agencies and police of 13 states and discussed steps to check the growing influence of ISIS among youngsters through social media and other sources. Singh had reviewed the situation arising out of some Indian youths getting attracted towards ISIS on several occasions in the past and how to deal with the challenge.

The Home Minister had also said a large number of people and most Muslim organisations in India had come out against both ISIS and other forms of terrorism.

According to Indian intelligence agencies, a total of 23 Indians have so far joined the ISIS of whom six were reportedly killed in different incidents in Iraq-Syria.

Around 150 Indians are under surveillance for their alleged online links with ISIS. As many as 30 other Indians, who were radicalised by ISIS elements, were prevented from travelling to the conflict zone in the Middle-East.

Among those who are currently fighting for ISIS include two youths from Kalyan near Mumbai, an Australia-based Kashmiri, one youth from Telangana, one from Karnataka, one Oman-based Indian and another Singapore-based Indian. Several Indians, who were trying to recruit youths into ISIS, were deported from friendly countries, including the UAE, recently.

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