Thiruvananthapuram, July 16: IUML legislator K.M. Shaji said he has reported 10 cases of threats that were made to him for the strongly progressive stand he has been taking against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Kerala.
"There are 10 cases that I myself have given on the threats that I have received. I have even given the telephone numbers from which the calls have come, but surprisingly no action has been forthcoming. Does this not show that they do have influence?" Shaji, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator, told IANS.
He suggested that the Islamic fundamentalists command "the money power" which they have been using to publish and circulate a huge amount of objectionable literature in Kerala.
"You would not believe the amount of literature that is being circulated in the state and the police should conduct a raid," said Shaji, who is one of the 18 IUML legislators in the Kerala assembly.
The IUML has long been a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which lost power in the state to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) earlier this year.
Shaji said "a strong intervention" of the state government and the Centre is required if there is any truth in media reports that 21 people from Kerala have joined Islamic State (IS), which is a UN-designated terrorist group headquartered in Syria.
"The first move to tackle this has to come from the Kerala government, but it remains to be seen if they will do it in the way it should be done, as to some extent there is a vote bank politics in it and they are taking on a section that has the money power with them," he said.
Shaji's colleague in IUML and the assembly, C. Mammootty, told IANS that it is for the people who have reportedly joined the IS to explain what they are up to.
"The creed of Islam is spread through the mind and not through the tongue. We can discuss on why they left, but the answer has to be given by them," said Mammootty, who identifies himself as a devout Muslim.
He said a "true Muslim" will never ever indulge in terrorist or extremist activities and will never join the IS.
"What is probably happening is vested interests are behind this and religion is being used as a tool," said Mammootty, adding the message of Prophet Mohammed has to be spread and never forced upon.
"What the IS is doing is anti-Islam and forced conversion will never help," said Mammootty.
Shaji also said that the IUML is bringing together a number of organisations to discuss the issue of radicalisation of Muslim youths in Kerala and the appeal that the IS holds for them.
"This is being done to first form a common platform to find out views of all and then to discuss on why these things are happening here," he said.
He said he organised a similar exercise about a decade ago when he was president of the Muslim Youth League, a wing of the IUML.
A number of organisations dominated by the Muslims have been invited by the IUML for the proposed meeting which is expected to take place as soon as the ongoing Kerala assembly session ends.
They include Indian National League, People's Democratic Party (led by Abdul Nasser Madani), Welfare Party of India, National Secular Conference, Social Democratic Party of India (led by A. Saeed), and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly on July 11 that 21 Muslim youths from the state had gone missing "over the last one month" and that "the state government is committed to take stern action against any kind of terror activities."
Muslims account for 26.56 per cent of Kerala's population and are perceived to be well placed both economically and politically.