Kerala's religious intolerance: Cocktail of Wahhabism and misinterpreted online Islam

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Bengaluru, Oct 19: A few months back at a school in Mallapuram, a few students approached their headmaster and sought for a change of their Biology teacher. Their contention was that they did not want to take lessons from a woman.

In another incident, a 14-year-old boy returned home and told his parents that since he did not want to mix with other faiths, he would not go to school.These incidents have stunned many and it has been found that these students have developed such views after reading websites that propagate extremist ideologies.

Rising religious intolerance in Kerala

The rise of the Salafi influence in Kerala is going out of hand and this has prompted several Muslim organisations to come forward and find a cure.

The influence from Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi preachings has done more harm than good to a large section of the youth in the state.

The recent ISIS related cases busted in Kerala have only added to the problems. A batch of nearly 20 people including women, have gone missing and police say that they are all in Afghanistan with a module of the ISIS.

Recently the NIA too busted a major module of the ISIS. It was learnt that members of this module were planning on carrying out knife attacks on moderates.

Also read: Kerala, ISIS and the Gulf: The connection is back again

The rise of intolerance

Parents have been complaining that their children tell them to stop watching television. Many youth are becoming aggressive and pick up fights with their sisters for their dressing sense. The police and the intelligence bureau say that the youth are being influenced by a mix of Wahhabism and Online Islam.

These websites give out all the wrong ideas to the youth and in turn they have become extremely aggressive. They have started believing that Islam preached online is the way of life.

Moderate Muslims have shunned this concept of online Islam and say that the interpretation of the Quran on these websites is wrong.

The police say that there are several such cases. "Parents must report such incidents early. If they do not want to come to the police they must approach the elders," an officer notes.

However, parents have been slow in reporting such incidents as they fear ostracism. Some parents also feel that they are likely to be harassed by the agencies. Intelligence Bureau officials in Kerala say that parents must report such matters so that at an early stage their children can be counselled and reformed. "Delaying matters will only worsen it," the IB officer notes.

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