Let us be loud, let us not remain mute when we say the Islamists have radicalised South India
The problem of radicalisation has been in the making for long and has been ignored for as long. Back in 2015, an Intelligence report had spoken about how the Wahhabi spread had changed the course of the discourse in the southern states.
New Delhi, Nov 22: The blasts in Mangaluru and Coimbatore have put the focus back on radicalisation in Southern India. The problem of radicalisation is not a new one and this problem has been in the making for long and has been ignored for as long.
Back in 2015, a report of the Intelligence agencies had spoken about how the Wahhabi spread especially in Kerala had changed the course of the discourse in the state as well as the other southern states.
Let us rewind:
In 2014, violence broke out near a mosque in Bommanahalli in Bengaluru. A similar incident had taken place in Maharashtra as well. The clashes were over the attempts being made by the pro-Wahhabi lot to take over the administration of the mosque.
It all stems from the fact that the Sunnis are worried about the rise of Iran which is a Shia majority.
It was found in both these incidents that the Wahhabi scholars had bribed some members of the mosque and attempted taking over the administration. While in many states, the rise of Wahhabism has been kept under check, the problem, however, persisted in Kerala where these persons managed to gain a lot of traction.
The Wahhabi centres:
The Wahhabi scholars were successful in Kerala as they were able to set up a lot of their centres in the state. These persons are an extremely orthodox set of Muslims and they found traction as many Muslims were ready to subscribe to their thought.
An official, who has been closely following the issue, tells OneIndia that between the years 2011 and 2013, nearly 20,000 Wahhabi scholars came to India and conducted seminars across the country. With them, they got in nearly Rs 1,000 crore in several instalments and used it to propagate the Wahhabi style of Islam.
Why Kerala and South:
The Wahhabis were able to find instant success in Kerala, thanks to the large population seeking employment in the Gulf. This also let the Wahhabis take control of many mosques in the state. Moreover, the newer Mosques that have come up in Kerala resemble the ones in the Gulf nations and this is just one small indication of how much a large number of people were agreeable to following the Wahhabi style of Islam.
In addition to the mosques, they also managed to set up their own education system where the Wahhabi Rule Book was introduced. The rule book prescribes that every Muslim woman must wear a purdah, while men shall compulsorily sport beards. It says that men and women should not mingle together and none should weep loudly in funerals.
Further it also asks the Muslims to abide by the Sharia law. It bars watching television, listening to music or dancing. Further it also says that every man should wear trousers which are above their ankles.
Now one must read the Wahhabi rule book and revisit the case in which 21 persons from Kerala left the state to join the Islamic State in Afghanistan. At least four of the family members who spoke to the police said that they had started to witness a change in the behaviour of these persons.
One said that he had objected to his sister listening to music. Another said that the recruit had told the family members not to watch television. This itself indicates the kind of spread the Wahhabis have in these southern states. It is also always important to remind the people that the first known Islamic State recruit from India, Haja Fakhruddin is from Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore.
The many years of neglect:
Officials also explain that the many many years of neglect is what has led to the rise in this problem. When the agencies were reporting it, the politicians down South were not listening.
Officials also explain that such cases when they come to the fore should be treated dispassionately and the unwanted political interference is what has let this problem to linger on for long.
Further more, the agencies also are looking into the online radicalisation that has taken place. There is so much material out there for these persons such as Mohammad Shariq or Jameesha Mubin to go through and get radicalised.
During the investigations conducted, the agencies also found that it was not just the preachers who had added to this problem. They stumbled upon a blog called 'Muhajirun' which had for many years posted radical and pro-Islamic State content. This was being run by a set of youth from the Middle East and the probe revealed that the maximum readers of this blog were from South India.