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Salafism and radicalisation: How slain Kerala ISIS chief Abdullah led the way

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New Delhi, June 05: There were reports that the head of the Kerala module of the Islamic State was reportedly killed in Afghanistan. While the Indian agencies are yet to confirm the information, an official said that if it is true, then it is a major relief.

Rashid Abdullah as recently as two months back was in touch with several operatives in Kerala, who later on told the National Investigation Agency that they were planning an attack similar to the ones that took place in Sri Lanka.

Salafism and radicalisation: How slain Kerala ISIS chief Abdullah led the way

Abdullah has been a menace for the agencies and was the driving force that inspired several persons to join the ISIS Khorasan in Afghanistan. A highly radicalised person, the last audio clip that he had sent out on Telegram stated that in the next ten years a majority of Muslims from Kerala would migrate and join the ISIS.

However the more important message, he had sent out was about the Samaj Salafi, a radical Islamic group who are opposed to democracy.

He further went on to add that the Dammaj Salafis in Kerala are in touch with the ISIS and are attempting to get many to migrate or Hijra to ISIS controlled areas. He went on to say that had there been no salafism in Kerala, the state would have continued with the un-Islamic practices of the Sunnis and Sufis.

He says that the Salafi group led by one Zakkariya Swalahi is closest to the ideology of the Islamic State. Most of the Keralalites who have joined the ISIS are associated with this group. He also says that they had attended classes of the group that were held in Kannur, Kozhikode and Pappinasseri.

Kerala ISIS module head killed in Afghanistan

Dammaj is a small town in Yemen and the place made it to the news after the youth from Kerala joined the ISIS. After getting attracted to spiritual teachings being taught in Dammaj many have been going there to lead a spiritual life.

At the Attikad village near the Neelambur forests in Kerala there are around 150 people who subscribe to the Dammaj Salafi Sect living in seclusion. Back in 2016, the Intelligence Bureau had said that they were looking for a link between this sect and the disappearance of the 21 youth, who finally ended up joining the Islamic State.

The widespread of the jihadi ideology is evident from the fact of how the Saudis have infested the Wahhabi preachers in Kerala in a bid to stop the rise of the Shia Muslims. The Al-Qaeda inclined Base Movement, which carried out the blasts in several courts across South India has its roots in Kerala.

The birth of the Indian Mujahideen, one of the deadliest home grown terror outfits took place in Kerala, following a famous meeting called as the Wagamon camp meet. Lastly and more recently, over 20 Indians who joined the ISIS Khorasan in Afghanistan are all from Kerala.

Stanley Johny's new book, 'The ISIS Caliphate From Syria to the Doorsteps of India,' very aptly says that one of the most affected states by this ISIS influence was India's most socially advanced one. He also wrote that an investigation into the disappearance and subsequent arrests showed how ISIS's online propaganda is radicalising Muslim youth in the state, where Salafism has strong roots.

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