In a thought-provoking judgement, the Kerala High Court this week observed that supporting the ideology of a banned organisation such as ISIS is different from waging a war against the nation in the Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid, accused in Kerala ISIS recruitment case.
ISIS is banned and designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations.
The brutality of the ISIS has been widely written about and even telecasted globally, especially the videos of beheading and other horrific executions.
ISIS has only one aim. Their aim is to establish the Islamic Caliphate in different countries in the world.
The Islamic Caliphate will be ruled by a Supreme religious leader – the Caliph, who is believed to be a successor of Prophet Mohammad.
In June 2014, ISIS published a document in which it claimed to have traced the lineage of its leader Al-Baghdadi back to Prophet Mohammad. And upon proclaiming a new caliphate on 29th June, the group appointed Al Baghdadi as its caliph.
ISIS has a strong media control for disseminating its information and an even more powerful social media presence.
ISIS will look to nation spreading its Islamic ideology if it has a considerable Muslim population, first.
India is a fertile ground because of its large Muslim population.
Therefore, it is not a surprise that in pockets of Muslim population in India, you see the flag or the emblem of ISIS rearing its ugly head.
In 2013, the first case of Indians being involved with ISIS activities came to light. Two childhood friends, who were born and brought up in Cuddalor, Tamil Nadu, Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali and Gul Muhamed Maraicar became a part of a plot to join ISIS and travel to Syria.
Usman Ali was an employee at a grocery store and Muhamed Maraicar was an IT professional in a MNC in Singapore.
Another, much written about ISIS case in India was of four young men Areeb Majid, Fahad Tanveer Shaikh, Aman Naeem Tandel and Shaheem Tanki, who left their homes in Kalyan, Maharashtra in 2014 and successfully made it to Syria to join ISIS.
Majid eventually surrendered and was brought back to India from Turkey, tried and jailed; the other three, though, Tandel, Shaikh and Tanki were reported killed over the period 2014 – 2017.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) have so far mapped ISIS-related 112 cases in India.
Out of the 112 cases, interestingly, 37 of the ISIS-related cases were in Kerala.
In 2016, some members of an Islamic State (IS) module arrested in Kerala revealed that they were planning to kill high court judges in the states and senior RSS leaders. They also said that they had prepared a list of the targets.
Last year in the month of March, a home-made low intensity bomb was used on a passenger train in Madhya Pradesh. This train was operating between Bhopal and Ujjain. Several people were injured in the attack.
In their arrests of the accused and subsequent interrogations, the investigative agency unravelled a connection to ISIS. Atif Muzaffar, Mohammad Danish, Ghous Mohammad Khan and Syed Mir Hussain and Saifullah were chargesheeted.
The men responsible for the dastardly attack were connected through social media platforms; Facebook being the most preferred choice.
Use of Facebook to communicate pro-ISIS agenda has been mapped across most cases of ISS-related cases in India.
ISIS is no longer about a group radical Muslims we have seen or read about wanting to take over the world or fight to establish a Caliphate.
The danger of ISIS in its ideology. It is in the conditioning of the mind of a young Muslim that ‘Jihad’ is the future and ‘ISIS’ is the way ahead.
More importantly ISIS today is a brand of terror.
Some disillusioned youth and adults in their intrinsic human need to be accepted and be of some importance, find their purpose to life in being associated with a global brand ISIS, even though it is associated with terror, just like any youth or adult would like to work for an MNC.
So to me when Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid is charged with raising funds for a designated terrorist organisation such as the ISIS, she may not be driving the car with the bomb, but she has certainly ensured that money is made available to the ISIS cell to finance both the bomb and the car.
In her mind she is already at war with India and therefore a threat to India.
Like her, anyone that harbours an ideology of ISIS is a potential threat to India.
While I respect the Kerala High court order, I certainly do not agree with it because it is an ideology that defines and drives the action of a person.