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Systematic recruitment of jihadists inside Tablighi Jamaat and Indian madrassas

Tablighi Jamaat, Bangladesh, India, Jamaat-e-Islami, Hefazat-e-Islam, Ansar Al Islam, Iztema, Afghanistan, Pakistan

Counterterrorism

Systematic recruitment of jihadists inside Tablighi Jamaat and Indian madrassas

While Assam government in India has shut down around 700 madrassas during the past several years, Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in New Delhi has already emerged into a major jihadist recruitment hub with hundreds of members of this dangerous organization taking oath of waging jihad against Hindus and Bharat (India). The ban on madrassas in Assam has led to a massive uproar in the pseudo Islamist coterie claimed as “secularists”. Assam’s chief minister is anything but apologetic about having closed these madrassas. While many claims that this is an attack on the country’s secular fabric, the justification on why a secular government must fund religious studies of a particular faith system remains obscure.

It may be mentioned here that, Saudi Arabia, which is recognized as the leader of the Muslim nations has banned activities of Tablighi Jamaat. Despite such bold actions by a Muslim nation, policymakers in several non-Muslim nations including Bharat (India) are feeling shy or showing reluctance in banning Tablighi Jamaat. Bangladesh, a country that allows Tablighi Jamaat in holding annual iztema (congregation) which is attended by millions of Tablighi followers from around the world too is reluctant in banning this antechamber of jihadism and radical Islamic terror, despite the fact of Jamaat-e-Islami, Hefazat-e-Islam, Ansar Al Islam, Al Qaeda, Islamic State and Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) using this organization as the most convenient vessel of spreading terrorism. According to credible sources, speakers during the Tablighi Jamaat congregations are regularly giving instigation to the members for waging jihad against ruling Awami League government in Bangladesh, secularist forces as well as “agents of India”.

While some people try to defend madrassas and Tablighi Jamaat stating these are innocent entities, there are innumerable incidents that demonstrate that madrasas often propagate the jihad ideology; their indoctrinated pupils frequently graduate to become recruits of various jihadist outfits. Despite abundant evidence of jihad preaching and recruitment within the four walls of numerous madrasas, India for a considerable period wrongly treated these Koranic schools as harmless educational units.

In my opinion, especially after the fall of Afghanistan into the grips of Taliban jihadists and Pakistan-patronized terrorists, madrassas in onwards become key recruitment and breeding grounds of radical Islam, religious hatred and jihad.

It may be mentioned here that, in India, the most “literate” state of Kerala has sent the maximum number of recruits to the Islamic State, and it is not unjustified to link these numbers to the madrassas active in the state.

A 2018 India Today investigative report found that “several madrasas in Kerala are teaching the theo-fascist variety of Islam” and Wahhabism. Funded by Afro-Arab nations, especially the Gulf countries, madrassas have been indoctrinating impressionable minds to establish a worldwide caliphate by continuing global jihad.

In 2019, Indian broadcast network NDTV published a detailed report on the jihad recruitment going on in West Bengal madrassas, highlighting how Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) used some madrassas in the Burdwan and Murshidabad districts for recruitment of young men to jihadist terror activities.

In 2020, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in India revealed that an Al-Qaeda cadre had planned to run a jihadist training camp under the façade of operating a madrassa in West Bengal, and had already raised funds for the purpose.

But even before this revelation, an extensive Firstpost piece brought to the fore the fact that although Indian madrasas have not been as involved in jihad terrorism as their counterparts in the neighboring Islamic nations, their jihad recruitment was indeed very real. By teaching that women are inferior beings and non-Muslims are kafirs (infidels) they initiate their students into fanatical thinking.

In a 2017 article, Indiafacts quoted retired IPS officer Ram Ohri: “According to a conservative estimate during the last two decades Saudi Arabia alone has rolled out nearly 90 billion dollars for the propagation of Wahhabi Islam through the establishment of thousands of mosques and madrasas. On a rough count, more than 25 per cent of the 90 billion petro-dollars are believed to have been pumped into India, Nepal and Bangladesh [and Sri Lanka] for establishing more madrasas. Additionally, huge sums were transferred from other Muslim nations, including Pakistan, to establish lakhs of madrasas in India and other countries of South Asia to step up the campaign of global jihad”.

Back in 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir authorities booked three teachers of a Siraj-ul-Uloom at Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district; according to police sources, 13 students of the madrassa had joined various terror outfits, and one of its alumni, Sajad Bhat, turned out to be the jihad suicide bomber who carried out the 2019 Pulwama attack, killing 40 India CRPF personnel.

After a high-intensity explosion took down an entire building of a madrassa in Banka, Bihar in 2020, Hari Bhushan Thakur, a local politician, stated:

“Madrasas are meant to provide the education of terrorism in Bihar. Hence, we have demanded a ban on such institutions in Bihar.” While Thakur received a major backlash for his statement, one is left wondering how this mass of explosives made its way into an educational institution.

Despite the evident history of jihad recruitment in various madrassas, the enormous concessions made by preceding Indian governments towards these Islamic schools are astounding.

The government has been spending exclusively on the Muslim community through the funds allocated to Minority Affairs Ministry. These government funds were also supporting madrassas that were potential jihad recruitment units, and that promoted anti-Hindu sentiments.

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Minister of State, Raghuraj Singh, called the madrassas “hideouts of terrorists, where they are trained”, and claimed that if given a chance, he would shut down all the madrasas in the country. Of course, he angered the secularists by his statement, but one can’t deny the need to mainstream education and eliminate the ghettoization of a community through religion-based schools promoting religious fanaticism. After all what business do institutions touting the jihad ideology have in secular countries — whether they be India or any democracy in the West?

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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