Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
More than two thousand members of the radical Tablighi Jamaat attended its congregation from March 13-15 at Markaz in Nizamuddin area in the Indian capital New Delhi. During this congregation, leaders of Tablighi Jamaat had called upon the coronavirus infected members of the group to consider coronavirus as a blessing from Allah and use it as a weapon for spreading the virus amongst the ‘infidels’.
Intelligence agencies suspect some of those who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event had ISIS connections and that the open defiance of the lockdown was a result of the terror organization’s or other Islamic terror groups’ instructions to them to turn into virtual human bombs, which they could do even as carriers of coronavirus.
According to Indian authorities, more than three hundred members of the congregation have already been tested as coronavirus patients, while an unknown number are already out of the radar of the law enforcing agencies.
Meanwhile eight people, six in Telangana, one in Srinagar and one in Karnataka, who participated in a religious congregation died after testing positive of coronavirus. Positive cases of coronavirus, after attending the congregation, were also recorded in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
However, #Coronajihad started trending on Twitter soon after the death of patients who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. Twitter users said that the congregation was organized, flouting Delhi government’s orders against gatherings.
According to a Twitter user, Corona Jihad is “Infected Muslims want to go and spread Corona to Kafirs (Infidels) so they can die in hundreds of thousands. Their Idea: A few hundred Muslims will die, but they can make up for it by making more children. Use the Corona to kill more Kafirs”.
Unfortunately, a segment of the mainstream media in India is either unwilling of failing yet to understand the gravity of the threat posed by Tablighi Jamaat. Some of the Indian media even are making frantic bids in portraying Tablighi Jamaat as an innocent organization that counters jihad. What those Indian media pundits do not understand is, Tablighi Jamaat has been proved to have links with jihadist outfits in a number of countries.
Meanwhile, pro0jihadist news network such as Al Jazeera is making all-out efforts in proving the attendees of Tablighi Jamaat in India as innocent. Indian authorities also are trying to hide the coronajihad issue of the Tablighi Jamaat and are repeatedly claiming no community transmission yet in the country. But western media are already raising fingers at India.
Prominent British newspaper the Guardian in an opinion editorial said, “Doubt has been cast over India’s claim that it has no community transmission of coronavirus after the country reported its biggest daily rise in the number of cases so far, connected to a religious gathering held in Delhi two weeks ago.
“India reported a record increase of 386 cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number to 1,637, according to the country’s health ministry. The death toll is now 38.
“In another worrying development, the first coronavirus case was also confirmed in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum, which is India’s largest and is home to almost one million people living in close, unsanitary quarters. The 56-year-old man was taken to Sion hospital and eight of his family members placed into quarantine.
“Yet for a densely populated country of 1.3 billion people, the number of cases is still relatively low compared with Europe and the US, and believed to be linked to both low levels of testing and poor access to an already overstretched healthcare system with people not reporting their symptoms.
“India spends only about 1.3% of its GDP on public health, among the lowest in the world. Only 47,951 tests have been done so far and there are just 51 government-approved testing centers across the country.
“The jump in the number of cases was linked to an annual two-day convention of the Muslim sect Tablighi Jamaat on 13 March, for which about 3,500 people gathered from all over the country and abroad in the south Delhi neighborhood of Nizamuddin. Almost 2,000 stayed in the area for days afterwards, and the area has become the coronavirus hotspot of India.
The outbreak from the Nizamuddin mosque gathering also inflamed religious tensions in a city still reeling from communal riots last month that took 50 lives, with Hindu mobs rampaging through the streets attacking Muslims in their homes.
“Across Indian media and social networks, Muslims were blamed for spreading the virus while “Corona Jihad” began to trend on Twitter.
“The gathering also appeared to trigger a spread of the virus across numerous states from Kashmir to West Bengal by those who returned home afterward. So far, 10 people who attended the event have died while 1,800 people have been sent to nine hospitals and quarantine centers across the country.
“However, despite the jump in the number of cases this week, the Indian government insists there is still no community transmission and that cases have been either from those who traveled abroad or in localized incidents. Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in the health ministry, told reporters: “Nowhere have we said that there is a community transmission. We are still in local transmission in this country.”
Meanwhile, according to The Print, the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, terror organization Islamic State’s chat groups are abuzz with messages on how the outbreak has provided an opportunity to carry out attacks as countries have become “easy target”. The messages also urge Indian Muslims “to act”.
The primary missive that is being circulated on the chat groups that IS runs on various social media platforms is a clipping of a note published in the terror network’s magazine called Sawt al-Hind (Voice of Hind). It said, “Allah has made this disease a source of chaos amongst the nations of disbelief and their militaries and police have been deployed in their streets and alleys, thus making them an easy target”.
The note added that this opportunity should be utilized to carry out terror strikes. “Use this opportunity to strike them with a sword or a knife or even a rope is enough to stop their breath, fill the streets with blood,” it said.
One of the terror operatives who were allegedly involved in the publication of the magazine was a Kashmiri named Jahanjeb Sami. He was arrested by the Delhi Police last month, along with his wife.
This note is circulated through chat groups is a tactic to recruit people, said a source in the Indian intelligence, who highlighted the possibility of the Islamic State planning an attack.
“It is always a possibility that they are planning something, considering what happened in Kabul, and these signs cannot be taken lightly. But, this seems more like a tactic to recruit more youngsters,” the source said.
Another Sawt al-Hind note that is being circulated on these chat groups addresses Indian Muslims, asking them to act.
…what the Muslims of India have suffered is not hidden from anybody. How many from among the Muslims were brutally killed and how many of the masjids have been demolished. Now is the time to act,” it said.
The note also said that this disease is the punishment and “wrath of Allah up on the disbelievers” and they should make it worse for them.
“The ever-increasing rate of COVID 19 that we are witnessing is a torment for the disbelievers and has brought the glad tidings for the believers… O Muwahideen, prepare with whatever you have and rise up. And make it worse for the Kuffar (infidel),” it said.
“You must not forget how the disbelievers dealt with you brothers and sisters in Mosul, Baghuz, Kunar, burying them alive beneath the debris,” it added.
Tablighi Jamaat has committed a crime against humanity by asking its members to spread coronavirus amongst the non-Muslims. Possibly it is high time for the Indian authorities to immediately impose a ban on the activities of the radical group.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally known multi-award winning journalist and editor of Blitz.