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India needs to outlaw Tablighi Jamaat forthwith

Tablighi Jamaat, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, ISIS, ISIS-K, Islamic State-Khorasan Province, Voice of Hind, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Ghazwa-e-Hind, Ghazwa e Hind, ISI

Oped

India needs to outlaw Tablighi Jamaat forthwith

With the disturbing media report of Islamic State (ISIS) calling upon youths to launch jihadist attacks on Christians and “non-Muslims” during the Christmas and the same global terrorist outfit openly calling for destruction of idols of Hindu deities in India, it is essential for the Indian authorities to immediately launch extended intelligence surveillance and actions on jihadist operatives in the country while outlaw Tablighi Jamaat, which is being used as a convenient vessel of jihadist recruitment by a number of radical Islamic militancy groups such as Al Qaeda, Islamic State etcetera. It may be mentioned here that, Tablighi Jamaat has been branded as wolf in sheep’s clothing by most of the counterterrorist experts in the world.

According to reports, the latest cover of the Voice of Hind magazine, a mouthpiece of the Islamic jihad terrorist organization, has recently surfaced online; from the looks of it, it does not augur well for India. The now-viral cover features the 123-feet-tall idol of Hindu deity Shiva installed at a temple in Murudeshwara, Karnataka. It is a major pilgrimage destination and a tourist attraction in South India. The iconic idol was digitally torn down and beheaded in true ISIS style; the black ISIS flag was planted at the apex, and the message “It is Time to Break the False Gods” was written underneath.

The cover obviously raises serious security concerns. India is surrounded by Muslim neighbors and has numerous jihadi elements within it; they could team up to take down one of the largest secular democracies of the region.

Voice of Hind, a joint venture by the pro-ISIS media outlet Al-Qitaal Media Center and Junudul Khilafah al-Hind, can be defined as an India-centric online propaganda magazine. Launched in February 2020, it has been a regular menace, with a strong and obvious hatred for India. It canonizes the jihad terrorists of the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K, or ISKP) and has made a saint of Pakistani national Huzaifa-al-Bakistani, who was a key recruiter for the Islamic State and was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan in 2019.

In its previous editions, the magazine wrote extensively about attacks on the Indian security forces, sought revenge for the 2020 anti-Hindu Delhi riots, and elaborated on how to make most of the pandemic situation by attacking India when the country of 1.3 billion was at its weakest.

The Ghazwa e Hind notoriety

For the last several years, the notorious agenda of Ghazwa e Hind has been on rise, especially within Wes Bengal in India, where ruling Trinamool Congress party is accused of maintained deeper ties with a number of jihadist outfits including Hizbul Mujahideen.

There is a phrase that Pakistani militant leaders have used against India for decades – Ghazwa-e-Hind or a holy raid of India. Ghazwa in Arabic implies a war that is guided by faith rather than materialistic or territorial gains and is widely attributed to an Islamic concept derived from the hadiths — a set of sayings by Prophet Mohammad. The phrase is used refer to Muslim warriors conquering the Indian subcontinent.

Both radical Islamists in Pakistan and jihad-confronters have propagated this meaning. It is also frequently used as a trope to put devout Indian Muslims on the defensive. Their loyalty is questioned – will they put religion first or India?

Now, ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’ has made a noisy return among scholars, security analysts and rabble-rousers, especially after the Narendra Modi government’s action on Article 370 and Pakistan’s isolation in the international theatre.

But what has gone largely unnoticed is that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a leading body of Muslims in India, has already called out the error in this popular interpretation. The group has supported the government’s decision on Kashmir.

Maulana Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri, a Jamiat scholar, insisted late last year that Pakistan has been erroneously and mischievously linking the term to their rift with India. Mahmood Madani revealed this at an Observer Research Foundation (ORF) conference last month, sparking renewed interest in the theological interpretation of the phrase.

In a video posted on Facebook on 31 August by Zaid Hamid of Pakistan, a radical who fancies himself as a security analyst, said: “We are entering Ghazwa-e-Hind, the war which was prophesied by Prophet Muhammad.” The video shows him brandishing a Kalashnikov, as if ready to march off to the “Great War between believers and non-believers”.

He then added: “After what Narendra Modi and the infidels of India have done to Kashmir, no one should have any doubt that in the coming times. The final battle of the Ghazwa-e-Hind will soon be fought between Muslims and infidels.”

Zaid Hamid may be from the fringe, but his video has been watched by over 13 lakh viewers. More mainstream Pakistani individuals like minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, made a reference to Ghazwa-e-Hind while speaking in parliament and thundered: “Pakistan didn’t make an atom bomb for fun and games [khel tamasha]. We will show you if it becomes necessary”.

Pakistan-based terror groups, notably Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), have been using Ghazwa-e-Hind as a Hadith to recruit, fund and justify its audacious terror strikes as a religious holy war against India. The Jaish and others falsely propagate that Jihad against India is considered holy in Islam and that those participating in it [the battle against “infidels”] will be granted an easy entry into paradise.

In a widely-circulated note by Jamia Qasmia Shahi of Moradabad, Maulana Mufti Salman Mansoorpuri had debunked the Jaish’s assertions and argued that prophecies and sayings of Prophet Mohammad should not be used for political or material gains.

Not to be left behind, actress Veena Malik also tweeted a Hadith on Ghazwa-e-Hind on 1 September. In a recent interview to Samaa TV she said: “If you look at history, Ghazwa-e-Hind is mentioned…. It is also true that there comes a point when Muslims had to raise their swords and had to fight.” After famously posing with a grenade and an ISI tattoo for an Indian magazine, Veena Malik is now a born-again Muslim.

Amir Rana, director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, told Samaa TV: “It has been going on for years… whenever things get bad in Kashmir you will hear it”.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, firmly rooted in Islam, is a leading body of nationalist Muslims and clergy in India. It had opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan, and since 2001, is effectively using renowned Islamic seminary Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband to issue comprehensive fatwas declaring terrorism as un-Islamic. Last month, it had adopted a resolution backing Narendra Modi government’s decision to abrogate the special status given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Hadiths on Ghazwa-e-Hind, according to Mansurpoori, reads: “The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said – ‘Allah has saved two groups of my Ummah from the hellfire; the group that will invade Al-Hind (the subcontinent) and the group that will be with Eesa (Jesus), the son of Mariam.’ Quoting the narration of Abu Hurairah [the narrator of over 5,000 hadiths] – ‘The Messenger of Allah promised us the conquest of Al-Hind (the subcontinent). If I am able to join it, I will spend on it my wealth and my life. If I am killed, I will be the best of martyrs and if I return, I will be Abu Hurairah, the freed one (i.e. from hellfire)’”.

The Hadiths are a primary source of guidance in Islam. It is unanimously agreed by Muslims that the authority of the Hadith is second only to that of the Qur’an.

According to Mansoorpuri, there are several Hadiths mentioning Ghazwa-e-Hind and its virtues, but the chain of narrators is weak, confusing and relies upon persons who are little known in the authentic collection of Hadith.

India at risk

With the latest information of Islamic State calling upon its members for destruction of idols of Hindu deities in India is a matter of grave concern. Indian authorities should understand, this clearly is a declaration of so-called jihad against the 966.3 million Hindu populace in India as well as millions of Hindus around the world. It is time for India to declare all-out war against radical Islam and jihadist notoriety. At the same time, India should immediately cease its relations with Palestinian terrorists as well as distant itself from terror-patron Iran. First of all, for the sake of national security, India should impose a total ban on the activities of Tablighi Jamaat and dismantle Tablighi bases in New Delhi and other parts of the country.

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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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