Terror groups funding Mosques: How Kashmir-Kerala paved the way towards radicalisation

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Oct 15: The investigations being conducted by the National Investigating Agency has found that a Mosque in Palwal, Haryana was built with the funds of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

This came to light when the NIA was probing a module of the Falah-e-Insaniyat, the financial wing of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, that was busted in New Delhi recently. A report in the Indian Express stated that three men including the Imam of the Mosque were arrested for allegedly receiving funds from the FeF.

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The report stated that the Imam of the Mosque Mohammad Salman was given Rs 70 lakh to build the Mosque. Further it was stated that Salman had come in contact with members of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba during a trip to Dubai.

When it all began in Kerala:

Back in the year 2014, the Intelligence Bureau had sounded an alert that the Wahhabis in a bid to impose their rigid ideology had begun funding some Mosques in Kerala. Back that year, the Wahhabis had generated over Rs 1,000 crore through funds from Saudi Arabia.

The huge inflow of funds was being used in Kerala to nurture the Wahhabi sect. The IB had said that an approximate of Rs 800 crore had been earmarked to set up four Wahhabi universities, 40 Mosques at the cost of Rs 400 crore, Rs 300 crore to set up Madrasas and Rs 100 crore to take over administration of Mosques.

A similar incident was also reported in Maharashtra, where the agencies believe that Wahhabis have control of nearly 40 Mosques. In Kerala the number stands at 75.

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Why take over the Mosques:

Radical elements, be it in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra or Kashmir first try to gain control over the Mosques. They feel that once they gain control over the administration over the Mosques, they can easily impose the radical school of thought. Mosques can be a huge influence on many, officers say.

Take the case of Kashmir, where the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith began taking over the Mosques. The first state to see the rise of Wahhabism was Kashmir and in the run up, the Wahhabis managed to take control over at least 400 Mosques in the state.

Till date the loud speakers in several Mosques are used to preach sermons and in recent times instigate stone pelters. The Mosques in the state have also been accused of raising pro-Pakistan slogans and this had reached an all time high following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani. Intelligence Bureau officials say that some Mosques have been earmarked only to flare up tensions.

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In this context one must also recall the incident at Trikkakara in Kerala. An Imam at this Mosque had offered prayers for Ajmal Kasab two days after he had been hanged at the Yerawada jail in Pune. The Mosque committee immediately ordered the removal of the Imam.

The IB had also reported that in some Mosques in Kerala, there is a different sermon for a select few after most of the people leave. This has led to a large scale radicalisation in Kerala and in the past one has seen several youth joining groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and more lately the Islamic State.

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