The dangerous ISIS spreads its wings in India

Intelligence operatives said Al Isabah's presence on Twitter and Facebook played up efforts to link the jihad to "Hind", a nomenclature often used by militant groups to refer to India.

NEW DELHI: ISIS has now cast its web across India.

Against reports that young men from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a hitherto unheard-of militant organisation has posted ISIS videos with Hindi, Tamil and Urdu subtitles and jihadi literature in Hindi on the internet.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which became ISIL with the L standing for the Levant, and finally just Islamic State.

It is a jihadi group that has established its rule by force of arms in a vast area of northern Iraq as well in parts of Syria.

Such is the extreme behaviour of this group that even Osama bin Laden is reported to have disowned it at one time.

One video with Hindi, Tamil and Urdu subtitles, posted on jihadi forums and YouTube, features a Canadian jihadi identified as Abu Muslim, who is shown firing a rocket-propelled grenade and participating in combat before he is killed. The video shows the Canadian asking other Muslims to join the jihad.

Another video with Hindi subtitles features ISIS spokesman Shaikh Adnani.

Yet another video features the first Friday sermon delivered by ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with flawless Tamil subtitles.

Al Isabah Media Production, which claims on its Twitter account to be the media unit of "Ansar ut Tawheed Fi Bilad Al Hind" (Supporters of Monotheism in the Land of India), says it has posted the videos.

Both Al Isabah's Twitter account and its Facebook page have links to the videos and other jihadi propaganda, including a link to a book in Hindi titled "Jihad Me Shirkat Ke 44 Tarike (44 ways to participate in jihad)".

The book, according to posts on jihadi forums, was purportedly written by the since 'terminated' US citizen-turned jihad preacher Anwar Awlaki and translated by "Abu Haider al Hindi".

The Facebook page also has several links leading to jihadi literature in Urdu, including a booklet on "Jihad: The forgotten obligation" attributed to a writer named "Ubaidha al Hindi".

Intelligence operatives said Al Isabah's presence on Twitter and Facebook played up efforts to link the jihad to "Hind", a nomenclature often used by militant groups to refer to India.

"The names Ubaidha al Hindi and Abu Haider al Hindi are obviously pseudonyms but they are trying to project some sort of link to India," one source said.

"Nevertheless, the videos and other materials cannot be taken lightly in view of the reports of Muslim youths from Thane and Chennai going off to fight with ISIS," the source added.

Al Isabah Media has provided links to nine videos, the first of which was posted a fortnight ago and the most recent one - featuring the Canadian fighter Abu Muslim - about six days ago.

ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has referred to India in video and audio messages released in the past. In an audio message released during Ramzan, al-Baghdadi claimed Indians were part of the ranks of his group and were fighting alongside Chinese, American, French and German nationals.

Al-Baghdadi has also claimed India is one of the countries where the rights of Muslims have been "forcibly seized". He has also criticised the West for not recognising "the killing of Muslims in Burma" and the "dismembering and disembowelling of the Muslims in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Kashmir" as acts of terrorism.

Animesh Roul, executive director of research at New Delhi-based Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict, has described Ansar-ut Tawheed Fi Bilad Al Hind, or AuT, as a hitherto unknown group whose messages highlight alleged "government atrocities against Muslims in India" and encourages Indian Muslims to join the Afghan or Syrian jihads and to carry out attacks inside India.

Roul, in a recent article for The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, wrote that AuT has issued at least four videotapes since October 2013, including one on May 17 that called for attacks against Indian targets worldwide.

This 10-minute video featured AuT leader Maulana Abdur Rahman al-Hindi urging jihadi leaders like Taliban chief Mullah Omar, Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Nasir Abd al- Wuhayshi of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, and al-Shabaab's Abdi Godane to attack Indian government interests and economic centres in India and elsewhere as a means of "protecting the Muslims of India", Roul wrote.

Earlier this year, Al Qaeda ideologue Asim Umar issued a video in Urdu that targeted Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India.


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