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Mathura to host International conference on ‘Radical Islam’ on Wednesday

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Photo: www.investigativeproject.org

Mathura: The city will be a host to the three-day conference on world security, terrorism, and radical Islam that starts here on Wednesday- November 18.

Delegates from India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Canada are scheduled to take part in this ‘International Conference on Radical Islam’ that is being sponsored Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and will be held at RCA Girls (PG) College, Mathura.

The conference proceedings will be divided into various themes that aim to analyze the root causes that drive Islamic radicalization, the responses to be adopted to counter this radicalization, the role played by Islamic ideology in extremism, the extent of radicalization among Indian Muslims, and India’s response to various terror attacks.

The conference assumes great significance in the light of recent terror attacks in Paris that was carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and the growing influence of ISIS in countries like India as well.

ISIS, which claims to be an Islamic Caliphate that intends to establish Islamic rule everywhere, has become the center of global terror activities. It is drawing fighters and supporters from Muslims who are present not only in the Middle East, but also from those who are far away in Europe or India.

This growing support for the activities of the Islamic State, as well as the presence of activists of banned organizations like Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in India is a clear indication of the rapid radicalization of the Indian Muslim community.

Hence, it becomes very vital that the ground causes behind this radicalization is examined and proper responses are evolved to counter them. It is in this context that the scheduled conference attains great importance. The recommendations that are made during this conference may serve as a guideline or as a framework on which detailed responses can then be developed by India as well as other countries that have been affected by Islamic terrorism.

The dignitaries who are likely to participate include: Justice Rajendra Sachar- who headed the committee that submitted the Sachar report, Tarek Fatah- noted Canadian author, Dr Zafrul Islam (Deoband), Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi of All India Imam Organization, Farooq Abdullah- former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Prakash Singh- former DG, Border Security Force, and Zafar Sareshwala- Chancellor Maulana Azad National Urdu University among others.

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Hinduism Acts As a Boundary for the Spread of Radical Islam in India: Chinese Media

The article called attention to the solid impact of Hinduism in India

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Hinduism in India
Hinduism in India. Pixabay

Sep 03, 2014: Muslims in India generally stayed unaffected from the radicalization of Muslim gatherings in different parts of the world in light of the strong impact of Hinduism in the nation, which has established a mark of itself by going past a religion to end up plainly as a lifestyle and a social establishment, said the state-run Chinese media on Wednesday.

Adulating Hinduism for helping India setting up an ever lasting attachment towards the religion among different sects, an article in Global Times, titled – “Hinduism tied to India’s geopolitical standing” said that Hinduism made India a boundary for the spread of radical Islam on the global geopolitical scene.

The article asserted that-

Why does it seem that Muslims in India have remained largely apart from the radicalization that has happened to Muslim groups in other parts of the world? Indian Muslims seldom have extreme organizations compared with groups in many other Asian countries. In the southern part of the Philippines, extremists backed by Islamic State have turned their occupied cities into horrible places. In southern Thailand, terror attacks staged by Muslim extremists take place almost every week.

The article called attention to the solid impact of Hinduism, the dominant religion of India while answering the question: Why does it seem that Muslims in India have remained largely apart from the radicalization that has happened to Muslim groups in other parts of the world? 

“Like many other religions, Hinduism has its extreme side, but for the most part, its more moderate side has the strongest influence. Perhaps it is this more moderate influence that has helped establish India’s lasting cohesion and is one of the reasons that the country has not separated”

Indians take pride in the Mughal Dynasty, the time of history which was built up by Muslims, not even by the Hindus, however, there was a strong Hindu influence in that time also.

“In the long history of India, Hinduism has gone far beyond a religion to become a lifestyle and social institution. Both its extreme and tolerant sides have constituted the foundation for its relationship with Muslims and this dual character is going to exist for a long time,” it said.

The consequence of this relationship has made India a hindrance for the spread of radical Islam on the global geopolitical scene.

Also Read: How Hinduism is Interpreted by Western Indologists-David Frawley. Wendy Doniger. Koenraad Elst

The article brought up that the absence of Islamic fanatics in India has established its role in Asia and it has been thought about by the US, Japan, Russia and European nations as well.

“In the future, India is sure to continue to stand out in geopolitical significance when it comes to increasing religious and ethnic conflicts around the world. Where China is concerned, this significance should not be ignored”, the article concluded.


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Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) Attacks US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton for being “sympathetic towards Pakistan”

The 29-second advertisement begins with a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has a map of Pakistan, which includes disputed PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) as its territory

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FILE - In this March 12, 2012, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her mobile phone after her address to the Security Council at United Nations headquarters. VOA

Tampa, November 3, 2016: On Indian-American television channels,  a Republican Hindu organisation is running anti-Hillary Clinton advertisement attacking the Democratic presidential candidate as “sympathetic towards Pakistan” and her longtime aide for her Pakistani origin.

According to PTI report, the 29-second advertisement begins with a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has a map of Pakistan, which includes disputed PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) as its territory.

“Hillary, sympathetic towards Pakistan gave billions of dollars in aid and military equipment used against India. She was instrumental in blocking PM Modi’s visa. (She) takes contributions from countries and individuals known to support radical Islam,” says the commercial endorsed by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC).

[bctt tweet=”Hillary, sympathetic towards Pakistan gave billions of dollars in aid and military equipment used against India, says RHC. ” username=””]

Apart from that, the commercial also doesn’t spare former US president and Clinton’s husband Bill, and her longtime aide Huma Abedin.

According to PTI report, “her current aide Huma Abedin is of Pakistani origin and will become chief of staff if she wins. Her husband Bill Clinton wants to give Kashmir to Pakistan,” says RHC and calls on Americans to “Vote Republican – great for you, great for US-Indian relations and great for America.”

Clinton’s longtime aide, Huma Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1976 to Syed Zainul Abedin, from Delhi, and Saleha Mahmood Abedin. She belongs to a family where her mother is of Pakistani origin and her father is from India. Later, the family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when Abedin was two-year-old.

RHC’s head Shalabh Kumar did not respond to questions on the ad that began airing days ahead of the November 8 polls.

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He, however, has told The New York Post that “Huma in general is as pro-terrorist as you could be… she’s got a really dark background. I can’t even fathom. I don’t understand why Hillary will associate herself with Huma.”

Kumar mentioned that RHC is heavily involved in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Further, Indian-American supporters of Clinton slammed RHC for its commercial. “This advertisement is misleading, incorrect and false,” said a fund-raiser for Clinton campaign Ajay Jain Bhutoria. He alleged that, just before US presidential election is knocking at the door, Donald Trump and RHC are misleading the community with false facts.

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According to PTI report, “Trump showed disrespect for Indians and has mocked Indian call-centre workers at an election rally earlier this year. Trump has created conflict between Hindus and Muslims… India and Pakistanis in USA. We left these kind of religion-based politics back in our home country,” said Bhutoria.

Bhutoria said Hillary Clinton has built strong relations with India as the first lady and later as secretary of state.

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“No incoming US president has had the level of interaction with India that Hillary has had. Her trip in 1995 helped paved the way years later for President Bill Clinton’s historic visit to India in 2000. Hillary has walked that extra mile for India,” he said.

“As US Senator, Hillary Clinton was co-chair of the Senate India Caucus. And as US Secretary of State she made multiple visits, during which she highlighted the need for India to ‘not just look east, but engage east and act east’ — a mantra Modi government subsequently adopted,” Bhutoria further added.

– prepared by NewsGram Team with inputs from PTI.

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Indonesia -country with largest Muslim population- struggling to fight with radical Islam

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Indonesia
Islamic boarding school students pray at the al-Mukmin Pesantren in Ngruki, Sukoharjo, Central Java, founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, Sept. 2, 2003. (AFP)
Islamic boarding school students pray at the al-Mukmin Pesantren in Ngruki, Sukoharjo, Central Java, founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, Sept. 2, 2003. (AFP)

Hundreds of Indonesians responded to the call by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group for Muslims to emigrate to its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Indonesia takes pride in its diverse and largely moderate society, but the world’s most populous Islamic country is trying to curb resurgent radicalism.

According to the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), IS has used an economic approach – not just an ideological one – to recruit followers from Indonesia.

“They are lured with promises of a big salary, up to 50 million rupiah [U.S. $3,635 monthly],” said Brig. Gen. Hamidin, BNPT’s prevention director, during a seminar on radicalization in late October at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java province.

The spread of radicalism among the younger generation is due to a narrow interpretation of the word “jihad,” BNPT Director Saud Usman Nasution told BenarNews.

“They think that jihad is all about fighting against infidels. But that was only during the era of the Rasulullah [Prophet Muhammad],” he said.

Prison pledge

Radicalism has infiltrated schools, universities, cyberspace, and prisons, Saud said.

“Not all convicts who serve time in prison come out as better individuals. Some of them even preached [their beliefs] and recruited new followers in prison,” he said.

Last year, photos of convicted terrorist Abu Bakar Bashir and other inmates posing with an IS flag at the Nusakambangan penal island circulated widely online. The inmates reportedly posed for the picture after pledging allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi.

Bashir once considered the spiritual head of al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiyah, is serving a 15-year sentence for raising funds to finance a paramilitary training in Aceh province.

The director general of correctional facilities at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry admitted at the time that the pledge of allegiance was off its radar because of weak prison surveillance.

Underlying forces

The number of Indonesians who have joined jihadist groups is insignificant compared with the size of Indonesia’s population (250 million), according to Noor Huda Ismail, research director at the Jakarta-based Institute for International Peace Building.

But their presence is linked to a more widespread problem plaguing Indonesia.

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The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, sign an MoU to counter radicalism, Oct. 27, 2015.

“Radicalism has many layers. The terrorism layer represents a small part of society. But there are underlying forces that keep terrorism and radical views alive. The first and foremost is intolerance, and it is the most acute problem in Indonesia,” Noor Huda told BenarNews.

He cited as an example elements in the Muslim community who are hostile to other Muslim sects such as the Ahmadiyah and Shia.

“They consider those fellow Muslims as enemies, let alone non-Muslims such as Ahok,” said Noor Huda, referring to Jakarta Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama by his nickname.

Hardline Muslim organizations protested when Ahok  – a Christian, and the first ethnic Chinese governor in Indonesia – assumed the post.

A survey conducted in Greater Jakarta by the Federation for Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) last month found intolerant attitudes present in close to 90 percent of public schools, especially those in regions on the outskirts of Jakarta, such as Depok and Bekasi.

These early signs of radicalism are mainly evident in students who take religious extracurricular activities. They refuse to shake hands with teachers who are of the opposite sex. They also denounce the state philosophy of Pancasila, which embraces pluralism, and they refuse to line up for the flag-raising ceremony.

The survey, which was viewed by BenarNews, also found that schools play a role in seeding radicalism by setting rules that cater to the religious majority: requiring all students to recite the Quran every morning and female students to wear headscarves, rather than promoting Indonesia’s state motto of “unity in diversity.”

BNPT’s Saud acknowledged that radical views have penetrated public schools and said the agency had undertaken routine visits to campuses across the country to thwart it.

Multiple approaches

IS targets young people through public sermons, as well as chat groups on mobile messaging apps such as Whatsapp and BBM dan Telegram, according to Muhammad Taufiqurrohman, a senior researcher at the Research Center on Radicalism (PAKAR) and Abdurrahman Wahid Center-University of Indonesia.

“These new members are very enthusiastic to go to the Middle East and this was largely through propaganda spread by IS media activists who propagate through web sites such as www.azzammedia.net, www.manjanik.com, www.islamkini.com, and www.daulahislamiyyah.com,” Taufiqurrohman said.

But according to him, the most successful promotion of radical views has been done out in the open through mass public sermons (tabligh akbar ) and trainings (dauroh) that introduce IS and its so-called caliphate in mosques.

Such activities are also conducted behind closed doors, he said, adding that this model had been detected in Medan in Sumatra, Makassar and Poso in Sulawesi, and Bandung and Bekasi in Java.

Disengagement vs. de-radicalization

Taufik Andrie, executive director of the Institute for International Peace Building, is a proponent of disengagement, which emphasizes changes in behavior rather than changes in belief.

“Disengagement is more realistic. They no longer do violent terrorist acts, even though their ideology and belief remains the same,” Taufik said.

He added that his foundation has counseled and rehabilitated terrorism convicts so they no longer have the intention to carry out violent acts, although the foundation does not interfere with their ideology.

Taufik said the most important element in this process was the convict’s willingness to participate.

“We want the initiative to come from them so they don’t feel like they are forced. This makes it easier to work with them,” Taufik said.

The foundation asks inmates about their plans after they finish their prison terms. If they want to start a business, it supports them until they are self-reliant.

This does not always succeed.

One former prisoner, Machmudi Hariono (also known as Yusuf Adirima), opened a restaurant called “Dapoer Bistik” in Semarang, Central Java. In 2010, he was approached by someone who tried to persuade him to join a paramilitary training camp in Aceh.

Yusuf, a veteran of Moro Islamist Liberal Front (MILF) in the southern Philippines, refused the offer and chose to stay in Semarang.

Another former inmate tried to run a fisheries and shrimp ponds business in Central Java, but got involved in terrorism activities again and is now back behind bars.

“Based on our evaluation, we realize that the program suitable for former inmates is something that keeps them busy so that they no longer have the time to think about radical ideology,” Taufik said.

“Running shrimp and fish ponds didn’t keep them occupied enough, so they had a lot of free time to think about those radical views.”

Heny Rahayu contributed to this report. Published with permission from BenarNews