Two Years of ISIS: Muslim Clerics Say it Won’t Succeed in India

Intelligence claims ISIS threat to R-Day, The Quint speaks to prominent Indian Muslims, who dismiss ISIS phenomena.

3 min read

This article has been republished from The Quint’s archives in the light of the recent attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. It is suspected that ISIS was behind the triple explosions that rocked Turkey’s busiest airport on Tuesday, claiming at least 36 lives. Incidentally, it was on the same day – 28 June – two years ago that ISIS declared itself as a caliphate.

This article was first published on 29 January 2016.


Twelve suspected ISIS terrorists have been nabbed in pan India counter-terror raids. While the suspects have been sent to NIA custody till February 5 by a special court, sources say that the fear of a Paris like attack looms large.

Intelligence agencies suspect a strike against the Republic Day parade which will see French President Francois Hollande in attendance. The agencies have also warned against a lone wolf attack. The French Consulate in Delhi has received a threat. Malls and prominent public places have been placed on high alert. Suddenly, the threat of the ISIS, which was seen as a foreign force operating in a foreign land, recruiting and threatening foreigners is not so foreign.

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ISIS India Statistics Are an Insignificant Number

The ISIS has head hunters in India. Official government figures indicate that 23 Indians have become ISIS fighters, 30 others have been stopped or deported while trying to reach the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria and there are over 150 people (conservative estimate) who are under government surveillance for pro-ISIS leanings online.

Muslim leaders and clerics in India dismiss these figures as inconsequential.

The percentage of Indians to join the ISIS is not even 0.1%, it is no number. If there was a number to talk about, we would do an analysis.
Maulana Mehmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind

ISIS ‘Non-Islamic’, Says Fatwa Issued by 70,000 Clerics

In a bid to send out a strong message against the proliferation of the idea of the Islamic State, 70,000 Indian Muslim clerics issued a fatwa against the ISIS, Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other terror organisations in December 2015 claiming that these organisations were ‘non-Islamic’ in nature.

Islam does not allow these types of activities, like what the ISIS is doing in regions where they are active, like beheading people, killing innocent persons. So the main reason why we are against them is because Islam guides us to be against these activities.
Syed Tariq Bukhari, General Secretary, Jama Masjid Advisory Council

Paris Attacks Against Islam

It was the same reason why several leading Islamic organisations having prominent leaders led protests in different parts of the country after the Paris attacks.

It was not an attack on Paris, it was an attack on Islam. It was being done in the name of Islam and jihad. If they called this a battle for Iraq or Syria, I have no issue, that is their local matter. But if they do it in the name of Islam, then we have to stand up and defend Islam.
Maulana Mehmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind

‘Islam Is a Religion of Peace’

Madani insists that is a fundamental difference in the way Indian Muslims interpret Islam from those who kill in its name. The founding principles followed by Indian Muslims does not permit violence or brutalities.

Indian Muslims are religious and religious Muslims can never be brutal. They can be wrong, but not brutal. The basic tenets of Islam do not permit you to fight cruelty with cruelty. It does not avenge injustice with violence.
Maulana Mehmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind

While the Muslim clerics in India are making the right noises, Dr Adil Rasheed, author of ISIS: Race to Armageddon believes that story is more complex.

It is really commendable that many Islamic scholars in the country, particularly the most respected and eminent among them, have unequivocally spoken out against terrorism conducted in the name of jihad. However, we need to remain prepared against the very few ignorant and impressionable youths who will get radicalised by the so-called jihadi organizations.
Dr Adil Rasheed, Author, ISIS: Race to Armageddon

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