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Indians hate ISIS, but Communal hatred may push them towards terrorism

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The bombings in Brussels which killed more than a dozen and injured hundreds once again shows the vulnerability of the EU against terror attacks by ISIS.

It is to be noted that the attack came just days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a main accused in the Paris bombings. It shows ISIS networks are easily overcoming the elaborate security apparatus of a modern state.

while the EU appears most vulnerable to ISIS given that an unusually large Muslim youth population from Europe have been ideologically attracted to the terror outfit, India seems to be placed where only 23 cases have surfaced of Muslims youths actually joining the ISIS.

According to security expert Ajay Sahni, the founding director of Institute of Conflict Management, the bulk of the 23 Indians who joined ISIS did so after spending a few years in other countries as NRIs. This means those recruited directly from among India’s Muslim community has been less than 10 so far, Sahni added.

Though the Home Minister recently said that Indian youths are not attracted to ISIS, but the fact is that the aggressive nationalism imposed by the BJP and its ideological parties, accompanied by minority bashing and the nasty nature of the politics around the beef ban can lead to the kind of alienation that could attract youths to organizations like ISIS.

According to the ‘The Wire’, the real perspective that Sahni wants to tell that Indian Muslims have no soft corner towards ISS with the ISIS cause of establishing a world caliphate through violent means. But some of this may get endangered with the ongoing polarization of the polity along communal lines under the NDA regime, which could eventually alienate Indian Muslims.

Even American scholars put Indians recruited by ISIS at well below the three-digit figure. This clearly brings out the relatively negligible vulnerability of India at present. But it may not remain so for ever.

Ram Madhav, the BJP general secretary in one conference stunned everyone saying over 5000 Indians have already joined or are in the process of joining ISIS. Sahni, who was present at the conference, rejects this figure outright. “We don’t know where this figure is coming from,” he says.

But the question is “Why are people around Modi exaggerating the participation of Indian Muslims in ISIS? Is this meant partly to feed the domestic political constituency, putting the Muslim community on the back foot and fueling the narrow nationalism campaign”?

One only hopes that men around Modi who want to build him up as a major player in the war on ISIS are aware of these risks.

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