Probe into IS ties extends to Sri Lanka

Muslim forums denounce the organisation, Jamaat to take up social campaign

July 10, 2016 11:54 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 01:15 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram:

Most mainstream Muslim organisations in Kerala have denounced the Islamic State (IS) even as the investigation into the suspected defection of at least 12 Keralites to the proscribed organisation unfolded across the State and beyond the country’s borders on Sunday.

Syed Ibrahim Khaleel Buhari, general secretary, Kerala Muslim Jamaat, the apex body of Sunni Muslims in the State, told The Hindu that the organisation was poised to undertake a sweeping social campaign to insulate impressionable youth from the nihilistic and seductive lure of the IS.

Meanwhile, Central and State security agencies were trying to gauge whether the IS, which runs a slick online propaganda campaign, had gained any local appeal.

They were investigating whether any ultra-conservative religious outfit had recruited the “missing persons” for the embattled IS in Iraq and Syria.

Officials privy to the Central and State inquiries said the focus has also shifted to Sri Lanka, which “reports indicated” was the “common transit camp” for several of the “missing families” suspected to have joined the IS.

Sri Lanka orders probe

They said the Sri Lankan government was conducting its own investigation after reports emerged that at least two of its citizens had joined the IS last year.

The inquiries would also focus on how the “missing families” were radicalised, if they were at all.

They would centre on whether the missing persons were in IS territory and who guided them to their destination.

The agencies were sifting through hundreds of FB groups, which claim to be affiliated to the IS to see whether any evidence of the “missing families” would crop up.

Meanwhile, the police intelligence has warned the State government that the public furore over the “missing persons” had outsize propaganda value for divisive forces on either end of the religious spectrum.

For one, the issue had led to political muckraking in the case of controversial preacher Zakir Naik whose speeches were linked to rising radicalisation in Kerala and Bangladesh.

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