NATIONAL

“A votary of radical Islam”

Parvathi Menon

Bangalore: “The sort of religious extremism that results in the terrorism we have just seen does not exist even in a small way in Bangalore.

However, we have enough interaction with several young people who have moved to the U.K., and are always taken aback at the radical transformation that they undergo,” a long-time resident, influential Muslim community leader, and close friend of Kafeel Ahmed’s family told The Hindu.

The fact that this respected professional did not want to be identified is a reflection of the sense of fear that the average Muslim here feels ever since the story of the city’s link to the Glasgow terror strike broke.

“Extremely intelligent, articulate and confident” is how he described Kafeel Ahmed, a young man he has seen grow up. Contrary to media reports, Kafeel was not a member of the Tableeghi Jamat, but a follower of the orthodox Salafi sect.

He was here for several months “fulfilling the requirements for his Ph.D.” before he left the city for the last time on May 5.

Kafeel spoke passionately about his new-found convictions, whether it was on his belief that Islam and democracy could not be reconciled, or his anger at the situation in Chechnya and Bosnia, about which he distributed short documentaries on DVDs.

His mother, who was keen on finding a bride for her son, often threw her hands up in exasperation at his insistence that his future wife must be fully veiled.

He also used his visits to India to help his parents out of their financial problems. His doctor parents Maqbool and Zakia Ahmad owned the Noble Nursing Home in Bangalore’s BTM layout.

The hospital had run into a financial crisis and Kafeel helped the parents sell the place and buy property in central Bangalore.

Upset

“The average Muslim is upset and outraged at what happened in Glasgow. It is clearly condemnable and anti-Islam. However, we are all scared and dare not speak about what happened or our views on it, especially since we know the police are questioning everyone who knew him.”

In the Friday prayers conducted in mosques across the city on June 6, the issue of the Glasgow strike was neither mentioned in the sermons or in casual conversations, he said, an indication of the community’s apprehensions.

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