Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Fears that 22 Youths from India’s Kerala Have Joined ISIS | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man looks out from a boundary wall with an image of a Hindu deity in the compound of Puttingal Devi temple where a fire broke out on Sunday, in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala, India, April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Sivaram V

New Delhi-Twenty-two youths from Kerala, India are missing and have most likely joined ISIS as fighters. The majority of them are Muslim; five out of the twenty-two were Christians and Hindu before they embraced Islam. They all have good manners, hold remarkable university degrees in fields such as medicine, engineering, administration and information technology. Also, they came from rich families and had a luxurious life not very long time ago.

Indian security bodies received confidential information that many of the missing have already arrived at ISIS training camps and some passed through Tehran on their way there.

Families of the missing are confused, especially that four of them are pregnant women. There are children among the disappeared Indians as well.

Asharq Al-Awsat reporter tried to carry out an interview with the families of the missing to figure out the reasons behind the rapid rise of extremism.

Abdulrahman lost his two sons and his wife’s nephew in what he likes to call “the trap of ISIS.”

One son was a dentistry student and the other is a graduate of the Faculty of Administration. The latter adopted extremist views lately but his parents thought it was a temporary phase.

A prominent journalist spoke to television channels, saying many Muslim men in the state are growing beards and this is one of the clear indications of the spread of extremism; a sign that should be closely monitored by the state.

He added that the current problem is embodied in the fact that the young generation is getting introduced to Islam via internet websites and satellite channels of anonymous sources.

The journalist also asked the Muslims in the state to understand that the ISIS ideology has nothing to do with genuine Islam.

However, this is not the first time individuals from this state get involved in Islamic conflicts in different places. Kerala is historically known for being a place vulnerable to embracing extremist Islamic ideologies.