Gurumurthy column | The Thowheed Jamaths are ISIS terror merchants

The Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath is not just an affiliate of Sri Lanka’s National Thowheed Jamath.

Published: 03rd May 2019 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2019 03:37 PM   |  A+A-

ISIS terrorists

Image used for representational purposes only for IS.

The Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath is not just an affiliate of Sri Lanka’s National Thowheed Jamath. It is also not just an ideological senior or mentor. Both owe allegiance to the ISIS in ideology and are its terror merchants. Indian authorities stumbled upon the National Thowheed Jamath plot to trigger blasts in Sri Lanka and alerted it. But India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) itself acted on the domestic terror module only after their input to Sri Lanka was validated at a huge cost. Read on for how the Indian authorities became wiser because their input to Sri Lanka was correct.

NIA uncovers Jamaths in both countries as ISIS modules
How did the Indian security agencies become aware of the minute details of the plot to blow up Sri Lankan churches and hotels, which it communicated to Sri Lanka which, of course, blew it? It all began after the NIA took over from Tamil Nadu police the probe into a conspiracy to kill some Hindu leaders in Coimbatore. What the NIA found in December 2018, and other Indian agencies later, was the stunning fact that Thowheed Jamaths in Sri Lanka and in India were ISIS modules.

READ PART 1: Lanka terror: Abettors from Tamil Nadu

A Hindustan Times (24.4.2019) story sourced to the Indian security establishment, said: “India sent as many as three alerts to Sri Lanka, including one on the day of the Easter Sunday attack... The first was on April 4, and it came from investigations by Indian agencies that followed after the NIA, in December 2018, stumbled upon the videos of National Thowheed Jamath leader Maulvi Zahran Bin Hashim while probing the Islamic State (IS) Coimbatore module. In the first alert, the agencies told Sri Lanka that, apart from churches, the Indian High Commission in Colombo could be a target. The second alert was sent a day before the attack and was even more specific than the first one in that it mentioned the possible targets, the officials said. The last alert was sent hours before the suicide bombers attacked the three churches and four hotels.”

Information about the attacks were a result of “detailed analysis of information gathered through technical means and human sources,” one of the officials said. The report added that HT spoke to multiple officials in the Central intelligence agencies who confirmed that the videos of Hashim—in which he exhorted Muslim youth from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to establish Islamic rule in the region—were analysed in detail and investigated further by India’s external spy agency, the R&AW. Videos stored in pen drives, memory cards, mobile phones and CDs/DVDs were recovered by the NIA on December 19, 2018 during raids in Coimbatore, Chennai and Tindivanam.

The full picture emerged after the dots were connected when the Indian authorities acted following the Sri Lankan carnage. After sharing information with Sri Lanka and seeing Sri Lanka explode, on April 28, 2019, the NIA raided the homes of two youth in Kasargod and one in Palakkad. They were found following the Sri Lanka carnage mastermind Zahran Hashim on social media networks.

The search yielded a number of digital devices as well as diaries with handwritten notes in Arabic and Malayalam, according to the NIA. One of the suspects, Riyas Aboobacker, who was conspiring to commit a terrorist attack in Kerala, inspired by the alleged mastermind of the Sri Lanka bombings, was arrested by the NIA. reported that even though the NIA could not establish any direct link between Riyas and the leader of the Sri Lankan National Thowheed Jamath, it found evidence linking them to the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, which falsely denied any connection with the Sri Lankan outfit. The TN Thowheed Jamath and the Sri Lanka’s Thowheed Jamath are therefore not just ideological cousins but linked in terror operations also as ISIS modules.

Vote bank politics makes extremists respectable
It was always known that the Thowheed Jamath in Sri Lanka and its associate—actually the mentor—the TN Thowheed Jamath are extremists at the minimum. But political parties in Sri Lanka did not act against Sri Lanka’s Thowheed Jamath for vote bank considerations. In 2015, Muslims of Sri Lanka openly protested against the visit of TN Thowheed Jamath leader P Jainul Abideen and warned the Sri Lankan government about the extremist character of the Thowheed Jamaths in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.

The chief motivator of the human bombs of the 21/4 carnage in Sri Lanka, Zahran Hashim, was known to be an extremist. He was allowed to roam around till he successfully evangelised those from the richest Sri Lankan Muslim family and even the pregnant wife of one of them to turn into human bombs to kill themselves to kill hundreds. The Spice Tycoons, who got the Sri Lankan Best Businessman award, were beyond suspicion as they were always seen with Presidents, Prime Minsters and different ministers of Sri Lanka. Since the pretence of Sri Lanka’s Thowheed Jamath that they were innocent, was willingly believed by politicians before the massacre, even after the blasts it was certified as innocent by Sri Lanka’s Eastern province Governor.

If this is how the Sri Lankan government patronised the Islamist terror merchant, the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath, the TN Thowheed Jamath, which held a massive ISIS ideological show in Tiruchy (which Tufail Ahmad characterised as precursor to ISIS), supported the DMK in the 2011 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. Later the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi even invited and met them. P Jainul Abideen, the TN Thowheed Jamath chief (who is connected to the terrorist module under investigation in Kerala now), presented both Manmohan and Sonia a copy of the English translation of the Holy Quran. If the highest authorities in the country invite and honour known extremists by receiving the holy book from their hands, how will an ordinary policeman move against them even if they are suspects?

Dehumanising ideology— what is the source?
Understanding the horrendous nature and scale of the Sri Lankan terror would be incomplete without taking cognisance of the inhuman ideology, which dehumanised the culprits, including a pregnant woman, into human bombs. Whenever and wherever Islamic extremism manifests, seculars and liberals tend to explain it away as the outcome of illiteracy, poverty and deprivation. The 9/11 strikes in the US knocked out this logic as the terrorists in that attack were not illiterate, poor or deprived. It was a technology-driven terror mission. An article titled “Uncivil Engineers: The Surprising Link Between Education and Jihad” (Foreign Affairs magazine, 10.3.2016) said the majority of Islamic terrorists are educated. Terrorism is no more the domain of the illiterate.

But the Sri Lankan terror has scaled up further. Two brothers from the richest Islamic family in Sri Lanka (characterised by the media as Spice Tycoons) not only became human bombs and killed themselves to kill hundreds, the pregnant wife of one of them blew herself, her three young children and three policemen who came in search of the terrorists in her home.

What kind of ideology drives the softest creation of God, the mother, to turn so inhuman as to kill herself, with a foetus inside her, and her three children? What is that thought that makes even rich people leading comfortable lives blow themselves up to kill people whom they know to be innocents? Where does that maddening hostility come from? It is that poisonous ideology that has to be targeted and demolished. So long as that venomous ideology is not rooted out, the war on terror cannot be won. Laws, police and army are inadequate to shut the vicious ideology that generates terror. This the biggest challenge before the world.

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    If no targeted action is taken against radical Islamic operatives and sympathisers in India
    1 month ago reply
  • Dr Kumar

    Very good analysis.The selfish politicians are willing to sacrifice the nation's interest for their political gains.Parties like DMK in Tamilnadu do not care for national interest.For them self-interest is the primary concern.Only god can saveTamilnadu.
    1 month ago reply
  • Shekar

    Still there is a large number of peace loving Muslim citizens
    1 month ago reply
  • Murthy

    We are dealing with an ideology of hate that is dressed up as devotion to God...
    1 month ago reply
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