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Tablighi Jamaat - its other, evil side

Global security experts call it the antechamber of fundamentalism, claim it is used to nurse and indoctrinate terrorists.

Published: 02nd April 2020 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2020 07:50 PM   |  A+A-

People who showed coronavirus symptoms being taken to various hospitals from Nizamuddin area in New Delhi.

People who showed coronavirus symptoms being taken to various hospitals from Nizamuddin area in New Delhi. (Photo | Anil Shakya, EPS)

Except intelligence officials, national security experts and the wary among police officials, not many Indians would have heard of the name Tablighi Jamaat [TJ] before the explosive Nizamuddin coronavirus episode gave it the publicity it studiously avoided. On the face of it, TJ’s six principles suggest Islamic piety in its extreme. But that is merely its cosmetic exterior, inviting the innocent and idealistic young Muslims into an ideological line that ultimately turns them as terrorists. The less known and dangerous side of the century-old TJ began unfolding the world over since 2001, but not in India.

Nursery and gateway to terror

“TJ is another system driver and integral element of Islamist Violent Non-State Actors’ internal dynamics; in many cases it has acted as nursery for indoctrinating Islamist terrorists,” writes Dr Farhan Zahid, a Pakistani counter-terrorism and security expert, in his analysis titled “Tablighi Jamaat and its links with terrorism” [Foreign Analysis March 2015 Centre Francais de Reserche Sur le Renseignement]. Dr Farhan says, TJ “in a way plays the role of recruiter and sympathiser [for terrorism]. TJ’s congregation allows radical elements worldwide to meet and discuss violent activities and provide them with the best opportunity to coordinate”. Adding “many of its followers have dual and overlapping membership with jihadist groups”, Dr Farhan cites references and says “TJ has now been considered as a ‘gateway to terrorism’.

WATCH | Quarantine is not against Islamic laws: Tablighi Jamaat Chief Maulana Saad

Terror record in Europe, US

Dr Farhan says since 2001, traces of links have been found between TJ and Islamists involved in acts of terror. Shoe bomber Richard Reid who attempted a trans-Atlantic airline bombing [2001], Jose Padilla who tried dirty bomb manufacturing [2002] in New York city, Barcelona terror plot [2008] and the arrest of American Taliban John Walker in Afghanistan [2001] were all linked to TJ. Its French Muslim recruits were found involved in planning attacks by the Portland Seven and the Lackawanna Six in the US.In his analysis titled “Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s stealthy Legions” in Middle East Quarterly [Jan 8, 2016] Alex Alexiev writes that as 80 per cent of Islamist extremists have come from Tablighi ranks and the French intelligence calls TJ the ‘antechamber of fundamentalism’. In his investigative story titled “French Islamic group offers rich soil for militancy’ in The New York Times [April 29, 2005] Craig Smith lists Zacarias Moussaoui [charged in the US 9/11 terror]; Herve Djamel Loiseau, who died fleeing the 2001 American bombardment of Tora Bora in Afghanistan; Djamel Beghal, an admitted Al-Qaeda member, who was convicted in 2005 for plotting to blow up the US Embassy in Paris, as TJ terror activists of French origin. Freth Burton and Scott Stewart, writing in an analysis titled “Tablighi Jamaat: An Indirect Line to Terrorism” in the Stratfor Global Intelligence Security Weekly, say that 12 out of the 14 men arrested in a pre-emptive raid on a mosque in Barcelona for plotting to attack targets belonged to TJ, adding that TJ’s name figured in the 2005 London underground bombings in which 52 people died and also in the attempted bombings in London, Glasgow and Scotland. Assistant FBI Director [US] Michael Heimbach says that TJ has significant presence in the US, and Al-Qaeda was found to have recruited TJ adherents [New York Post Dec 27, 2015].

Turned Pak into terror hub

The book titled On The Abyss — Pakistan After the Coup  [Harper Collins Publishers India 2000] authored mainly by Pakistani scholars, diplomats and writers, says that the largely Barelvi Islamic Pakistan, which accepted local variations, including Dargah worship and Sufi traditions, had been hijacked by Deobandi ideology through Tablighi Jamaat, the result of which was the growth of militancy. Khaled Ahmed, former diplomat and editor of Friday Times in Pakistan writes in On The Abyss: “Because of the rise of Deobandi militias…. the [Punjab] province is rapidly losing its Barelvi temperament.” What the authors had prophesied came true in the very next year when Pakistan was found involved in 9/11 attack on the US. Over the years, Pakistan has come to be known as the global terror hub. Says Dr Farhan, “Several mainstream Islamist violent non-state actors have taken their roots from TJ’s indoctrination and on the platform provided by TJ missionaries. It is the Deobandi ideology of TJ which provides potential jihadists a crucial link.”During the 1980s and 1990s, TJ became the recruiter of Islamist radicals for the Afghan war. Dr Farhan points out that Harkat-ul Jihad-al-Islami [HuJI] was formed by former TJ members Qari Saifullah Akhtar and Fazal ur Rahman Kalil along with others. From the HuJI platform emerged other jihadist outfits - Harkat-ul-Mujhahideen [HuM] Jaish-e-Mohammed [JeM], Sipah-e-Sahaba [SSP] and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi [LeJ]. All of them stand declared as terror outfits.

Terror merchant

An India Abroad News Service report on April 1, 2020 titled “Tablighi Jamaat shares links with terror outfits”, said: “As per WikiLeaks, some of the 9/11 al-Qaeda suspects detained by the US in Guantanamo Bay had stayed in the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Nizamuddin West, New Delhi, years ago. Tablighi Jamaat was also suspected to be involved in the burning of 59 Hindu kar sevaks in 2002 in Godhra, Gujarat, which led to mass communal rioting in the state. According to India’s intelligence and security expert, late B Raman, TJ in Pakistan and Bangladesh gained adverse attention for association with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and members of the International Islamic Front formed by Osama bin Laden in 1998. Quoting Pakistani newspaper reports from the 1990s, Raman pointed out that the trained cadre of jihadi terrorist organisations like HuM obtained visas by posing as preachers of Tablighi Jamaat and went abroad to recruit young Muslims for terror training in Pakistan. Since millions of TJ proselytisers travel around the world, TJ also developed a large following in Chechnya and Dagestan areas of Russia, Somalia and other African countries. Raman wrote that intelligence agencies of these countries suspected that terror organisations based in Pakistan were using the cover of TJ preaching for creating sleeper cells in different countries. As a result, TJ was black-listed and its preachers denied visas.”
B Raman, one of the most brilliant R&AW officers, passed away in 2013.

In Sri Lanka, too

In a piece titled “The road to Sri Lanka Carnage” on Rediff.com, the well-known security analyst Praveen Swami linked Mohammad Muhsin Nilam, a Sri Lankan, to Zahran Hashim who was responsible for the Colombo bombings. Also known as Abu Shuraya, Nilam was killed in Raqqa, the ISIS capital. Nilam’s story is key to understanding the networks thought to be responsible for the carnage in Colombo. Swami says that Tablighi Jamaat had begun to grow roots among Sri Lankan Muslims from the early 21st century. Swami says, “Educated in Sharia law at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, an institution where Osama bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam once taught, Nilam had encountered with the Tablighi Jamaat. In 2011, when Nilam returned to his home in Kandy in Sri Lanka, he first worked as part-time Urdu instructor at Colombo University. When he was principal of a school in Galewala, he played a key role in Zahran’s group. Then, in 2014, feigning to go on a pilgrimage with his six children, pregnant wife, and ageing parents, he took them to Turkey and disappeared across the border into Syria. He posted in his Facebook post: “We will kill every man, woman, child, Shia, Sunni, Zoroastrians, Kurds, Christians.” Nilam had recruited for ISIS 36 Sri Lankans, maybe 100, including his friend, Thauqeer Ahmed Thajudeen. Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaat and Tablighi Jamaat have identical goals and their interests converge. Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaat is the mentor of Sri Lanka’s National Thowheed Jamaat, which delivered the bombs in Sri Lanka. There is no Thowheed Jamaat outside India and Sri Lanka.

Now, the climax

And now the climax, for the unwary. Where was this noble-looking evil born? India. Who founded it? Indian. Name? Maulana Mohammed Illyasi. When? In 1920s. Where is its global headquarters? Nizamuddin West Delhi! The place of its annual meet in which hundreds of Tablighis from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China and other coronavirus hotspots participated. The outbreak was astonishingly in control in India till Nizamuddin exploded as a grave and dangerous national threat. TJ with its headquarters in India now functions in some 80 countries with some 80 million adherents.
In a 173-page paper titled “Tablighi Jamaat: Wolf in sheep’s skin [Sept 9, 2018; released to media again after the Nizamuddin episode] Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a Zionist and multi-award-winning anti-jihadist journalist and a counterterrorism specialist, unravels the massive following of JT and its terror connections the world over. Thousands of TJ teachers from within and outside assemble in India and that is what they did in Nizamuddin. Is it just to memorise the six noble principles or as Dr Farhan says “to discuss and coordinate terror activities”, will never be known in India, as no government has the guts to enter any mosque, thanks to the way secularism is understood in our politics.Unless this limit is breached and the menace is outlawed, innocent Muslims attracted by its cosmetic exterior of Koran cannot be saved from becoming carriers of Kalashnikovs and makers and throwers of lethal bombs. Let the courts decide whether TJ’s right to mentor terror in India also constitutes minority right, as is so far being understood.

S GURUMURTHY
The author is a commentator on political and economic affairs



Comments(57)

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  • Rahul

    Astonishing!!! BAN THEM!! HOW come they are permitted in India and how did Authorities give permission for the congegration?!!
    11 months ago reply
  • Logical

    nothing new. World knows it and use them. Tablighis are for sale. This govt. didn't buy them. China bought them this time to bring down Asia which has BCG vaccination. Muslim population is least vaccinated
    1 year ago reply
  • Biju

    It's been sad days in the Indian media since many years now. The days when names like "Indian Express" symbolised trust are long gone now
    1 year ago reply
  • kompella

    What a funny. i am not have any hope for other govt
    1 year ago reply
  • dinesh

    He copy a lot of negative news from wikipedia
    1 year ago reply
    • Aslam Noor

      The truth is seen by you are negative
      1 year ago reply
  • Vijay Kranti

    It's an excellent and timely published article. The author should have also mentioned the role of Tabligi Jamat in converting Sufi Islamist culture of Kashmir into a Sunni Jehadist culture over past 40 years. Dozens of groups each comprising of 4-5 young Tabligies have been traversing the KASHMIR Valley for decades like an army of termites to make the Kashmiri Muslims shun away their soft Sufi culture which had enough space for the Hindus
    1 year ago reply
  • moin

    Gurumurthy is RSS progeny and is known as Tughlak Murthy.
    1 year ago reply
    • World citizen

      The statements and hard facts are listed. No judgement given by him You decode
      1 year ago reply
  • kashif

    The author has absolutely no clue about Tablighi Jamaat. Just copy paste statements from here and there. He is not even aware of the two Jamaat groups that exist in India. Just writing articles to stay relevant.
    1 year ago reply
  • nathan

    Well researched and well written article. Coming as it is from the pen of a prolific writer and thinker
    1 year ago reply
  • keerthi

    unexpectedly enlightening article..
    1 year ago reply
  • HuMaN

    A Chance for Mr Gurumurthy to villyfy & demonise Muslim
    1 year ago reply
    • Badri narayanan poondi

      no need for anyone to villify demons among the Muslims, they are too transparently horiible and villify their own community. You have no balls to restrain the radicals among you and spit venom on people who expose the dangers of radicals based on facts on public domain, not just give their own wild opinions like you. Very hurt by your comment but you people are known to enjoy hurting others anyway. When would the merciful Malik give you all sense befitting civilized humans...?!!
      1 year ago reply
  • quicker

    Just for Info: The Writer is an RSS Ideologue. He should do some introspection first.
    1 year ago reply
  • Shahul

    But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene
    1 year ago reply
  • Harish

    Islam is Extremism.
    1 year ago reply
  • Harish

    Very well researched and written. Also should watch the personal account of Arif Ajakia where he explains how it works and how it affects the society.
    1 year ago reply
  • H

    Is Mr Ajit Doval sleeping?It appears he has been in slumber for very long.
    1 year ago reply
    • vasu

      yes
      1 year ago reply
  • Ramkrishnan N

    This organization has been around for a long time. And is philosophy and ideology is well known. And it's world headquarters is right there in the Indian Capital close to Mr. Amit Shah's office. So
    1 year ago reply
    • Dandapani

      So Amith shah is responsible. Ha. If BJP Government had interven in their
      1 year ago reply
  • A BC

    This is laughable. They are a peace loving group. If any of this is factual
    1 year ago reply
    • EQ8Rhomes

      That's funny. They surely sound like a "piece- of -India" community advocating a 2nd Partition.
      1 year ago reply
  • Jai

    Eye opener!
    1 year ago reply
  • AK Nawaz

    If we can take references from worldwide published articles in renowned magazines and Dailies about RSS - Author can write much bigger opinion than this. All his allegations are baseless and misleading.
    1 year ago reply
  • R A

    How Delhi has become headquarter for "!$window to terrorismc and also FPI used for funding activities like distributing peace in Delhi whether earlier dispensations were making use of it? Let there be time bound hi
    1 year ago reply
  • Mohan Patel

    Eerie similarities with RSS
    1 year ago reply
  • Dr Haleem

    Respected Sir
    1 year ago reply
  • Kumar Mangalam

    Propaganda article vilifying Muslims in general and TJ in particular. At the right time when the ground is fertile for justifying such allegations. Easy to swing the mind of readers. A thorough SIT probe under direct supervision of our honourable SC should be conducted and action initiated if the allegations hold true.
    1 year ago reply
  • Ameeruddin Syed

    There are anti-social elements in every Community like RSS terrorists of Malegaon blasts
    1 year ago reply
    • Badri narayanan poondi

      The Myth of Hindu Terror has been bust long ago and people no better about the facts. You cant bury the glaring extremism and hate mongering by such side tracking falsities.
      1 year ago reply
  • Dileep

    So the Jamaat is a place where young men, who join in the name of piety and social service, are scouted by other fundamentalist organisation to carry out their fundamentalist agenda. So the Tablighi Jamaat is like the RSS? And the other terror orgs similar to the VHP and Bhajarang Dal? Got it. Funny how every fundamentalist organisation is the same.
    1 year ago reply
    • RK

      Pls show evidence regarding RSS as fundamentalist org. Do u even know there is a RSS Muslim wing.
      1 year ago reply
  • Avijit

    fantastic article...well researched and well written
    1 year ago reply
  • MD

    when the entire country is fighting against this pandemic. you have done a great job by writing a note on how these people are linked to terrorist. That too referring to pakistani journalist and a zionist observations ... Those who are infected will either die or will face legal actions. what do you believe.
    1 year ago reply
  • Mac

    Why this organization is still not banned in India. No doubt why communist
    1 year ago reply
  • Mari

    What was the need for them to condut this event at this crisis situation. Who has given them the permission to conduct this kind of mega event?. Very unfortunate that this event has happened at this critical crisis situation triggering in increasing the numbers exponentially
    1 year ago reply
  • raja

    S GURUMURTHY The author is a commentator on political and economic affairs .. ... More info about the author please....
    1 year ago reply
  • S k Agarwal

    Kudos to the writer for going so deep research. Now apart from spreading Corona Virus in India
    1 year ago reply
  • jj

    mosques should be monitored....nationally
    1 year ago reply
  • gaffur

    this is an opinion
    1 year ago reply
    • Badri narayanan poondi

      he had cited documented reports and findings to support the reality revealed to the world already and still unaddressed in India.
      1 year ago reply
  • Saransh

    Ban RSS first. RSS turns people to fundamentalism. Indians are so full of hate and fear of muslims that they have managed to turn a pandemic into Hindu-Muslim. What a vile society.
    1 year ago reply
    • Human being

      Man I have sensible freinds from all community and also muslim freinds.There is no hate or fear of any good behaved well mannered person . Don't you read about bombings mosques in Pakistan or other muslim countries
      1 year ago reply
  • veena vyas

    I suspect these people deliberately got infected and started to spread it across the county
    1 year ago reply
    • Badri narayanan poondi

      This is what made people to doubt if they are like suicide squads who are prepared to die for a 'cause' they have been indoctrinated to serve? They refuse to be isolated tested and treated and escape into the country's states with risk of infecting more people
      1 year ago reply
    • Sadaquat

      Brother can you do it the same with the rewards of unlimited money ?? Please think about it
      1 year ago reply
  • Mutalo

    It is an act of terrorism and all to be in jail with mo bail
    1 year ago reply
  • alpha male

    these messengers of peace have collectively contributed so effectively to th nation. thanks to them corona cases have hit a peak. they spit on health care workers
    1 year ago reply
  • A human

    A fully islam hater writer. It's "collection of opinions". Precisely saying "collection of Islam haters".
    1 year ago reply
  • G Suresh

    Frightening. The newspaper reports gave it almost a benign impression. Similar to what the exterior of islam conveys
    1 year ago reply
    • Sashi dharan

      Just imagine a newspaper like Indian express known openly supporting the peacefuls have to come up with such an article itself portray the gravity of the situation
      1 year ago reply
  • Yash Pal

    I do hope that all organisations of this kind are banned permanently. It would be good if the concerned agencies pierce the veil and make public the underhand work of such orgonisations.
    1 year ago reply
  • a.k.sehanobis

    Even now there are supports for them.D.Raja of CPI
    1 year ago reply
  • Karanth

    Well said But Indian politicians and media
    1 year ago reply
    • raja

      the commentator has expressed like a masala
      1 year ago reply
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