THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police department has asked the state government to ban the circulation of 14th-century Arabic text Mashari al-Ashwaq Ila Masari al-Ushaaq, better known as the ‘book of jihad’, which allegedly motivates youngsters to join terrorist organisations. Following the request, the government has formed a three-member committee to scrutinise its content.
The committee headed by PRD Director S Harikishore also consists of Internal Security IG G Sparjan Kumar and National University for Advanced Legal Studies former vice-chancellor N K Jayakumar.
Former state police chief Loknath Behera in 2020 and incumbent chief Anil Kant in July this year had recommended a ban on the circulation of the book on all platforms, including on social media.
They had written to the government that the book contains extremist literature and lures youth into extremism. It was also said that the text has been motivating youngsters to get embedded with international terror outfits, including the Islamic State.
Mashari al Ashwaq is a medieval text written by Damascene scholar Ahmad Ibrahim Muhammad al Dimashqi al Dumyati, popularly known as Ibn Nuhaas. He is said to have been killed while fighting the Byzantine army in 1411. The IS sympathisers in Kerala had, meanwhile, brought out the book’s Malayalam translation, which was named Vijayathinte Vathil Vaalinte Thanalil, and circulated online.
Book of jihad grows in stature, courtesy Islamic State
The book largely remained obscure till it was picked up by Egyptian Islamist leader Sayyid Qutb. Its literature has been used by the propaganda machinery of various militant and terror outfits since then. Al Qaeda’s US-Yemeni ideologue Anwar Al Awlaki’s audio rendition of the book made it famous among international jihadi elements. However, Ibn Nuhaas’ works got the biggest push after the onset of Islamic State. The IS literature and online campaigns generously quoted from the book which, over a period of time, have grown into the stature of a classical text on jihad.