“India Shaken by Case of Muslim Men Missing in Iraq”
The New York Times, August 5, 2014, p.A4
“For more than a decade, as alienated young Muslim men from all over the world left home to fight on the side of Islamists in distant conflicts, it has been a truism that they were not coming from India, a country whose participatory politics and preoccupation with nearby enemies seemed to make it an exception. That theory has been shaken this summer by an unusual case. Four young men from this city on the outskirts of Mumbai — well-educated children of a rising middle class — disappeared from their homes with no warning in late May, leaving behind a note about fighting to defend Islam. Investigators traced them to Mosul and have said they were recruited over the Internet by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — a process that, while relatively well-known in the West, has not been documented in India. The case, though still viewed as an aberration, has opened up the unsettling possibility that Indian Muslims could be vulnerable for recruitment into sectarian conflicts in the Middle East via the Internet. Officials in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, in the north, have taken notice of youths displaying ISIS banners and insignia in recent days, and on Sunday, the authorities in the southern state of Tamil Nadu detained a young man for questioning over a social media posting showing a large group of Indian Muslims in ISIS T-shirts. In a country that is home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population, and that has long struggled with low-level domestic terrorism, the possibility of a returning flow of well-trained jihadis is a chilling prospect.”
Quickie Analysis: Given that India has more than a billion people, it’s not surprising that some Indians have gone to fight jihad. All the same, it’s definitely something to keep a close eye on.