IS may have set up sleeper cells in India: Iraqi envoy


The Islamic State may have set up sleeper cells in India owing to the influence of foreign-funded Islamic seminaries and preachers who teach an exclusivist version of Islam, says the new Iraqi Ambassador to India.

Highlighting growing radicalisation in South Asia, Fakhri Hassan Al Issa told The Hindu that India should watch the Islamic seminaries and preachers more closely to understand “what kind of Islam” they were preaching.

“A particular brand of Islam that is being taught in foreign-funded seminaries in different parts of the world, including in India, is responsible for the rise of the IS. Such training automatically leads to producing of IS sympathisers. I can tell you there are such forces in India who impart such a teaching,” he said. This new brand of schools, he said, was divesting Islam of its humanitarian and tolerant traditions.

“Islamic seminaries and televangelists are powerful tools in the war that the IS is waging, and that is why countries should exercise more control on these sections,” he said.

Mr. Issa, who lost four of his family members in the massive bombing in Baghdad on July 3 that killed 300 and injured hundreds more, said Iraq and Syria were the victims of a few powerful regional intelligence organisations in West Asia and North Africa that were using the radicalised youths from different parts of the world as cannon fodder for their wars. “The radicalised youths do not understand that they are the puppets who are motivated by a brand of religion and are used by intelligence agencies fighting proxy wars in West Asia,” he said.

He said India and Iraq were cooperating on security, but avoided going into details. There was no point in denying that radicalised elements found a fertile ground in South Asian countries too.

Mr. Issa said India helped Iraq deal with the IS by opening its hospitals to treat the soldiers injured in the war against the IS. “We are thankful for the medical treatment that Iraqi soldiers receive in India. The war against the IS hurts soldiers and kills the sympathisers who have no idea that they are mere puppets whose death helps greater strategic games in the West Asian region.”

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