Hyderabad: The Minorities Commission of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday launched a campaign against Islamic State (IS) by roping in imams of mosques to create awareness among Muslim youth about the terrorist organisation.
The campaign, said to be the first by any state minorities commission in the country, comes in the wake of recent arrests of seven Muslim youth in Hyderabad, allegedly owing allegiance to the IS.
The commission launched the campaign with a seminar on ‘ISIS – Interpreting reality’ here on Saturday. Speakers including intellectuals, religious scholars, bureaucrats, lawyers and activists made suggestions to wean away youth from the ideology of the terror outfit.
The commission’s Chairman Abid Rasool Khan said the ‘imams’ during their sermons next Friday will speak on the dangers posed by IS and to warn Muslim youth against falling into its trap.
The speakers said that IS had nothing to do with Islam and that its activities were in fact damaging Islam and Muslims across the world. They advised youth not to allow themselves to be misled by the propaganda of the terror group on social media.
The speakers suggested setting up a body for counselling youth arrested for allegedly trying to join IS.
Omer Jaleel, Secretary (minorities’ welfare) of Telangana government, said the time had come for every Muslim to stand up and be counted against IS.
He said IS had nothing Islamic about it.
“Its acts of killing and burning people and committing other barbaric acts have nothing to do with Islam,” he said.
Jaleel said ‘Islamic State’ is a misnomer given that Islam means peace and tranquillity. “It should be called just a terrorist group,” he said.
Mohammed Ali Rafath, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, described IS as a global conspiracy to put Islam and Muslims on the defensive. He said IS was the product of the same forces that put up Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
“By doing this, these powers have achieved their objective of diverting world’s attention from their atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine,” he said.
Rafath said IS was part of the larger conspiracy by the capitalist and imperialist forces who want to grab precious resources of the region.
Blaming the US and its allies for creating chaos in Iraq and Syria by pitting Sunnis and Shias against each other, he said, “If they don’t stay out of Muslim world it will cost them dearly tomorrow”.
Eminent lawyer Shafeeq Mohajir said the manner in which IS has rapidly spread to large area of world and waging war against established armies leaves no one in doubt that there are governments behind this phenomenon.
He said the sense of persecution and injustice may draw youth towards such outfits. He said the administration should address the sense of injustice and inequality.
Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said a religion can’t be blamed for its misuse by a few people.
The religious scholar said that peace can be brought by ensuring justice and not by the use of force.
He said the US and allies under a conspiracy created chaos in Asia and Africa for their own interests.
He appealed to the youth not to become tools in the hands of organisations like IS out of desperation, saying it was espousing ‘Fasad’ (anarchy) and not ‘Jihad’ (the struggle against injustice).