Muslim boy chants for death of Hindus at PFI rally: From Khilafat to ISIS, how Kerala has evolved as the fountainhead of Islamism in India

From giving threats over Babri Masjid to characterising Hindus as 'Sanghis', the recent rally of PFI paints a grim picture of dystopian realities in Kerala.

Over a century back, in 1921, local Muslims from Malabar in present-day Kerala rose in ‘rebellion’ to support the Caliphate in Turkey under the Khilafat movement. Mohandas Gandhi, the new firebrand leader in the Congress thought of them as ‘Nationalist Muslims’ fighting against the British Empire. He rallied for their legitimacy and the Khilafat Movement spread among Muslims all over the country.

While Gandhi thought that universal Islam could be an answer to British Colonialism, what conspired in Kerala was a brutal genocide of Hindus in the Malabar region. Fanned by Islamism, radical extremists who had taken up the cause of reinstating the Caliphate in Turkey, massacred their godless ‘Kafir’ brethren in the thousands. According to British records, over 10,000 Hindus were murdered by radical Moplah Muslims in the massacre that started in 1921. Even though the event has been whitewashed in Indian history books, it worked as the firm foundation of radical Islam in Kerala in modern history.

The Khilafat Movement – beyond its much-contested contributions to the Indian Freedom struggle, saw disintegrated Islamic Imperialism paving way for the radicalization of the masses through religious fundamentalism. The latter was the ideological successor of the former. The pattern had ground to become a paradigm in Kerala during the crumbling economy of the state due to the advent of Communism.

The stunted economic growth of Kerala with successive Communist Governments invariably affected the rate of unemployment in the state. This forced many in Kerala, including a large number of Muslims to move to the Gulf and middle-eastern countries in search of employment. In the Arabic countries, the Muslim diaspora from Kerala became vulnerable to the practices of Wahabi Islam – a puritanical interpretation of Islamic practices purging influence on the religion from other folds.

Wahabi Islam came to Kerala with the Muslim ex-pats and gradually cemented its ideological base in the political realm. This happened due to the increased economic influence of Keralites who came back home with wielded economic conditions. Today, funds aimed at redefining Islam according to Wahabi principles are released in Kerala from institutions in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia has pledged 2.5 million Saudi Riyal (SR) to Islamic Mission Trust, Mallapuram in Kerala, which was registered with the MHA, ostensibly for constructing an arts and science college building. funding from the Gulf is immense – with India receiving Rs. 1,700 Crore funds from Saudi Arabia in 2015. Lately, Senior Malayalam journalist MP Basheer has revealed radical Islamic organisations such as the Popular Front of India and Jamaat-e-Islami were being given huge funds to promote Islamism in India.

As revealed by Bashir in the backdrop of the Hijab controversy in Karnataka, Jamaat-e-Islami requested the King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia to increase the financial grant to the radical Islamic organisations to promote the Islamic dress code in Kerala and India. The organisation also had funds from an Islamic university in Jeddah for the same. A convenient economic route for harbouring Islamism in India comes via Kerala, which has developed as a new epicentre of religious extremism in the country.

The Popular Front of India, which has its roots in Kerala is leading a wave of radicalisation in the country and is already touted as the resurrection of the banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Formed in UP’s Aligarh in 1977, SIMI was run by fundamentalist and extremist students, who worked on the ideas of establishing Sharia and governing the country based on the Quran and thus carrying out “Jihad” for the cause of Islam. 

In 2006 with an active base in the southern states, the PFI was instituted and its political outfit SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India) which came into the picture later, has been involved in several political killings and religious conversions, apart from radicalizing students. With resources in place, the PFI, SDPI and Jamaat-e-Islami are slowly executing their goal in promoting radical Islam with Kerala as their base.

According to the NIA, PFI has also been involved in influencing and mobilizing the youth to join ISIS and wage war in Afghanistan and the middle east for the Islamist cause. Kerala has a very high recruitment rate to ISIS as compared to other states in the country, with many having backgrounds in Science and engineering. In strategic information warfare, Islamic organizations spread their propaganda in local languages including Malayalam with a motive to attract new people to Jihad.

In September 2021, the NIA apprehended several persons in Kerala over terror-related charges with suspicions of the existence of Islamic State sleeper cells operating in the state. The agency has arrested two women, Mizha Siddeeque and Shifa Harris from Kannur for having connections with ISIS terrorist Mohammed Ameen and spreading ISIS terrorism using social media platforms. Ameen hails from Kerala’s Malappuram and visited Kashmir to spread terrorism with direct links of funding to ISIS.

Recently, a video of a PFI demonstration from Alappuzha, Kerala went viral in which a young boy was seen shouting, “Be ready for your death rituals if you won’t live in our land quietly. Be ready with rice flakes to fill your mouth, if you won’t live quietly (For Hindus). Be ready to burn amber in your home if you won’t live quietly (For Christians). Because we are coming, we are your death.” Joined by a thousand other PFI members who were cheering the chants, the boy went on to say, “We won’t go to Pakistan or Bangladesh, you have to live here as we say, or else we know how to make you live quietly, we will kill you even if we are attacked. We take pride in being a martyr, we salute them. If you won’t live quietly, we know how to ask for Azadi.”

From giving threats over Babri Masjid to characterising Hindus as ‘Sanghis’, the recent rally of PFI paints a grim picture of dystopian realities in Kerala. The video prompted us to get into the history and look at the Hinduphobic and anti-Christian chants in the context of the much-seeped Islamic fundamentalism among the masses in the state. The undercurrents have opened the floodgates now, and Islamic radical elements are unapologetic like never before. The dire attempts of turning Kerala into a hotbed of fanatic Islamism thus cannot go unchecked. 

Source: Muslim boy chants for death of Hindus at PFI rally: From Khilafat to ISIS, how Kerala has evolved as the fountainhead of Islamism in India (opindia.com)

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