Ayub Sheikh, the founder member of the Vijay Tarun Mandal says
“No Muslim should feel offended or hurt by the video that will be screened at our pandal. The menace of youths joining terrorist organisations is not a social work. We should create an awareness against it, which is the need of the hour”.
Mandal president Nadeem Aaga also seconded his opinion.
The Maharashtra Police on Thursday denied permission to a Ganesh mandal’s plan to screen a video on the four Kalyan youths who are believed to have joined the Islamic State (IS). The mandal’s counsel Bhikaji Salvi, however, claimed that they secured a stay order from the Bombay High Court against the police action.
The police served the notice to the Kalyan-based Vijay Tarun Mandal, asking it to delete a major portion of the 10-minute video if it wants to go ahead with the screening. The video clip reportedly seeks to garner public opinion on the issue of Muslim youths being indoctrinated by Islamic extremists.
Mandal organisers claimed that they had been debating “social and contemporary topics and displaying related visuals” at pandals for the past 51 years. As per the rules, the organisers of Ganesh festivities have to seek permission from the police and will also have to explain to them in detail the theme of the show. The police in their notice said that the content of the video footage would hurt the sentiments of other communities and create a law and order problem.
However, the pandal organisers claimed that the show was intended to create social awareness. “The show was intended to create awareness on the problem of youths being indoctrinated by Islamic extremists. They make these youths abandon their studies and carry out terrorist activities across the world,” said Vijay Salvi, one of the trustees of Vijay Tarun Mandal.
Vijay Tarun Mandal, according to organisers, has members belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities.
“No Muslim should feel offended or hurt by the video that will be screened at our pandal. The menace of youths joining terrorist organisations is not a social work. We should create an awareness against it, which is the need of the hour,” said Ayub Sheikh, the founder member of the Vijay Tarun Mandal. Mandal president Nadeem Aaga also seconded his opinion.
Mandal counsel Salvi said the organisers would remove the image of mosque from the poster as it was the place of worship. “This shows that Vijay Mandal has more respect for Muslims’ place of worship. At the same time, these misled youth believe that they would go to heaven by becoming a jehadi. Whether one goes to heaven or not is decided by their deeds, and I personally do not think heaven would welcome these misguided youths,” said Sheikh.
Vijay Tarun Mandal has reportedly received several awards and recognitions from the police for organising disciplined and peaceful Ganesh festivities.
Arif Majeed, one of the four youngsters from Kalyan suspected of joining Sunni insurgents in Iraq, reportedly died in a bomb blast in Mosul a few days ago.
Although Maharashtra ATS and Thane police have no official confirmation of his death, Arif’s family performed ‘Janaza-e-gayabana’ (prayers for the departed soul in absence of the body) on Wednesday, a family friend Ateek Khan told agencies.
As per reports, Shaheen Tanki, who along with Arif, Fahad Tanvir Sheikh and Aman Naim Tandel, had disappeared during a trip to Iraq in May, called his family on Tuesday and informed them about his death.
According to sources, the Thane police said till they receive official confirmation about the death of Arif, they would continue to treat the matter as a missing case. However, an officer in Maharashtra ATS, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “There is no reason to disbelieve the information about Arif’s death in a bomb blast in Iraq.”
These lines seem from a fiction thriller. Sadly, they aren’t fiction.
“I do not want to live in this sinful country; the sun is setting on our backyard. It is time to take that greatest journey and migrate to the land of Allah.”
“The time has come and may we all meet in paradise. I cannot live in this country; I am moved to tears watching all of you live a luxurious life style, watching TV, listening to music…”
These are lines from the letters written by Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh. Till yesterday, they were among the lakhs of ordinary residents of Kalyan in Maharashtra. Today, they have left Kalyan to seek what they believe is their true kalyan.
Fayaz and Shaikh are now global jihadis. They’ve left their homes for Iraq. Reason? They’ve decided that they must join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or the ISIS.
Naturally, Arif Fayaz’s and Fahad Shaikh’s families are a shocked and broken lot today. The boys were engineering students, in their early twenties. Also, these are no ramshackle families, but reasonably middle class households of doctors. Both boys’ disappearance was known only after one of the parents discovered a chilling note, which told their families about their sudden inspiration and departure for a cause that has only one end — death.
The distraught parents have filed complaints about their missing boys with the Kalyan police. They have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking their help. Till yesterday, their boys were bright students, and the parents hoped they would complete their studies and acquire decent jobs.
That was yesterday.
The parents still cannot believe what has hit them. They are shell-shocked, unable to even understand what brought about this change in their kids. Far from being the archetypal Islamic fanatics, Fayaz and Shaikh weren’t even religious, leave alone fanatical, the parents have stated in their complaint.
The tragic cases of Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh bring to the fore the growing threat of religious indoctrination of Muslims in India. The Internet and its reach has only made the task easier. The ISIS is the latest and according to global terrorism experts and watchers, the deadliest among worldwide Islamic terrorist outfits. It has been waging a war against the Iraqi government with a declared intent of overthrowing it to establish a full-fledged Islamic Caliphate on the lines of the 7th century Islamic rule of the religion’s founder Prophet Mohammad. The ISIS has, in fact taken the towns of Tikrit and Mosul from Iraqi government forces and its self-styled Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has already declared the areas under ISIS control to be the Islamic world’s new Caliphate.
Of particular concern to intelligence agencies is the growing radicalization of Muslim youths, which includes the Indian subcontinent. In recent years, the Wahhabi sect of Islam has gained increasing traction in the Muslim world. Wahhabism propagates intolerant Islamic zealotry, which enjoins all Muslims to wage unrelenting war upon all non-Muslims in the world. It also exhorts Muslims to totally reject all forms of modern civilization and embrace the strict puritanical Islamic living.
More worrying is the fact that an increasing number of young Muslims, including those in India, have begun believing this to be the only way to “clean up” the world. Kalyan’s Arif Fayaz came under the Wahhabi spell sometime back. He would object to the way his parents brought up his sister. “She watches lewd content on television and listens to music. On television, they show people smoking and dancing, and you watch that all day instead of praying. All this will lead you to burn in hell. I have to go and cleanse up the world,” he wrote in the letter to his parents.
The young wannabe jihadis men reportedly saved money over the past year and then left for Iraq on their own expense. The Intelligence Bureau has confirmed that Fayaz and Shaikh are fighting near Fallujah which is close to the Iraqi capital Baghdad. How good they are as fighters, is an entirely different question, but for the ISIS only numbers matter. For the latest Islamic Caliph, Muslims coming from various nations to join in his jihad, irrespective of their utility in the battlefield, is an Islamic boost of sorts, as having Muslims from different parts of the world strengthens the ISIS.
For the parents of Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh, their world has collapsed in the gunfire and explosions ripping apart Fallujah, a land so distant from their homes. Sadly, there may be more families like theirs who might be fated to see their boys disappear, only to join the one-way trip to jannat.