Rising Influence of ISIS on Indians abroad

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The Islamic State (ISIS) for some reason has been able to influence the minds of many around the world to leave their homes and join them. Their marketing campaigns have affected many to leave the comfort of their homes and join the islamic state.

Now, ISIS has successfully managed to radicalise and attract to its ranks several Indian-origin youth from the huge diaspora in West Asian countries, Indian security agencies have found.

Refusing to tell the exact number of Indians who have joined the ISIS, a top intelligence official said: “How many of Indian-origin youth have left from West Asia to join the ISIS we don’t know. We have some leads, but it is difficult to say anything conclusively now.”

Already the number of Indians who have joined the ISIS has been revised from around 25 to about 40 now.

“What is worrying is that Indians living in West Asia are a soft target for the ISIS and easy to radicalise. These Indians have their extended families and friends here and may try to influence them… We are closely monitoring this aspect,” a senior NIA official said.


The core component of Indians in ISIS is from the Indian Mujahideen (IM), whose members started fleeing in batches to Nepal in 2009-10 after the 2008 Batla House encounter to enter Pakistan where they were housed by the ISI.

The Indian Mujahideen members had then entered Afghanistan from the Kandahar side and set up the Ansar ul Tawhid, swearing allegiance to the Al Qaeda. Soon, after differences developed with the Al Qaeda, the group made its way thr-ough Iran to land up in Syria and Iraq to join the ISIS.

From the Iraq-Syria region, the group’s IT-savvy member Shafi Armar started using the Internet and social media platforms to entice Indians to join the ISIS.

The sources also added that the latest video actually comprises of pictures both old and new and is at attempt to motivate Muslims to undertake hijrah (emigration) to migrate from the lands of infidels to the land of Islam (ISIS-controlled parts of Iraq-Syria).

Interestingly, in the first-ever audio message of ISIS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in February 2014, he had given a clarion call to believers for “hijrah” to the Islamic state. India had featured a number of times in his speech.

In the latest video, ISIS member Fahad Sheikh, originally from Maharashtra, too, says: “We invite the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent to join this fight.”