Express Exclusive: How men in India, Bangladesh and Maldives are getting lured to Islamic State

The Indian Express finds out how young men are increasingly being attracted to the Islamic State.

Updated: July 23, 2016 1:11 pm

The Indian Express finds out how young men are increasingly being attracted to the Islamic State.

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1. Mehdi Masroor Biswas: Terror’s propaganda tweets via Gulf, India

These are some of the 1,22,203 pro-Islamic State messages that Mehdi Masroor Biswas, a 24-year-old electrical engineer allegedly operating the ‘highly influential’ ShamiWitness account from Bangalore, is believed to have tweeted between January 25, 2013, and December 11, 2014. The handle has over 15,900 followers.

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2. Was influenced by YouTube, there will be a caliphate: ISIS sympathiser Afsha Jabeen

The only woman charged in India for association with the IS, the 38-year-old Jabeen is an unlikely figure for a jihadist. Settled in Dubai, married to a Hindu real estate agent and the mother of three young girls, she is accused of being an online recruiter who indoctrinated many using a fake identity.

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3. Wanted to join IS, return to wage war against India: Hyderabad engineer Salman Mohiuddin

The Cyberabad police has alleged that Mohiuddin, 32, the father of two, was about to fly to Dubai, from where he planned to reach Syria via Turkey to join the IS, when he was held, making him the third arrest in India for association with the terror outfit. This was months after he had to return to Hyderabad from the US over visa issues.

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4. Jr. Owaisi, e-books had impact on Indian ISIS recruit Areeb Majeed, files show

The Indian Express was the first to report about Majeed, Shaikh and two other Kalyan youths, Saheem Tanki and Aman Tandel, joining the IS. While Majeed returned home in November last year and Tanki is believed to be dead, Shaikh and Tandel remain missing.

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5. From Kerala family to ex-gangster, Islamic State pulls Maldives men

Had intelligence officials in Kerala not intervened, an elderly couple from the state would have been spending their retirement in the Islamic State — home to their three half-Indian, Thiruvananthapuram-educated sons, along with their wives and children. Indian and Western services estimate up to 200 Maldives citizens, out of a tiny population of 359,000, may now be in Iraq and Syria — the highest by far, in population-adjusted terms, of any country in the world.

Shifazee is one of the 7 Maldivians who died for IS. Shifazee is one of the 7 Maldivians who died for IS.

6. From Maldives, road to Islamic State goes via drugs, gangs and jail

The story of Hassan Shifazee is one which is increasingly common in Maldives — a society torn between conflicting values, and fuelled by a toxic cocktail of drugs and gangs. Large numbers of the estimated 200 Maldivians who have left to join IS had records of drug abuse before they turned to hardline Islamism.

Samiun Rahman in Bangladesh police custody. Samiun Rahman in Bangladesh police custody.

7. Military institute student to son of ex-judge, Islamic State taps Dhaka gen-next

Ashiqur Rahman was a very hardworking engineering student in Dhaka. Early this year, Rahman was selected for a conference in Istanbul. Then, one day in February, he disappeared. Bangladesh’s military intelligence service later told his parents that there had been no conference: their son was somewhere inside the stretch of land in Iraq and Syria controlled by Islamic State.

Watch the Indian Express exclusive video on ISIS (app users click here)