In the last audio message he sent to his family, alleged Islamic State recruit Ashfaque Ahmed asked them to leave India, which he called the Dar al-Kufr (land of the faithless) and join him in Dar al-Islam (land of Islam) under the Caliphate to fight the “holy war”.
“You must all read the Quran.You must all come here to the Caliphate… This is Paradise. This is my wish,” Ashfaque is heard pleading between sobs in a six-minute voice message sent to his brother last month, which investigators are now studying. “Once you come to land of Hijrah you must not return to the land you have come from… This is the rule here.”
Ashfaque is one of 21 Kerala youths believed to have left the country to join the IS. In his message, recorded in Malayalam, Ashfaque is heard advising his family not to look for him. “I am not planning to return… I am happy here in the land of Allah under the Caliphate.”
Until this message, the family had thought Ashfaque’s visit abroad had been to study the Quran. After the revelation, Ashfaque’s shocked father Abdul Ashfaque Ahmed approached Mumbai police and lodged a case against four people for radicalising his son.
Based on the complaint, Mumbai police registered a case on August 6 against Arshi Qureshi, a guest relationship manager with controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation; Rizwan Khan, a volunteer with Al-Birr Foundation; Abdullah Rashid, a local imam; and cleric Muhammad Haneef under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and IPC for allegedly radicalising Ashfaque.
Trailing Ashfaque’s travel between February and July, investigators have found that he left for Sri Lanka on February 23 and stayed in Jaffna to study the Quran. He returned to India in the first week of March and stayed mostly in Kerala. On May 24 he visited Mumbai for a week before leaving for Afghanistan in the first week of June along with his wife and 18-month-old daughter.
In his statement to the police, Majeed has said that after seeing his son following Salafi Islam and becoming more religious in his behaviour, he has asked his elder son and daughter-in-law to keep a watch on his movements. “When they informed him about his growing friendship with Haneef, Majeed confronted Ashfaque about it but the latter rebuked him, called him ‘un-Islamic’ and said he should follow the real Islam,” a police official said.