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Afghanistan-based jihadi group posts photo, online tribute to Mumbai youth ‘killed’ in Iraq

Arif, an engineering student, was one of the four men from Thane who were believed to have joined Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Written by Praveen Swami , ZEESHAN SHAIKH | Mumbai | Updated: August 30, 2014 2:19 pm
Post refers to “Shaheed Arif Majeed (Abu Ali al-Hindi)” Post refers to “Shaheed Arif Majeed (Abu Ali al-Hindi)”

Two days after Kalyan youth Arif Ejaz Majeed was reported killed fighting alongside Islamist insurgents in Iraq, the Indian jihadist group Ansar ul-Tawhid has issued an online tribute to the 23-year-old engineering student, hailing his “martyrdom”.

In the Ansar al-Tawhid eulogy, addressed to “those who are searching for paradise”, Arif is shown dressed in an Arab kaffiyeh, holding an assault rifle. The image, the first of Arif from the battlefield, was posted online on Twitter accounts and online fora linked to the Ansar ul-Tawhid.

The picture identifies Arif by a nom de guerre, describing him as “Shaheed Arif Majeed (Abu Ali al-Hindi) Rahmat Allah [may God’s mercy be upon him]”.

The Urdu-language poetic tribute says: “We gave meaning to the ritual of love [for God], though it hurt our hearts and cost us our lives; our sacrifice adds glory to the assembly of martyrs, attained after sacrificing many dreams.”

Arif was one of four youths in their 20s from the same neighbourhood of Maharashtra’s Thane district who were believed to have joined the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS), the Islamist group that has conquered large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The Ansar ul-Tawhid has been the most active of Indian jihadi groups online, posting videos of its cadres training in Pakistan’s North Waziristan and in southern Afghanistan. In recent weeks, the organisation has released Tamil, Hindi and Urdu translations of ISIS leader Ibrahim Awwad al-Badri’s claims of being the caliph of all Muslims.

Intelligence sources in New Delhi told The Indian Express that the picture on the eulogy bears out speculation that the Thane men had made contact with the Ansar ul-Tawhid, a hardline faction that broke with the Indian Mujahideen (IM), and whose cadres are now believed to be training with jihadists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands.

Searches of computers seized by investigators from the homes of the youths have indicated that they often visited forums linked to the IM and the Ansar ul-Tawhid, the sources said. However, it remained unclear whether the men had made contact with the Ansar ul-Tawhid before or after leaving for Iraq.

A Facebook account believed to have belonged to Arif Majeed has a flag of the Islamic State on its profile page, posters propounding the caliphate, and pictures that suggest the ummah has been asleep even as the community bleeds. The last post was on March 27, quoting one Abu Walid: “All those clothes in your cupboard and you don’t get to choose what to wear in the grave.”

Dr Ejaz Badruddin Majeed, Arif’s father, declined to comment on the appearance of his son’s picture on a jihadi forum. Close friends of the family said on Friday, “We have lost our son. What bigger loss could we have faced? It is a closed chapter for us now.”

Earlier this month, Ansar ul-Tawhid posted on its Twitter handle a tribute to Anwer Bhatkal, a distant relative of alleged Indian Mujahideen founder Riyaz Bhatkal, who it said had “attained martyrdom” in the Afghan jihad.

The organisation’s websites and online discussion boards have carried several appeals to Indian Muslims to join the Islamic State in Syria, urging them to train for an eventual insurgency in India.

In recent weeks, the Ansar ul-Tawhid has carried several texts and videos on the Islamic State’s ideology and military campaign, translated into Indian languages. Intelligence officials believe the organisation’s campaign, electrified by the Islamic State’s success against militarily superior forces, sees it as a patron of future jihadist operations in India.

The Indian Express has through July and August been the first to publish a series of reports on the Kalyan men, the killing of Anwer Bhatkal, the operational plans of the Ansar ul-Tawhid, and the shadowy lines that seem to connect the Indian Mujahideen with jihadis in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

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  1. M
    Aug 30, 2014 at 3:42 am
    I am not able to understand that why some of our Indian Muslim brothers are not able to see socioeconomic problem faced by people in India itself.How can anyone person can take such extreme steps on the name of religion? It is very amazing that Muslim people from across globe are joining the Islamic state.It should be subject of research that why some Muslim people are so obliged to their religion.Even in 21th century , Why people are not able to think rationally.Why is it so that conservative and extremists people have taken over the Muslim religion?Liberal Muslim people should strongly condemn the Jihadists group by tooth and nail. India is country of 20 crore Muslim people. JIhadis are seeing India as future place where poison of Jihadism could be spread.At till now India was facing terrorism which was not linked with global Jihadis but now it seems that Global Jihadi are gaining currencies in our country also.All Indian liberal Muslim people should protest against poison of Jihadi. RSS people should stop providing fodder to Muslim extremists by not making inflammatory speech against Muslim people. So many communal riots in U.P and other part of India may help in growth of Jihad in India.Global Jihadis will be very dangerous for our country because we already facing many problems related to law and order.Our dream of embarking on the path of high growth may remain dream only if Jihad takes root in India. Indian government , Liberal Muslim ,security agencies ,civil society people should make joint effort to ensure that our Muslim brothers does not get trapped in the net of Jihad.
    1. V
      Aug 30, 2014 at 3:33 am
      I am worried that reporting this kind of moronism is very dangerous to our society. I think, Indian Express, you are better than being a stupid and playing into the hands of the z1h@d1 morons; you did exactly what they wanted. May be this is the right time that PTI takes a stand on ignoring these s and stop reporting them.
      1. A
        Aug 30, 2014 at 4:01 am
        Good riddance.
        1. A
          Afzal Firdaus
          Aug 30, 2014 at 6:49 am
          Another Rotherham victim, invisible to the authorities before it became too late, was Laura Wilson. The 17-year-old, who is thought to have been groomed when a young teenager by stani men, ended up being stabbed in the head, pushed into a canal and left to die by her boyfriend, Ashtiaq Ashgar, 18, when she became pregnant after an affair with one of his friends.
          1. A
            anil chejara
            Aug 30, 2014 at 4:11 am
            This incident shows how social network addiction can be dangerous for youth and country in coming years. Now some of these terrorist groups have started tracking young and amateur people via Facebook, Whatsapp and other social networks. They connect with them and and do brain wash with wrong information. Once successful, they use them in different attacks or missions. However there are very few cases but each case creates a huge distress among society because people don't believe in what just happened to the guy whom they knew for a decade.It make the people around more scared of what they are dealing with and it lasts for a very long time. Take another case in Jaipur engineering student for example who were also involved in terrorist activites, Now people started to doubt students and it made life tough for other students. How This Problem can be solved (In My Opinion).I think the main reason behind these cases is absence of Pep Talk and Personal counseling. In India Parents don't talk to young volatile mind often, listen personal problem voluntarily and hence fail to realize what's wrong. We need to have very good personal counseling in all school and insutes also. It will not only help people to resolve personal problems but also give them a way to reach their potential. I think in India we always focus on Results in terms of Academic or Job but not the Process behind and this is where it make youth very vulnerable and emotional unstable.
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