‘How can my son join ISIS… he is in regular touch with us’

Family of Kashmiri youth suspected to have joined jihadists say he never showed Islamist leaning.

Written by Mir Ehsan , Praveen Swami | Srinagar/new Delhi | Published on:August 7, 2014 1:53 am

Family members of 26-year-old Kashmiri Adil Fayaz, who according to security agencies has joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), say they are devastated on hearing the news about their son joining the Sunni extremists’ group. They say he was a bright student who never showed any leaning towards any Islamist group.

“We spoke to him just three days ago via Skype. We frequently talked to him and he never mentioned anything about joining any Islamic organisation. He did not even discuss the situation in Syria or Gaza with us whenever he contacted us. For us he is in Turkey and working with a non-governmental organisation,” Adil’s father Fayaz Ahmad Vaid told The Indian Express.

Adil graduated in Business Administration and then completed his Masters in Commerce from Kashmir University. In 2010, after the family got a bank loan of 20 lakh, he went to Australia’s Queensland University, from where he did his Masters in Business Administration.

His father did not reveal the name of the NGO that employed Adil a year ago. “Last year, after completing his degree, my son came to Kashmir. Initially he was looking for a job in Australia but couldn’t get one. He had applied for a job in countries like Qatar, Dubai and Turkey. He told us that he got a good job in Turkey,’’ said Vaid, flanked by his relatives.

Adil’s family members say they came to know about his recruitment into ISIS through newspaper reports. “How can my son join ISIS even if he is not missing for months or years? He is in regular touch with us,” said Vaid.

The family lives in the upscale Jawahar Nagar locality in Srinagar and owns a supermarket chain. “Adil was born after six years of our marriage when I prayed at every shrine across the Valley. I wish he lives and comes back. This news has devastated our family. I wish and pray this is all false,” said Adil’s mother.

Adil’s maternal uncle Mohammad Aslam said his nephew would pray five times a day since childhood but was never strict towards religion. “We were planning to get him married. He had promised that he will come to Kashmir in September and will get married, I don’t think he will be able to come now unless his name gets cleared by the Indian Embassy and other agencies,” he said.

Adil’s name, intelligence sources told The Indian Express, was first brought to the attention of Indian authorities in March, when a delegation of the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) raised it in discussions with the Intelligence Bureau. ASIO officers told their Indian counterparts that Adil was among over 600 Australian citizens, mainly of West Asian origin, who were serving with jihadists in Syria.

His case is the third involving Indian citizens serving with jihadists in Syria and Iraq. Last month, The Indian Express revealed that four youths from Kalyan, near Mumbai, had travelled to Iraq to fight with jihadists there. Earlier, Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali, a Singapore-based Tamil Nadu resident, was reported to …continued »

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