Missing Mumbai youth from Kalyan reported killed in Iraq

Arif, an engineering student, was one of four men from Thane who went missing from their homes in May.

Written by Gautam Sandip Mengle , ZEESHAN SHAIKH , Deepak Joshi | Mumbai | Updated: August 28, 2014 7:38 am
kalyan-boy Relatives of Arif Fayyaz Majeed meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh. (Source: IE photo: Deepak Joshi)

Arif Ejaz Majeed, one of the four young men from Kalyan near Mumbai who were thought to have joined insurgents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has reportedly been killed in fighting in Iraq.

Arif, an engineering student, was one of four men from Kalyan who went missing from their homes in May. Arif’s family — along with the families of the other three men, Fahad Tanvir Sheikh, Aman Naim Tandel and Saheem Farooq Tanki — went to the police some days after they disappeared.

The Indian Express first reported the disappearances on July 14.

Iftikhar Khan, an uncle of Fahad Sheikh, said the news of Arif’s death in Iraq was conveyed by Saheem Farooq Tanki, who called his family in Thane on Tuesday night.

“Saheem called us at 6 pm on Monday and told us about Arif’s death. He was sobbing throughout and asked us to go and inform Arif’s family. He later called us at once again in the night to check if we had informed his (Arif’s) family,” Kashif Tanki, a relative, said.

Saheem’s family passed on the information both to Arif’s family and to the Kalyan police.

Friends of Arif’s family said that his father, who is a doctor, was shattered by the news and was inconsolable. The family performed Arif’s last rites in absentia on Wednesday.

The Indian Express first reported the disappearances on July 14.

“The Ghaibaana Namaaz-e-Janaaza, which is a funeral prayer for times when the body is not available, was offered after the Zuhr (afternoon) namaaz by the family,” said a resident of the housing society in which the Majeed family lives. Members of the families of the other three youth were present at the namaaz, neighbours said.

The Bazaarpeth police have recorded the statements of Saheem’s family, and were on Wednesday attempting to verify the report of Arif’s death. “Saheem said that he had made inquiries about Arif’s whereabouts and well being, and learned that he had died. Saheem did not have any more details. There has been no official confirmation yet from any of the investigating agencies,” Iftikhar Khan said.

The four families live in the same Dudh Naka-Govindwadi area of Kalyan (West). The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had picked up laptops and pen drives from the youths’ homes on the evening of July 14. Late on July 18 evening, Arif’s father, Ejaz Badruddin Majeed, had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi, and handed him a letter, reportedly seeking action against the people who had radicalised his son and persuaded him to join the jihadis in the Middle East.

The Indian Express broke the story on July 14, 2014. The Indian Express broke the story on July 14, 2014.

Before leaving home, Arif had left behind a letter saying “fighting has been enjoined upon you”, and telling his mother that the “angel of death” will ask him why he didn’t migrate to “Allah’s land”. In the letter, the son told his family, “May we all meet in Paradise.”

ISIS, the ruthless Sunni extremist militia which Arif, Fahad, Aman and Saheem were believed to have joined, now calls itself the Islamic State (IS). It shocked the world this month by uploading on the Internet a video of the grisly beheading of American journalist James Foley.

Police sources had told The Indian Express last month that the four men flew to Baghdad on May 23 as part of a group of 22 pilgrims intending to visit religious shrines in Iraq. Arif had called his family from Baghdad on May 24, apologising for having left without telling them.

He had claimed he had travelled in the hope of finding a job there. He had phoned again on May 25, this time to reassure his family that he was well.

Later that evening, other pilgrims on the trip told investigators, Arif, Fahad, Aman and Saheem had hired a taxi to Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad which has emerged as the epicentre of Iraq’s deadly insurgency. The four Kalyan men had gone silent thereafter. Iraqi intelligence had found Arif’s cellphone connected to a tower in the Mosul area before going dead — and on Wednesday, intelligence sources in India said Arif’s death had likely occurred in the same area.

“The radicalisation of the youths seems to have taken place online,” a Maharashtra Police official had told The Indian Express in July, “with news of atrocities in the region inflaming their passions”.

Last year, Pakistani al-Qaeda ideologue Asim Umar had called on Indians to join the global jihad. The ISIS has cited India as a key concern for global jihadists. In Internet chatrooms where Islamists congregate, messages have been posted calling on Indians to join up, to prepare themselves for what is being described as the coming communal apocalypse.

Internet propaganda has drawn thousands of young people from distant countries to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Hundreds of volunteers from Europe, the UK, US and Australia have been reported to be participating in the wars, along with some numbers of Pakistanis. Foley’s murderer is said to have had a South London accent.

In his letter, Arif appeared to reject his family’s values. “I cried when I saw you all sinning, smoking cigarettes, taking interest, watching TV, illegal sexual intercourse, living luxurious lives, intermingling of sexes, not praying, not growing beards.These things will lead to you burning in the hell-fire,” he said.

He had harsh words, in particular, for his sister, and female cousins, who all watched television, “a professional way to ensure nudity, lewdness, obscenity and disbelief prevail. It is a major sin. In it is music, which is an instrument of Satan”.

“He was a good boy,” Arif’s father had said then. “He was very religious, never spent time in bad company, never chased after girls, never seemed attracted to violence.”

“O Mother,” Arif wrote. “The sun is setting in the backyard of our house, behind the mountain and I have told my friend that we will meet there for our greatest journey. It is a blessed journey for me because I don’t want to live in this sinful country. At the time of my death, the angel of death will ask me why I did not make hijra (migrate) to Allah’s land, which is spacious.”

 

 

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  1. A
    Alok
    Aug 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm
    One should be clear "eduction" won't change Jihadi's way of thinking.
    Reply
    1. A
      Amit
      Aug 27, 2014 at 5:02 pm
      As Modi said in the Independence day speech, these boys neither do good for themselves, neither for their family.. Now he has left behind inconsolable father..
      Reply
      1. K
        KRISHNASWAMY VENKATASUBRAMANIA
        Aug 27, 2014 at 10:47 am
        we have to pity the grieving family.It is a pity that this religion is still able to produce so much misguided radicalism which no God(if he himself is not a radical) will profess. Though it is a relief he could not do more damage, what is the guarantee he had not been eliminated by ISIS itself since he is a non arab muslim?
        Reply
        1. V
          Vijay
          Aug 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm
          what on earth were they thinking? Whats wrong in watching TV? Poorly brainwashed in the name of religion! This should not continue! Indian youth must be preserved from these stupid hawks hunting them online! This is a peace land!
          Reply
          1. S
            Sudhir
            Aug 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm
            Public Tax money should not be wasted on anti-nationals / terrorist.Spend it on millions of poor Indian & needy.
            Reply
            1. S
              sangram
              Aug 27, 2014 at 10:30 am
              hay Allha , tere lakh sukhar gujar hai..
              Reply
              1. B
                Bharathi
                Aug 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm
                Please arrange a chartered trip for much Muzzie youth volunteers.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bob S.
                  Aug 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm
                  It is sad to see some people using this to make negative comments. The negative comments should not be taken as views of general public in India. In any case, the lesson to be learned from this by muslim parents is to know what your children are doing. There are so many stories of muslim youth being radicalizing worldwide. In most cases, the parents are not radicalized but the children are. Why is that? Either the parents don't know what is happening to their children, what they are listening or the parents think that what the children are doing or involved with is harmless and even useful. It is even problamatic if the parents do not know if the children are getting radicalized online. The parents need constant communication with the children and have a relationship whereby children have no fear of communicating with the parents or elders. Regardless of whose fault it is, parenting of children has brought additional burden to muslim parents. If the parents fail to do their job, they will find all of a sudden that it is too late. As they say, children's brain are like wax. It can be given any shape. It is upto the parents to see what shape the brain takes and not depend on outsiders to give them the shape.Whatever is stated above, could apply to non-muslims also.
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    S.Gonesh
                    Aug 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm
                    Throw the terrorsists and their entire families out of India.Thy are worthless for the nation. Shut the door!
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      Praveen
                      Aug 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm
                      Government in consultations with Maulavis and repected muslim community leaders should workout a plan so that these young people can be stopped from getting radicalized. As we have a huge muslim potion and we can't afford their radicalization instead they should be an et to the country and I feel the older generation people in their community are much wiser.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Murali Dharan
                        Aug 27, 2014 at 4:53 pm
                        WHAT'S WRONG WITH THESE GUYS THAT MADE THEM JOIN ISIS? LOOKS LIKE THEY ALL HAIL FROM WELL-TO-DO FAMILIES WHO HAVE BEEN SHATTERED BY THIS NEWS.
                        Reply
                        1. H
                          H1N1
                          Aug 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm
                          Only one way to deal with terrorist. They believce in death at the end of the gun. That should be their court judgement right there and then. Security forces should question them if necessary. If they have no time....judgement should be delivered right there and then.
                          Reply
                          1. L
                            Laxi Babu
                            Aug 29, 2014 at 6:51 am
                            u r the typical example of what plagues hindu society...and by the way who discriminates against muslims ...must be you have seen ur parents do that ....dont try to deflect your families hateful mentality on to others
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              Dinesh Singh
                              Aug 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm
                              I feel for innocent misguided Indian youth and so condole his untimely death. Wasted life for foolishness which could have been used for the betterment of family and nation.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Seshagiri Rao Devaguptapu
                                Aug 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm
                                Detain guys going to Iraq or issue orders that no one will go to Iraq. At least question them when young Muslim boys are going at the immigration and p information to Indain emby in Iraq.
                                Reply
                                1. G
                                  G Kumar
                                  Aug 27, 2014 at 3:54 pm
                                  Sad to see this. But I hope all jihadists in India go there to fight with ISIS and go to their so called "Heaven" directly from there.
                                  Reply
                                  1. D
                                    Das
                                    Aug 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm
                                    Why is it sad? If he was fanatical enough to go and kill innocent Yazidis men, women and children, who are among the most peaceful people then what would anyone to stop them? FYI, he not misguided, he probably has higher IQ and better understanding than you about precisely what he was doing. They fully well knew what ISIS was doing. The macre of Shias, Kurds, Christians and Yazidi has been pastime of ISIS for sometime, and misguided ideology you speak of is not an isolated phenomenon. So wake up and smell the coffee. Incidentally, this sanitization of news and of free discussion done by IE and rest of Indian media is doing great disservice to the Indian public who are and have been among the potential victims.
                                    Reply
                                    1. H
                                      Harihar Mani
                                      Aug 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm
                                      Very sad these guys have gone to join Jihad,and gone from sinful land.Allah ho Akbar,now they will be taken direct to Jannat where they will I forget how many s and wine.They are going to stop Wine in Kerala now.OhAllah! help these brave Muslim youth.RIP.
                                      Reply
                                      1. H
                                        Hindustani
                                        Aug 27, 2014 at 10:58 am
                                        Hehehehe....kya uda rahe ho.... Feels sad for him but funny reading your ironic comments.. Hehehehe
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          Raj
                                          Aug 28, 2014 at 9:38 am
                                          Our only failure was not deporting them in 1947 when we had the chance.
                                          Reply
                                          1. G
                                            Good
                                            Aug 28, 2014 at 9:40 am
                                            Let us hope the govt starts a Rahul hi Terrorist Yojana to help all unemplo Indian Muslims go to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or any other pig sty.
                                            Reply
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