In a shocking incident of gross intolerance, Islamic fundamentalists beat up and tried to kidnap a former Islamic scholar named Askar Ali, who recently renounced Islam. Though the incident happened in Kollam on May 1 and police registered a case against ten people, including Ali’s close relatives, no one has been arrested as yet.
Ali is 24-years-old, but he had completed a 12-year Hudawi religious program from a radical Islamist religious academy in Malappuram. After he renounced Islam, Ali left the religious center and decided to talk about his experiences at an event organized by a Kollam-based rationalist group. He became a ‘free thinker’ and joined a community of ex-Muslims in Kerala.
Ali said that he studied Islam in detail since the Hudawi students did not get an opportunity to read other materials like science or geography. During the lockdowns, he did get the chance to read other literature, which opened his eyes and turned him to ‘apostasy’.
Ali also said that his family and local people in his village were furious at his decision to abandon Islam and tried to stop him from leaving Malappuram for Kollam. On April 30, his family filed a missing person’s complaint, and Malappuram police asked him to come to the police station. He informed them that he was at Kollam and would return after delivering his speech. Radical Islamists decided to follow him to Kollam and kidnap him.
A couple of relatives approached him at Kollam and took him to the beach in an auto to discuss ‘family matters.’ Another group of Islamists was waiting there in an SUV, and they pushed him into the vehicle and tried to kidnap him. Ali was thrashed, and his mobile phone smashed.
He screamed, and locals who heard his cries rushed to his help, and they also informed the police. All this happened in broad daylight. In his complaint, Ali said that a group of people from Malappuram tried to abduct him to ensure that he did not address the event.
While speaking at the conference, Ali said that Madrassa students are being taught that they should not join the Indian Army. Pakistani terrorists who come to Kashmir are there to avenge the killing of local Muslims. Children as young as eight or ten are brainwashed that as Muslims, they cannot kill another Muslim, even if they are terrorists.
Ali also explained how Islam is politics now. He said he had faced sexual, physical, and mental abuse at the hands of Maulvi teachers at such residential centers. Such atrocities are not reported since these children come from radical Islamist families who deny such abuses even exist. He added that banning an organization won’t help curb this menace since Islam is the real fascism.
On May 2, police produced Ali before a magistrate court, where he said he preferred to live as per his wish. He is living with a friend, and since he did not seek police protection, police have not provided any.