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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Rich Christian Keralite engineer converts and joins ISIS, blows himself up in Libya?

National security agencies are interested in knowing the identity of a Keralite Christian who joined the terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), traveled to Libya, and apparently blew himself up while on a suicide mission, as per an ISIS propaganda document titled ‘Know your martyrs’.

It is not clear as to when he converted, but it is now known that he was indoctrinated, embraced Islam, and joined ISIS while employed in a gulf country. “That was the first time he was in a complete Muslim environment,” said the document.

An ISIS propaganda document referred to a Keralite named Abu Bakr Al-Hindi but did not reveal his original name or identity. Similar recruits from Kerala who had been neutralized in countries like Afghanistan or Syria have been identified by ISIS in the past. 

Indian recruits to IS

What we know from the IS propaganda document

  • Like an earlier terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, Al-Hindi too was born into a rich family, this one containing many engineers. He was employed in Bengaluru before migrating to the Gulf.
  • While in the Gulf, he was indoctrinated at a market. He was introduced to Islam through a pamphlet handed over to him, and was ‘fascinated’ when he learned that Muslims believe in Jesus and respect him.
  • Wanting to know more about Islam, Al-Hindi turned to other terrorists for radical inspiration including Anwar Al-Awlaki (a Yemani-American mullah who the Americans themselves eliminated using drones in 2011) 
  • Inspired enough, he wanted to migrate to ISIS territory and join fellow Keralites there. Failed since he had to return to Bharat as his employer’s contract in the Gulf expired.
  • He was in contact with his ISIS handlers while back in Kerala. Later, they moved him to Libya, where its activity was advancing strong. He used his engineering background and his passport which still carried his Christian name and slipped through intelligence and landed in Libya. Eliminated within three months in a Jihadi operation.

Agencies will now dig deep into the secrets of the first Bharat passport holder to blow himself up in the African continent and thereby gain insights into the unique bonding between Kerala and organizations like ISIS. Having lost large portions of land that they once ruled in Syria and Iraq, ISIS has withdrawn into smaller cells.  Heightened activities are also being reported by intelligence sources from Muslim-majority African countries.

Al-Hindi was reportedly financially well off. That’s not the case now for many Keralites who have been forced to return back home. The Chinese virus has cost one-third of all Keralites working in Arab countries their jobs. Around 10 lakh have returned home believing a local communist government that has been able to offer nothing of substance to even its residents leave alone NRIs. Easy prey for ISIS?

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