Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #327 - The Global Islamic Jihadi Network

What started off as supremacist narratives of some ideologues became a full-fledged global terror movement. Links with mainstream politics and global organization is revealing!

Photo by Rémi Jacquaint on Unsplash

“Intelligence demands doubting, questioning, not being impressed by others’ enthusiasm or energy. Intelligence demands that there be impersonal observation.” - J. Krishnamurti


The best way to plan a clandestine attack is to hide all its components in plain sight and yet have the master plan to connect and combine all of them in a way that something fatal and deadly can be unleashed at the time and manner of choosing.

The Global Jihadi network is the greatest example of that case.

Work of a few ideologues, along with their benefactors and states which backed their narrative set forth a movement of violent terror and religious supremacy that has spread its tentacles to mainstream politics, journalism, and rights organizations.

The problem is we do not even understand what these links are. One, because they are in plain sight. And, second, no one synthesizes the various evidence and sources.

This is an attempt at knowing what we are seeing a little more intelligently.


Why repeal of the Farm Laws?

The repeal of the Farm Laws by the Modi Government has taken everyone by surprise (Source). More so - his supporters. Here are a few things we leave us with for pondering, without comment.

On September 29th, 2021 - Captain Amarinder Singh met Home Minister Amit Shah. The next day, he met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Immediately after that meeting, Doval left to meet Amit Shah.

Meanwhile, the US Government has come out with a special advisory to the US citizens on their travel within India this week. One part of it seems very interesting - “potential for armed conflict” at the Indo-Pak border.

All one can say is it’s all very interesting.


The Jihad Ideologues

Ayesha Jalal writes in her book “Partisans of Allah” about who all have contributed to Jihadi terrorism in the most authoritative manner. What is little known is that Muhammad Iqbal (also called Allama Iqbal) had personal chosen Maulana Mawdudi for writing the modern interpretation of Islam, which became the controversial, though popular Tafhimu'l-Qur'an.

It is something that Jalal also mentions in her chapter “Islam Subverted? Jihad as Terrorism” of her book “Partisans of Allah”.

The apologists have tried to distance Iqbal and Mawdudi,(read this article from Pak Tea House - a magazine by Raza Rumi in Pakistan, which had Drishtikone on its blogroll as well (Interesting!!) but their larger interests did converge.

Why is Maulana Mawdudi important? Because he was the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami in August 1941 and wrote the interpretation of the Quran called Tafhimu'l-Qur'an, which is the basis for the understanding of Quran in the Indian sub-continents madrasas and the Jihadi training camps.

Sayyid Qutb and the Egyptian Jihadi foundation

Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian essayist, literary critic, and educational civil servant who around 40 years of age turned to study of Quran. He went on a tour of the US and when he returned in 1954, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood. Apparently, he was appalled by racism, sexual freedom, and materialism. After the “Free Officer's Revolution” where the monarchy was overthrown by Gamal 'Abd al-Nasser he became close to Nasser. Later he was arrested on the charge of plotting Nasser’s assassination. In the prison, he wrote  Fi Zilal al-Quran (or “In the Shade of Quran) and in the 1960s he wrote  Ma'alim fi al-Tariq (or Milestones). The latter became a manifesto

Maʿālim fī aṭ Ṭarīq or Milestones published in 1964 became the manifesto for most Jihadi networks thereafter.

Milestones (arabic: Ma'alim fi al-Tariq) formed the ideology of an array of Islamic parties, groups, movements and terrorist organizations. The author Sayyid Qutb was hanged in 1966 in Egypt for writing this book. This book is sometimes referred to as the manifesto of radical Islamic movements all across the spectrum. Milestones, first published in 1964, is a short (12 chapters, 160 pages) book by Egyptian Islamist author Sayyid Qutb in which he lays out a plan and makes a call to action to re-create the Muslim world on strictly Quranic grounds, casting off what Qutb calls Jahiliyyah.Ma'alim fi al-Tariq has been called "one of the most influential works in Arabic of the last half century" It is probably Qutb's most famous and influential work and one of the most influential Islamist tracts written. It has also become a manifesto for the ideology of "Qutbism". (Source)

Qutb’s big talking point was about jahiliyyah or ignorance. Per him, there was no such thing as a “common human culture”. The dichotomy was clear - culture is either Islamic or jahili.

"The tree of Islam has been sown and nurtured by the wisdom of God, while the tree of jahiliyyah is the product of the soil of human desires." (Source)

If the Salafi Jihadi mind has to be understood, it is imperative to understand the word and spirit of “Milestones” specifically and Qutb’s writings (most critically “In the Shade of Quran”) in general. In his writings, the concept of Jahliiya has specific connotations.

The argument of Milestones is framed by two concepts - jahiliyya and hakimiyya. The term jahilliya has three rather different meanings. In its simplest and most common meaning, jahiliyya represents an historical era, the pagan period in the Arabian Peninsula before the arrival of the religion brought by Muhammad. Jahiliyya, however, has a secondary cultural meaning, roughly equivalent to the English word "barbarism." In Qutb's usage, jahiliyya absorbs but goes beyond both ignorance and barbarism. With him jahiliyya is the terrible condition of a world in the state of spiritual darkness, unenlightened by humankind's submission to God. In this way the idea of jahiliyya is linked in Qutb's thought to hakimiyya. Hakimiyya has a straightforward meaning - namely, sovereignty. It is used by Qutb to suggest that in the world there are only two possibilities: either God's sovereignty or Man's. In those times or places where God's sovereignty is denied, the condition of spiritual darkness, jahiliyyah, reigns. (Source)

These ideas of Hakimmiya found resonance in Mawdudi’s writings as well.

Just like Hasan Al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb did in Egypt, Muhammad Iqbal and Maulana Syed Maududi did in the Indian subcontinent. The main ideological goal was “to fight until Islam dominates.” The project of Jihad, they believed, was for all times and all spaces (geographies) such that supremacy of Islam was the real test of “completeness of faith.”

Over the years the cocktail of what Qutb started in Egypt and Mawdudi developed in Pakistan have converged with the financial backing of Saudi money in the 1990s, pushed by the American geo-political interests in Pakistan/Afghanistan region.

The application of this ideological narrative from these Jihadi ideologues is not some innocuous “spiritual faith” but has had major terror-related global ramifications.

Global Ramifications of Maududi and Qutb ideologies

The 2015 San Bernandino attack where Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked Farook’s office holiday party, killing 14 and wounding 22 (Source). Tashfeen Malik went to Al Huda school in Multan, Pakistan which was run by “Islamic scholar” Farhat Hashmi (link).

Hashmi, an Islamic scholar in her 50s, founded a network of religious schools that has educated thousands of mainly urban, upper-middle-class Pakistani women in a conservative strain of Islam. Recordings of Hashmi’s lectures, which have made their way to YouTube and iTunes, often show her speaking to classrooms filled with rapt young women eagerly scribbling notes. Al Huda, Hashmi’s chain of schools, has more than 70 locations across Pakistan — including in the central city of Multan, where, for several months beginning in 2013, the students included the future San Bernardino shooter, Tashfeen Malik. (Source: LA Times)

Al Huda has international branches in New Zealand, Bahrain, Canada, the UK, India, the US, UAE, and Sri Lanka. It also has women ‘educational sessions’ in Pakistan - Sialkot, Karachi, Faisalabad, Multan, Manshera, Lahore, Islamabad, Attock, and Peshawar.

Its ideological basis? Maulana Mawdudi / Maududi and his Islamic preachings.

The primary medium of instructions at Al-Huda is Dars[9] (lectures/sessions), either designed in courses or in weekly or monthly series. The organization runs courses for women on subjects such as: Ta‘lim al-Qur’an (includes exegesis), Nazrah, Tajwid, Tahfiz al-Qur’an (recitation), Ta‘lim al-Hadith[10] Course, Manar al-Islam (character building course for girls), and Fahm al-Qur’an (readings of Quran from exegesis of Quran written by Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abul ala Maududi). (Source)

Munir Sami, a Canadian Islamic scholar shares the same information with Tahir Gora.

This is the background into how the Jihadi narrative and its underpinnings were developed over the years. This is important because when you see or hear the names like these, you should know what kind of ideological motivation that group/individual/organization has.

  • Muhammad (Allama) Iqbal

  • Maulana Mawdudi / Maududi

  • Hasan al-Banna

  • Sayyid Qutb

These were the ideologues who created the basis of the Islamic Jihadi ideological framework which drives, motivates, inspires, and supports most terror activities globally.

The Indian Jihadi Network

West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) says that most of the Indian jihadi terrorism has one main fountainhead. The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), an Islamist political formation from which the Indian jihadist movement has drawn much of its cadre. (Source)

We will discuss all the components of this network in this edition. So let us start our journey in understanding the Indian Jihadi network with SIMI, which has been described as the fountain-head of Jihadis in India.

What is the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)

What is the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)? Here is some information from the South Asian Terrorism Portal.

It’s one goal -

Convert India into an Islamic land by conversion or violence.

Remember that as we go further.

SIMI was formed in April 1977. It was banned in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks. This ban was briefly lifted in August 2008 by a special tribunal.

The tribunal headed by Delhi High Court judge, Justice Geeta Mittal, on 5 August quashed the 7 February notification issued by the government extending the ban on SIMI under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Tribunal had held that the Centre has failed to come up with any new evidence to justify the ban on the organization. Since it was banned in 2001, SIMI has been blamed by the police for almost every major bomb attack, including explosions on local trains in Mumbai that killed 187 people in 2006. (Source)

On 6th August, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan stayed controversial order of a special tribunal, which lifted the ban on the activities of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) on national security grounds.

Over the years Indian Mujahideen was crafted out of the original SIMI outfit. It was the terrorist branch or offshoot of SIMI. This article by Christine Fair (download link - Source) discusses the relationship between SIMI and IM and of both with other terror groups and Pakistani intelligence.

The creation of Indian Mujahideen was the doing of five guys who got together near Karnataka’s Anjuman Engineering College (because a few were students there) to create a violent terror group.

SIMI and IM have links to and affiliations with the Lashkar-e-Taibba and Jaish-e-Mohammad as well as Pakistan’s ISI which trains the Jihadi terrorists.

The story of how SIMI/IM links with Lashkar-e-Taibba were solidified is also an interesting story in itself. Here are the details from the “Combating Terrorism Center” at the US Military Academy at West Point.

Within India, the progression of these organizations has been very interesting.

When SIMI was proscribed, it changed into National Development Front (NDF) and the NDF later became the Popular Front of India (PFI) in 2006. It was the hand-chopping case of Professor Joseph which brought to light the progress of SIMI to NDF to Popular Front to Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).

The Court findings in the notorious hand-chopping case of Prof Joseph reveal that all accused hail from Popular Front- SDPI political background. Long ago, a terror organization that mushroomed in Kerala later metamorphosed into Popular Front and SDPI.  Reports of Intelligence agencies had confirmed that the proscribed and dreaded SIMI had made a renaissance in Kerala with the NDF. And so Popular Front gained a strong foothold in Kerala, with ample political pampering from CPM- Congress- Muslim League, all of them having the lineage of encouraging and aiding the growth of Islamic terrorism. (Source)

The proceedings of this case were very instructive. The Kerala state government also brought out evidence of how the Popular Front of India was connected to the HuM and Lashkar-e-Taibba, as well as Al Qaeda. So PFI and SDPI have had links with these organizations.

The Kerala government informed the state high court that investigators have obtained evidence regarding the connection of radical outfit Popular Front of India, which allegedly launched a brutal attack on a college lecturer in July, with the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e Tayiba and Al Qaeda. The submission in this regard was made by R Rajashekharan Nair, Deputy Secretary (Home) in a counter affdaivit filed in a PIL by Gireesh Babu seeking a ban on PFI and to handover the investigation on the attack of the lecturer to National Investigation Agency (NIA). (Source: Rediff)

Mohiyuddin Nadukkandiyil Karassery is an Indian writer from Kerala. He shared the real agenda of SDPI. Btw, Tasleem Rehmani (the regular debater on Indian TV channels) is the National Secretary of SDPI.

Remember the main Jihadi ideologues form the ideological heroes of PFI members.

The writings of Sayed Abu Ala Maududi, Allam Iqbal and Osama Bin Laden influence PFI members. They have maintained the image of a charitable organisation and worked for the ultimate goal establishing an Islamic state by converting and spreading fear through terror acts. (Source)

The SDPI and PFI have also worked to forge ties with Al Qaeda and the Turkish intelligence-backed Jihadi terror groups.

This report by Nordic Monitor, based on its investigation showed how Tasleem Rehmani and Prof P Koya were hosted by the Turkish IHH group.

IHH has been accused of smuggling arms to al-Qaeda.

The IHH was accused of smuggling arms to al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria in January 2014 in a counterterrorism investigation conducted by a prosecutor in Turkey’s eastern province of Van. The investigation into a Turkish al-Qaeda cell found that İbrahim Şen, a top al-Qaeda operative who was detained in Pakistan and jailed at Guantanamo until 2005 before he was turned over to Turkey, his brother Abdurrahman Şen and others were sending arms, supplies and funds to al-Qaeda groups in Syria with the help of Turkey’s intelligence service. (Source)

Remember Prof Koya was one of the founding members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and also one of the 19 Supreme Council members of the National Development Front (NDF) (Source). He is now the General Secretary of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO). (Source)

The Jihadi network in India is very vast and interlinked with main Human Rights and Political groups and organizations.

The fact that major Human Rights organizations are intertwined and linked to Jihadi networks is something that even Amnesty International’s senior executive Gita Sahgal revealed before she was sacked.

Read this edition of the Drishtikone Newsletter for more information.

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In the Indian context, “Kashmiri terror groups” is a euphemism for organizations like LeT, JeM and JuM.

These are all maintained, trained, and conducted for terror attacks and “strategic depth” against India by the Pakistani intelligence, the ISI.

The modus operandi of ISI is very interesting and has been perfected into an assembly line. It is a 6 stage process that spans roughly 18 months where a normal recruit is turned into a “fully functional mujahid.”

1. Tasis (1 month): Indoctrination period. indoctrination period, during which no military skills are taught. This is a period in which religious and sectarian fervour is instilled in the trainee, and the phase generally lasts one month. For example, Lashkar-e-Taiba will use this stage to convert recruits to Alh-e-Hadith teachings.

2. Al Ra’ad (3 months): Indoctrination + Military Training. At the beginning of this stage, some groups like to take stock of their recruits and administer mental and physical tests to make sure the recruit is fit for a life of jihad.

3. Religious/Military and Guerilla training (4+6 months): four months of “spiritual conditioning” and an introduction to light military activities, a six-month period of guerrilla training begins.

Now Mujahideen can technically be put in the field, but only after writing their will and giving it over to the Ameer (a title of respect or nobility, usually meaning “commander”) of the camp.

4. Doshka (7-10 days): training teaches the recruit to use handheld weapons

5. Jandla (9 months): Considered most difficult. During this training, the mujahid learns how to use automatic arms and to craft explosives. Only Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, and Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami have the facilities and capability to provide this training.

6. Leadership Training: The final two stages often depend on resources and the necessity of certain operations.

  • Domela: teaches the handling of shoulder-fired weapons.

  • Zakazak: is also a rare form of training, because it involves familiarization with tanks, canons, and other heavy weaponry, to which many groups do not have access

This is based on the revelations by Amir Rana.

The complete picture of why terror happens, who does it, who supports and backs it, and which kind of links these groups have built with whom in the larger mainstream public sphere is very critical to our analysis of what happens on a daily basis.

market corner: 10 quick bytes

  1. Real estate prices could go up by 10-15% in FY23: Credai (Source)

  2. ‘Make in India’ products a hit in international markets, finds eBay’s Small Online Business Trade Report (Source)

  3. Crypto may be allowed as an asset, not as currency; legislation being finalized (Source)

  4. SBI, U GRO Capital to disburse up to Rs 500 cr to MSMEs by March 22 as co-lenders (Source)

  5. India, World's Largest Recipient Of Remittances, Received $87 Billion In 2021: World Bank (Source)

  6. PM's top economic council meets, expects India's FY23 GDP growth to be 7-7.5% (Source)

  7. Salman Khan-backed NFT (Non-Fungible Token) - crypto - platform sells tokens worth $2 mn in a month (Source)

  8. Gem, jewelry exports up 45.2% at Rs 31,241.09 cr in Oct (Source)

  9. Global IPOs smash the previous record, blow past $600-billion mark (Source)

  10. Market cap of nine of top 10 most valued firms down by Rs 1.47 lakh crores (Source)

nota bene

Construction of 32k roads plans: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the construction of 32,152 km roads in far-flung areas of the country at a cost of Rs 33,822 crore. The cabinet also approved telecom connectivity in tribal areas by putting up telecom towers in 7,287 villages in five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Odisha. (Source)

Cleanest City and States: Indore was adjudged India's cleanest city for the fifth time in a row in the Central government's annual cleanliness awards while Chhattisgarh retained the first position in the state category. The second and third positions in the 'cleanest city' category of the 'Swachh Survekshan Awards, 2021' were secured by Surat and Vijayawada, respectively. Varanasi, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha, has been adjudged the "cleanest Ganga town" while Bihar's Munger and Patna have been ranked second and third in the category. (Source)

Target CIA - China: One former CIA director, Michael Hayden, joined the Cipher Brief Threat Conference virtually and helped set the tone as he shared the advice he gave to the current CIA director, William Burns. "First of all, you've got to go to China. And then second of all, you've got to go go to China. And the third one is, you've got to go to China. And he said, 'OK, I got it,'" Hayden recounted. The U.S. intelligence community focused on the Soviet Union for decades. Then the priority was Middle East terrorism. Now, the intelligence community says, a new era has begun. (Source)

Gravitational Waves Research: The Hingoli revenue department has handed over 225 hectares of land here in Maharashtra to authorities of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project for setting up the first such facility in the country, a senior district official said. There are currently a couple of such labs in the US - at Hanford in Washington and Livingston in Louisiana - which study the gravitational waves. (Source)

Space Travel via Wormholes: A theory proposed in a new study says that wormholes if they exist, might be more stable than previously suggested. A new theory has attempted to explain whether wormholes, a theoretical connection of two separate points in spacetime, can be used as a viable means for space travel in the future. Koiran proposes to analyze wormholes using not the popular Schwartzchild metric commonly used to analyze black holes, but the Eddington-Finkelstein metric. The study found that by using the Eddington-Finkelstein metric, a particle could be documented crossing the event horizon, the crossing point into the wormhole, go through it and reach the other side in a finite amount of time. That means the path of a particle passing through a wormhole could be more easily traced using this metric. If particles can cross through a wormhole and reach the other side unharmed, perhaps someday humans might be able to travel through a wormhole and reach distant points in spacetime that are beyond reach currently. (Source)

video corner: Truth about the Indian Constitution

This video was shared by Dr. A. Khurana (Thank you sir!). Yogesh Kumar Mishra shares views on the Indian Constitution that have never been shared by anyone I know.

This is in Hindi and provides us with so many leads for more detailed research and understanding into the lies that have been fed to us.

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