While New Delhi continues to blame Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in India, the latest news about an ISIS recruiter may shock many. According to reports, Karnataka-born Mohammed Shafi Armar is brainwashing Muslims in India and provoking them to get involved in extremist activities. The revelation comes after the U.S. State Treasury Department has included Armar in the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
This is the first time an Indian has been included in the said list. As Armar is in the SDGT list, he is a threat not only to India, but also to the rest of the world. According to the U.S. State Department, he is the chief recruiter of ISIS terrorists in India. He is last known to have left for Pakistan.
Armar is believed to be the head of Ansar ul-Tawhid. According to the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, this is the first Indian extremist group based abroad. The group was apparently formed after there was an internal conflict with Indian Mujahideen members in Pakistan.
Armar is known to be a tech savvy person, who typically approaches young Muslims on Facebook and other online platforms. His job is to recruit them, after he manages to brainwash them about getting involved in extremist activities.
Reports suggest that Armar not only recruits people from India but also from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. According to NDTV, Armar is behind the recruitment of a number of Indian Muslims, who have been radicalized online.
Born in Bhatkal in the Indian state of Karnataka, the 30-year-old has been reported to be dead previously. There were many reports claiming that Armar had been killed during a drone attack. But, intelligence agencies have always found his voice or name in intercepts, even after such reports had come up.
That is why it may be difficult to believe in the recent reports that suggest that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed during an airstrike by allied forces, unless there is strong evidence in favor of it.
Armar is, however, not the only man to be named in the SDGT list. There are two others: Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar Al Binali and Oussama Ahmad Atar. Binali has appeared in a number of ISIS propaganda videos since 2014, when he joined the extremist group. Atar, on the other hand, has been blamed for recruiting some of the people who were behind the November 2015 Paris attacks.
In recent times, India has discussed the issue of terrorism on global platforms. Indian PM Narendra Modi has asked world leaders to get united in the fight against extremism. France, Spain and Germany have echoed Modi’s concern and vowed to work against extremist forces worldwide.
[Featured Image by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images]