India: Many ‘Moderate’ Muslims Increasingly Open About Their Support For the Taliban
“Allah has given us this huge victory. . ."
Despite their negative image in popular news platforms, the Taliban is winning support from some Muslims of India. Some are wishing for the Taliban to knock on India’s doors and establish their Islamic caliphate in India as well.
The Indian Muslims who have openly declared their support for the Taliban are not a poor, uneducated bunch of hoodlums who can be dismissed as exceptional cases. Several Indian politicians, eminent citizens, government officials and teachers from the community have been found to be supporting the Taliban, with even more fervor recently than they had shown before, as they celebrate the group’s recent victory. Some social media accounts belonging to reputedly moderate Indian Muslims couldn’t contain their exhilaration following the return of Islamic rule in India’s northwestern neighborhood.
In a first, the Secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Maulana Umrain Mahfuz Rahmani, took the nation by surprise by taking to his official Twitter account to shower praises on the terror outfit for their “extraordinary success” in Afghanistan. In a tweet written in Urdu, he also claimed that this victory had come with the help of Allah, and that such powerful decisions are “made in Heaven and not on Earth.”
Just days after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan; an Indian MP, Shafiqur Rahman Barq, tried to legitimize the jihadist outfit by likening them to the Indian freedom fighters who fought the British. “When India was under British rule, our country fought for freedom. Now the Taliban wants to free their country & run it,” asserted the people’s representative from a local leftist political party in India. He further justified the actions of the Taliban by claiming that the “Taliban is a force that did not allow even strong countries like Russia and America to settle in their country.”
A Mufti of Darul-Uloom Deoband, Maulana Mufti Arshad Farooqi, who is also the chairman of Online Fatwa Department, was seen glorifying the Taliban in a now-viral video. He hailed the Taliban for ousting the “superpower” from Afghanistan and forcing Afghan forces to concede. The Maulana of Deoband also stated that there is something special about the Taliban. He may feel elated; after all, it is from this Deobandi movement that the Taliban originally drew inspiration.
It appears as if the Taliban’s defeat of the Afghan government has sparked new hope among Islamic clerics across India. Tamil Nadu-based Maulana Shamsudeen Qasimi congratulated the outfit for their exemplary feat and asserted, “Allah has given us this huge victory to us through the victory of Taliban. The Muslim world should celebrate this victory.” He also encouraged the Muslim brethren not to be afraid to show support to the Taliban just because some “media prostitutes” have falsely portrayed them as terrorists.
An Islamic organization, the Popular Front of India (PFI), has hailed the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, expressed confidence in their “administration,” and demanded that the Indian government initiate diplomatic ties with the jihadis. Parroting the words of Maulana Shamsudeen Qasimi, the PFI chief claims that there is a conspiracy involved in how the media depicts the Afghan jihad terror outfit.
In addition to these eminent Muslim Indians and Islamic organizations that vocally endorsed the Taliban, pro-Taliban voices have surfaced from the state of Assam as well. On August 22, the state police detained fourteen civilians who were mostly in their 20s for making social media posts allegedly backing the Taliban. The accused include a medical student from Tezpur Medical College, Islamic clerics, teachers, and reporters associated with reputed media groups, among others. Shockingly, a police constable, Md Fazlul Karim Qashimi, was also among these fourteen. He also served as a leader in the local Islamic political party, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). All of them will be charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and anti-terror laws. Various other sections of the Indian penal code will also be applied.
Some social media accounts with massive numbers of followers have also been sympathetic towards the Taliban and pounced on non-Muslims for “vilifying” the jihad group. One Instagram handle, muslim_students_of_delhi, with thousands of followers, published a string of provocative stories inciting his followers to defend the Taliban, wishing more power for the Taliban, and calling for the implementation of the Sharia across geographical boundaries, bringing about the humiliation of the non-believers. The account has since been taken down.
A Member of India’s Parliament (MP), Rakesh Sinha has expressed his concern on the matter, stating, “There is a big chunk in India which is endorsing the activities of the militant group, whether silently or vocally.”