Days after a group of men were arrested for planning terror strikes in Hyderabad, MP Asaduddin Owaisi reiterated his anti-Islamic State (IS) stance on Friday.
The chief of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad, Owaisi said he plans to invite prominent Syrian scholar, Muhammad Abul Huda al-Yaqoubi, known for his strident opposition to the IS, to his constituency.
On June 29, six men were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of planning terror activities in the Telangana capital. Believed to be IS sympathisers, the group intended on carrying out a spate of attacks through the twin cities, investigators said.
“I have always stood against the IS. The IS may be crushed militarily in the next few months but we need to crush it ideologically as well. I intend to bring scholars like Al-Yaqoubi or Hamza Yusuf to Hyderabad to tell the Indians the reality of IS,” said Owaisi.
Al-Yaqoubi was forced to flee Syria after he strongly opposed Bashar al-Assad’s regime and termed the IS as anti-Islam and its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as a non-Muslim.
Owaisi has also received threats in the past for his anti-IS sentiments. “But I take it as a badge of honour,” he said while talking to Hindustan Times.
Last week’s arrest is the not the first IS-linked one; around 40 people have been detained or arrested across the country for links to the terrorist group. National security agencies have been dealing with growing concerns of young men taking to arms on behalf of the IS, with intelligence sources saying that more than 100 Indians are on a watch-list.
When asked about the government’s response in dealing with the issue, Owaisi was very critical.
“Here you are termed anti-national if you speak against the government. I am no less Indian than anyone in the government. This government tends to see things in black and white. It has no policy to deal with radicalism in the country.”
As for the group of local boys who were arrested on similar charges of being IS- sympathisers, Owaisi said the NIA needed to provide the evidence to support the charges.
“How should I believe that our boys were planning to throw meat in temples to incite communal violence? Last time when such an incident happened, two Hindus were found to be behind it. Therefore we will wait for matter to reach court,” he said.
According to the leader, families of some of the arrested told him the boys had nothing to do with the suspected terror activities.