Like man other governments, India is worried about citizens hopping over to the Syrian or Iraqi conflict zones, picking up extensive ISIS contacts. These concerns have grown severe enough to for the government to ban ISIS under the rubric of its Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, as reported by NDTV on Friday.
The government of India has expressed its official disapproval of ISIS before, including what was widely described as a move to “ban” the group in December, following the high profile arrest of an executive with a multi-national corporation who turned out to be running one of the most popular pro-ISIS Twitter accounts. At the time, it was thought the Islamic State posed relatively little threat of recruiting Indians to its cause, but that calculus as changed as the terror state’s tentacles reach deeper into nations across the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the growing threat of ISIS in India last September, observing that their “sophisticated messaging and raw appeal” made them more of an ideological threat than their progenitors in al-Qaeda ever where. The WSJ worried that ISIS re-establishing an Islamic caliphate, seizing a great deal of territory, and posting boastful online videos could make them more appealing than al-Qaeda, which is laying low at the moment following effective Western action against it.
“Add to this India’s failure to modernize its 150-million strong Muslim minority,” the WSJ advised. “Unlike in the West, where one law for all citizens is a cornerstone of secularism, India allows its Muslims to follow Sharia in matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance. In the end, ISIS, like al Qaeda, is fighting to impose its harsh interpretation of Sharia on the world. By bowing to Sharia at home, India has helpfully decided to meet them halfway.”
Perhaps the new classification of ISIS as a proscribed terrorist group will help to reverse that trend. The U.S. government officially applauded the move. “I think we believe they are a terrorist organization; We welcome others who also believe they are,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.