NIA’s Thursday crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) across 15 states may have thwarted the blooming of the most influential Islamist network after the Muslim Brotherhood. More than 100 PFI members — including its entire top rung — have been arrested. Many more will follow. Legal loops will be closed, money trails established.
After all, the India’s political leadership, its anti-terror unit and intelligence agencies have been stalking the outfit like an extremely patient predator for years before making the leap.
But while the hot aftermath of the arrests play out, the investigators must pay attention to one particular aspect: the penetration of the PFI in media, academia, social media, and intelligentsia. Because these overground jihad sympathisers have tried to give the radical organisation acceptability. Events like anti-CAA protests, Hathras gang rape, Delhi riots, Bhima-Koregaon violence, hijab row, and the Nupur Sharma case have shown that some journalists, ‘fact-checkers’, and influencers speak almost out of the PFI’s playbook.
Let us see what PFI’s eight-page document titled ‘India Vision 2047: Towards rule of Islam in India’, which was recovered after the Bihar police busted the Phulwari Sharif module, talks about.
“If we look into history of Islam, Muslims were always in minority and for victory we do not need to have a majority. PFI is confident that even if 10% of total Muslim population rally behind it, PFI would subjugate the coward majority community to their knees and bring back the glory of Islam in India [sic],” it says. “For this, one needs to repeatedly remind Muslim community of its grievances and establish grievances where there is none. All our frontal organisations including the party should be focussed on expanding and recruiting new members. Simultaneously, we have to establish an Islamic identity among everyone beyond the concept of being an Indian.”
But then comes the more sinister bit. The art of deception. Or as it is known in the Islamic world, ‘Al Taqiyyah’.
“Party should utilise concepts such as ‘National Flag’, ‘Constitution’ and ‘Ambedkar’ to shield the real intention of establishing an Islamic rule and to reach out to SCs/STs/OBCs. We would reach out to the executive and judiciary and also strive to infiltrate our members at all levels in order to gather information and get favourable outcomes in matters of our interest. Further, liaisoning is to be established with foreign Islamic countries for funding and other help,” the PFI vision documents says.
It draws from the Quranic idea of Al Taqiyyah. Sura 3:28 says: “Let not believers take disbelievers as allies, instead of fellow believers. And whoever does that has nothing to do with Allah, except when that person is taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and Allah is the destination.”
During the CAA agitation, a journalist from a portal actually spelt out what is now revealed as the PFI strategy. She urged fellow Muslims to pretend to be friendly and follow secular laws till Islamic domination is established.
The CAA protests saw the National Flag being sported, words like ‘Constitution’ bandied around to hide the simmering bigotry beneath.
Nupur Sharma was provoked in the studio by Tasleem Rehmani, an SDPI leader. SDPI is the political front of PFI. A fact-checker under investigation for money laundering and other charges then dog-whistled to bloodthirsty mobs about Nupur’s alleged blasphemy. What happened next was history written in blood. A spate of beheadings and street violence swept across the country.
All these beg some questions which one hopes will be answered in the coming days.
Is it believable that PFI has not penetrated the media and intelligentsia?
Who are these mediapersons and social media influencers in touch with or on the payroll of the PFI?
Where does the money come from?
How is the propaganda coordinated?
Are toolkits sent out?
Are there useful idiots who don’t even realise they are working for the PFI?
It is vital not just to decimate PFI’s underground network and financial infrastructure, but also to take out its overground propaganda machinery. And also ensure that if there are personalities in the media and intelligentsia who have been giving the PFI covering fire, they are tried as terror enablers. That will be the biggest deterrent in this war’s theatre of communication.