India’s 150 million Muslims away from extremism: US cable

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India’s 150 million Muslims away from extremism: US cable

By TCN News,

New Delhi: Strongly endorsing the secular a
nd nationalistic nature of
Muslims in India, the United States has acknowledged that India’s over
150 million Muslim population is largely unattracted to extremism.
Separatism and religious extremism have little appeal to Indian Muslims,
and the overwhelming majority espouse moderate doctrines.

In a recorded commentary (released by WikiLeaks) about India’s 150
million plus Muslims (the second largest in the world after Indonesia),
former US envoy to New Delhi David Mulford in 2005 said that Indian
Muslim youth are comfortable in the mainstream and Muslim families and
communities provide little sanction or support to extremist appeals.

Muslims at Jamiat Ulema conference held in April 2010 in Patna

“India’s vibrant democracy, inclusive culture and growing economy
have made it easier for Muslim youth to find a place in the mainstream,
reduced the pool of potential recruits, and the space in which Islamic
extremist organizations can operate,” Mulford commented about Indian

He also highlighted the problems and backwardness of the Muslim
community in the country. India’s Muslim population suffers from higher
rates of poverty than most other groups in India, and can be the victims
of discrimination and prejudice. Despite this, the vast majority
remains committed to the Indian state and seek to participate in
mainstream political and economic life.

Endorsing secular credential of young Muslim generation he said: Most
Muslims approaching graduation at universities will be prepared to
enter the job market and are not interested in extremism.

Mr Mulford blasted the media propaganda that madrasas and Islamic seminaries in the country are teaching extremism.

The Indian media has published colorful stories implying that
Madrassas are recruiting centers for Islamic terrorism and that many are
funded by Pakistan’s ISI. The accounts are mostly anecdotal, however,
and there has been little or no hard evidence linking Indian Madrassas
to terrorist recruitment, he said.

Islamic extremism is not popular in India and most adults are not
interested. This forces extremists to pitch to young and naive audiences
who may be more amenable.

The US envoy said that at ground level both Muslim and non-Muslims are
facing similar problems as far as social mobility is concerned.

Muslims are facing the same pressures for social mobility as
non-Muslims. Most Indian children are under pressure to get into school,
stay in school, and perform well there, in order to obtain higher
education and access to well-paid jobs. Attempts by extremist groups to
recruit children from Muslim homes are likely to run into a wall of
opposition from parents who would see involvement in extremism as
counterproductive and a threat to future success of their children. This
means that extremism is most attractive to children from families that
are so poor that opportunities for education and advancement are all but
non-existent. As the Indian economy continues to boom, the percentage
of Muslim families who feel there is no hope for their children’s’
future is growing smaller, as is the pool of potential recruits.

The December 2005 commentary on Indian Muslims by Mulford was written at the request of Washington DC.

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