‘Indian Muslims are IS-Proof’

  • Indian youths have escaped “being victims of Islamic State recruitment” because it is a multicultural democracy, says renowned terror expert and former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security David Heyman.
  • Personal grievances and a sense of alienation among Muslim youth in Western countries are the main reasons why they are joining the IS.
  • “India respects human rights, has democratic values, and it turns out that those are the patterns that allow for individuals to feel included in society. That could be one of the reasons it is not seeing this problem of radicalisation,” he said in an exclusive interview.
  • According to the U.S. National Counter Terrorism Centre, more than 20,000 citizens from about 90 countries have joined the terror group till February 2015, including 3,400 from western countries.
  • However, India, which has the world’s second largest Muslim population, has only about a dozen documented cases of youth fighters in Iraq and Syria.
  • Heyman said the “U.S. isn’t just concerned about recruits traveling to join the IS, but the problem of home-grown terrorists trained over the Internet by IS online propaganda.”
  • “The U.S. set up its architecture for national security based on the idea that we would fight terrorists abroad, but we also put in place the ability to prevent them from coming to the U.S. Now, it’s much harder to detect, as it’s all happening inside the country,” he said, citing the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
  • According to the expert, the U.S. national strategy is now to work with communities and elders to try and prevent radicalization.
  • Heyman has been a key interlocutor for the India-U.S. Homeland Security dialogue established in 2010, and feels India and the U.S. must cooperate much more closely on new-age threats of cyber attacks and bio-warfare.