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2-min read

Is the Missing Abdul Rashid Just a Preacher or a Terror Recruiter?

]Rashid, a qualified engineer, is known to have a greater focus on Islamic preaching and conversion.

Imran Khan | CNN-News18

Updated:July 13, 2016, 2:11 PM IST
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As state investigation agencies grapple with a complex web of conversions and suspected radicalisation, one person has emerged as a common link to the 21 people who have gone missing in Kerala.

Abdul Rashid is a preacher from Thrikkaripur who worked at the Peace International school and is among the ones suspected to have left the country along with his wife and child.

Rashid, a qualified engineer, is known to have a greater focus on Islamic preaching and conversion, and was closely associated with the Peace Foundation in Thrikaripur where he taught the Quran.

Rashid is known to the families of the missing brothers Ijaz and Shiyaz, their wives; and was also in touch with Nimisha, from Thiruvananthapuram who converted to Islam and became Fatima.

Rashid was also known to Fatima's husband Eesa and his brother Yahiya all of whom were related to the Peace Foundation.

A report by Immigration officials said all the 21 travelled to Tehran in separate batches over the last one month from where are suspected to have moved on and joined the Islamic State.

Abdul Rashid's parents refused to speak to CNN-News18 and his neighbours have mixed opinion about him. Some claim he used to be a recluse, and never even visited the neighbourhood Shia mosque.

But Abdul Rehman who lives nearby alleges that Rasheed indoctrinated his sons - Dr.Ejaz and Shiyas, who are also missing - and that he had warned them to stay away from him.

"He used to come here to take classes. Once I even shouted at him," Rehman said.

Hafeezuddin, whose son Abdul Hakeemuddin who is among the missing, blames Abdul Rehman's sons for what happened.

I have never seen Rashid. But he was with Ejaz and Shiyas and it's they who influenced my son," recalls Hafeezuddin.

Rashid is said to have allegedly recruited for ISIS by influencing many in Kasaragod through the Peace foundation.

The acting Principal of the Peace International School defended Rashid.

"He was a quiet and nice person. We do not know why he left. I still don't think what is being reported about him is true," Manorama added.

What makes Rashid intriguing is the multiple accounts of his personality which show him as aloof and a man of letters on one hand and a hawkish terror recruiter on the other.

The local police however say there is not enough of a case against the man yet.

A special police team has been set up, and till they come out with their findings, it remains unanswered whether he was just a preacher or a terror recruiter.

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