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Opinion | Why Modi Government Should Be Applauded for Banning PFI

By: Zahack Tanvir

Last Updated: September 28, 2022, 17:08 IST

New Delhi, India

The next challenge for the government and the community will be to deal with the strains of PFI. Experts need to identify all such organisations, though the government has banned almost eight fronts of PFI.
(PTI Photo)

The next challenge for the government and the community will be to deal with the strains of PFI. Experts need to identify all such organisations, though the government has banned almost eight fronts of PFI. (PTI Photo)

It’s high time to understand why PFI is a gateway to terrorism, and how its vulture activism has caused damage to Muslim society

The Narendra Modi government banned the Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) on Wednesday, a week after India’s premier agency, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), carried out a massive crackdown last Thursday.

The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the state agencies worked in close coordination last week, and more than 100 office bearers and cadre members were arrested.

It’s high time to understand why PFI is a gateway to terrorism, how its vulture activism has caused damage to Muslim society, and why every Indian citizen should appreciate the government’s non-compromising action to tackle the growing menace of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology in the country.

Indeed, it’s not the time to discredit the efforts and cast speculation about the crackdown by labelling it as an “election gimmick”.


It’s time to realise about the potential threats PFI poses to the Indian society, and also to learn the patterns of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology worldwide—the way it unleashed the catastrophe, especially in the Middle East. If PFI continues to expand, perhaps, India would witness the replication of what happened during the Arab Spring.

PFI is a gateway to terrorism

PFI is purely based on Muslim Brotherhood ideology, that started in Egypt in 1928 by Hasan Al-Banna, later Syed Qutb took the steering and it spread all across the Middle East. The ideology is based on the restoration of the Caliphate by all means possible.

PFI’s ideological partners are Jamaat-e-Islami and Al-Ikhwanul-Muslimeen.

In fact, the banned Islamist militant outfit Students Islamic Organization of India (SIMI) was part of Jamat-e-Islami. After SIMI’s ban in 2001, some of its members dispersed and formed National Development Front (NDF) in Kerala in 2006, which later merged with Karnataka Forum For Dignity (KFD), and gave birth to PFI.

In fact, the Kerala government in 2012 claimed that PFI was “nothing but a resurrection of the banned outfit SIMI in another form”.

At the same time — not to miss out the fact that PFI follows Hamas methodology. Hamas which is the militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which was preceded by the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.

Arndt Emmerich, Germany’s Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Weber Institute for Sociology at the University of Heidelberg, wrote about PFI’s core ideology. He mentioned in his book, Islamic Movements in India (Chapter: ‘Islamic Pragmatism and Legal Education’, page-153), “The PFI chairman advised me to study ‘what kind of Islam has influenced our movement: Why are we not like the Tablighi Jamaat or the Salafis? We are more like Hamas, a religiously inspired community organization’.

Interestingly—PFI’s India-2047 document which was discovered by Bihar police, talks about “use violence selectively to demonstrate our strength and terrorise our opponents, while limiting exposure of our trained cadres to security forces. From all the cadres who are being given PE, those with talent are to be spotted and recruited to be given advanced training on weapons including firearms and explosives”.

On 20 October, 2018, Vice President Hüseyin Oru of the Turkish nonprofit organisation IHH and IHH Secretary-General Durmuş Aydn met with two important PFI leaders, EM Abdul Rahiman and Professor P Koya.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism in the Middle East Forum asserts that IHH has sent funds to Hamas’ military wing, which has utilised the funds to acquire weapons and construct training centres.

Whether Hamas, Hizbut-Tahrir, Al Qaeda and ISIS, all these terror outfits are the brainchildren of Muslim Brotherhood. Though they carry different names, and different working styles, their ultimate goal is the same—the Caliphate. For this reason, followers and sympathizers of these groups get absorbed into each other very easily.

The radical and violent nature of PFI remains no secret, which has ensnared numerous youngsters into the quagmire of terrorism and extremism.

During the recent raids—NIA disclosed that the PFI had created a “hit list” with prominent members of a certain group as its targets. To prevent more bloodshed in the nation, the investigating agency has presented the court with the necessary paperwork and asked for more action.

The NIA raided 38 locations in Telangana and two in Andhra Pradesh earlier this month, seizing digital devices, provocative literature, weapons, and Rs 8.31 lakh in cash.

Another shocking part of the investigation was bomb-making manuals were recovered, along with high-end communication devices like Lowrance LHR-80 Floating Handheld VHF with GPS.

NIA also found a manual on a short course on ‘How to make IEDs using easily available material’, the document suggested that “if Muslim youth knows how to make bombs, it will empower them”.

NIA gave the statement that, “These searches were conducted at the houses and offices of the top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following continued inputs and evidence that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding of terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations.”

PFI activists joined ISIS

According to The Indian Express, 40 to 50 people from the Kannur district, mostly from the Valapattanam area, have joined the Islamic State in Syria.

According to the police, they were PFI activists “militant elements” who left the organisation when the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) was founded in 2009. These “militant elements” travelled to Syria along with their families. Some of them got killed while some of them ended up in the refugee camps.

In 2017, Kerala Police identified six PFI members from the Kannur district who joined ISIS. They were Abdul Ghayoom, Abdul Manaf, Shameer, Safwan, Suhail and his wife Rizwana.

In the same year, police registered a case after two men were arrested in Turkey who were trying to sneak into Syria to join ISIS. They were part of the Kannur module of the Islamic State.

A passing fact is—Turkey played a vital role in facilitating ISIS joinees travelling all over from Europe, India and Pakistan. As John Rossomondo talks about the process in his book Arab Spring Ruse, that Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT trained and mobilised the terrorists in Syria through its southern border.

Meanwhile, PFI’s India-2047 document, page-7, praises Turkey as the “flag-bearer of Islam” and that “In the last few years, PFI has developed friendly relationship with Turkey”.

Sane Muslim voices against PFI

A year before the ban, Delhi-based Islamic scholar Shaykh Mohammed Rehmani of Jamia Sanabil, was asked about PFI in a public gathering in Hubli, and later in Hyderabad in May 2022, where he was invited for a counter-extremism conference held by a Muslim organisation.

At both the places—he made a clear-cut response that PFI carries the ‘Khawarij’ tendencies. Khawarij was the first group of terrorists who rose during the time of third caliph of Islam Uthman Al-Affan, who rebelled against the state and called for an armed struggle against the government in the name of liberty and justice. They in fact assassinated the authorities of their time.

Shaykh Rehmani urged Muslims to stay away from them, and to never give them funds.

Another Islamic scholar Shaykh Abu Rizwan Mohammedi during his Friday sermon last week called PFI as the deviant organisation, and that Muslim Ulema have been warning the members of the community especially youth against it for a long time.

After the ban, Aarif Hamid from Punjab tweeted, “The ban on PFI and related organisations should be permanent. They use Islam and Muslims for money and politics. Ignorant youth join them blindly without giving a read to their dangerous agenda. We thank Govt. for such a great decision. Long live India.”

Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Salafi from Hyderabad tweeted, “Alhamdulillah. Finally, PFI is banned”. “Ek aur bade fitne ka khatma shuru hogahya hai” – “Game of a big trial is over”.

After last week’s mass arrests of PFI functionaries all over the nation, Mohd Ubaidullah Shareef from Hyderabad commented, “This should have happened long before. PFI may have radicalised many youngsters. Finally, a sigh of relief.”

Another person Mohammed Masud praised God, “Al Hamdulillah”. While Nazmul Haider commented, “Good job”, and Mukhtar Bin Ahamed said, “Thanks NIA”.

Apart from these handful of comments, a lot of Muslims expressed a sigh of relief. This shows that most of them were disgusted by the PFI’s activities in the country, which were exploiting their identity.

A media channel Raj Dharma interviewed Muslims walking in the street of Shaheen Bagh, to record their reaction over the Government’s efforts.

Tanveer Hussain who came out of the mosque with his son, said, “Though PFI claims to represent us, we have never accepted their leadership. They don’t represent us at all. We are Indians by choice, so we don’t let such people represent us.”

These reactions are so soothing and convincing that Indian Muslims are not interested in rallying behind the call of Islamism. They dislike and abhor it—when Islamists hijack their identity to execute their vile political agenda.

PFI’s vulture activism

Almost every Islamist and Woke organisation thrives on “vulture activism”. It’s a kind of activism in which the only purpose is to keep the vicious cycle of victimhood running, while showing no interest in finding a substantial solution, and even mocking those who work for a stable society.

PFI’s state secretary Mohammed Shakib was emotionally blackmailing South Indian Muslims during the Ramadan Iftar parties this year. His agenda was—a lot of talented and professional youths are in the jails, while Muslims are enjoying their pre-dawn and post-dusk Iftar meals. This whole cry was to appeal for Zakat donations and funds to fight their cases.

A genuine question is—who led them to jails? Who provoked them and took them to the streets? Who shattered the dreams of the old parents who were expecting their sons to become the bright future of the family and the country?

Hamas adopts the same vulture activism tactic. It triggers the violence, sabotages the peace deals with Israel, and then builds a narrative that “Palestinians are oppressed”. Hamas leaders and their children enjoy luxury villas, land cruisers, and jacuzzis in Qatar, while the Palestinians are kept backward and outdated for a purpose.

Obviously, the purpose is—vulture activism.

PFI also thrives on vulture activism.

Need to appreciate government’s non-compromising action

As I mentioned earlier—it’s not the time to discredit the government’s efforts and cast doubts about it. It’s time to appreciate the government’s non-compromising attitude.

Gone are those days, when civil rights groups would argue that the establishment picks up random and “innocent” civilians to silence the opposition. However, the pattern has drastically changed over the years. Regular citizens are not targeted at all.

This is the reason, it took time and effort to gather evidence and carry out a massive surgical strike against the Islamist cult. Though some of the pro-Ruling party supporters were curious about government’s silence over PFI’s activities, however, the agencies performed their task professionally when the iron got really hot.

Such crackdowns should be applauded—whether it’s Saudi Arabia’s ban on the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014, or Egypt’s crackdown against Morsi and his Islamist party in 2015. Whether it’s Austria’s official ban on the Muslim Brotherhood in 2021, or India’s massive crackdown against PFI in 2022.

Islamist groups often become a pain under the nose, not only for the countries, but also for the Muslim community. Due to the aggressive and non-compliance behavior of these groups, the whole Muslim community suffers, and their issues stay unresolved, and the community has to face the heat due to their nefarious attitude.

What’s the next challenge?

The next challenge for the government and the community will be to deal with the strains of PFI. Experts need to identify all such organisations, though the government has banned almost eight fronts of PFI.

The challenge to ideologically debase Islamism and Muslim Brotherhood has always remained. When a group is outlawed, another one pops up.

To deal with this—the government should collaborate with the moderate Muslim groups and Ulema in the country, while carrying out exchange programs to pull in religious scholars and political experts from the Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, etc. who have efficiently managed to keep Islamism at a bay.

The author is a Saudi-based Indian national. He is Director of Milli Chronicle Media London. He holds a PG-Diploma in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI-ML) from IIIT. He did a certificate programme in Counterterrorism from the University of Leiden, Netherlands. He tweets under @ZahackTanvir. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publicaton.

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first published:September 28, 2022, 17:08 IST
last updated:September 28, 2022, 17:08 IST