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article imageThousands of Indians volunteer to aid Iraq against IS

By Greta McClain     Oct 6, 2014 in World
New Delhi - One day after an Islamic extremist group pledged to support IS, officials at a New Delhi mosque announce as many as 200,000 Indians have registered to volunteer against the jihadist terror group in Iraq.
Bilal Hussein, coordinator at the Karbala mosque in New Delhi, says approximately 200,000 people from across India have said they are willing to go to Iraq and assist with humanitarian aid such as providing medical personnel and engineers to help with rebuilding. The volunteers come from various religious backgrounds, including Hindus, Christians and Sunni Muslims.
Humanitarian aid is not the only thing the thousands of volunteers are willing to provide however. Many say they are also on a mission to protect religious shrines, as well as spread the message that the IS militants do not follow Muslim beliefs. Hussein told members of the media:
"We want to show them that Islam gives you the message of love, not picking up arms and killing people. We would form a human chain around the shrines and if they want to desecrate the shrines, they have to go through us first. And if anybody would die there, then that person would consider themselves the lucky and blessed one whose life went in sacrifice for the protection of these shrines."
Many of the volunteers are teenagers who have seen videos and images of IS members beheading individuals, carrying out mass executions and desecrating Shia shrines. Tatheem Fatima is one of those who is all too aware of the atrocities committed by IS. At only 12 years old, Fatima says she is willing to sacrifice herself to help protect her fellow Shia Muslims from the horrors inflicted upon them at the hands of Iraq's IS militants. She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
"They are killing our people. They are killing all those going for the holy pilgrimage. I want to go there; I want to kill them. I also want to be of some use there, by serving water, serving food, helping those who are in need of hospitalization and assisting them. These are the things I would like to do."
News of the vast number of Indian's willing to go against IS comes after officials with Ansar-ut-Tawheed, an ultra-religious extremist offshoot of the outlawed Indian Mujahideen, announced its support of IS forces on Sunday. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the group's caliph, threatened to conduct terrorist attacks within India in a video released on Sunday. The group's chief, Abdul Rehman Nadvi Al-Hindi, also announced plans to create Islamic State in India. The Hindu Times quotes him as saying:
“The Ummah (community) could not afford to lose this battle, as it will mean subjugation forever.”
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