The Indian Mujahedeen: Home-Grown Terror Group with Global Connections

The largest group is code-named Call of Islam. IM recruits tend to be lower- and middle-class Muslims opposed to both Hindu nationalism and Western values; IM also claims leaders and cadres from professional backgrounds, especially from the IT sector.

In claiming responsibility for the blasts, the group has clearly laid out its short- and long-term objectives. The immediate goals are retribution for injustices meted out to the Muslim minority in India including the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, the dispute in Kashmir, and the alleged discriminatory attitude of the police.

Instead of targeting specific leaders and officials involved in the above issues directly, the group seeks to undermine the Indian state’s will and ability to function by creating an environment of fear. The long-term objective is the establishment of a South Asia Islamic Caliphate in alignment with other jihadist groups like the LeT, HM, and JeM.

SIMI is believed to have enjoyed considerable international support, including that of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Saudi Arabia. The organization has chapters in 55 countries and was founded by Osama bin Laden’s nephew. It holds conferences and distributes literature that promote jihad as well as raises funds for terrorist groups such as Hamas. WAMY has been tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

India’s security concerns are now growing given the rising number of attacks and use of more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IED) like those in Iraq. The key question is whether the Indian jihadist groups can move from a strategy of sporadic attacks to the ability to launch a full-scale war. And of course the backing and safe haven these groups get from Pakistan make the problem far more complex.