Once again we see the conflicting narratives. Western leaders universally tell us that the Muslims who join the Islamic State know nothing about Islam and are transgressing against its teachings. Yet those who are allied with the Islamic State claim to be the exponents of true and pure Islam — and this Islamic State propagandist is here described by his parents as devout and knowledgeable about the Qur’an. Who is telling the truth, and how can we find out? Perhaps a public discussion about the teachings of the Qur’an and Islam in general would be in order — or would that be “Islamophobic”?
“I feared the worst when our son stopped responding to calls shortly after 1 am on Saturday. When we spoke last, he told us the Bangalore Police might come any moment,” Dr Mekail Biswas, father of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, said on Saturday.
In the past 12 hours, the world of Dr Biswas and his wife Mumtaz Biswas has been turned upside down, perhaps forever. Masroor, a manufacturing executive for a multinational conglomerate based in Bangalore, was arrested on Saturday after Britain’s Channel 4 revealed him as the individual behind the pro-IS Twitter handle @ShamiWitness.
The Indian Express tracked down the Biswases on Friday night, and soon after the newspaper became available on Saturday morning, reporters from print publications and television channels descended on the family’s home in Kaikhali near Dum Dum airport. It is from them that the couple learnt that their son had been arrested.
“We were totally in the dark about our son’s alleged activities, for which he has been arrested… We are hoping to leave for Bangalore as early as possible, but we fear that his flat will now be out of bounds. Who will accommodate the parents of a man branded a terrorist?” Dr Biswas, a 64-year-old retired assistant engineer of the West Bengal State Electricity Board who now practises as a homoeopathic doctor, told The Sunday Express.
Sources in central police agencies which have been working on the background of Masroor said on Saturday that according to their findings, Masroor was a “self motivated preacher for Islam and apparently had no mentors”.
From an analysis of the tweets allegedly posted by him on @ShamiWitness, investigators have got a preliminary impression that Masroor was “basically doing a copy-paste operation, mostly repeating stuff that had surfaced on several forums of the IS”.
These investigators said that while there was no doubt about the strong Islamic moorings of Masroor, no concrete evidence had emerged so far to link him to jihadi activities.
Sitting in their home north of Kolkata, Masroor’s parents appeared clueless about their son’s online identity — it seemed inconceivable to them that their well-behaved, timid, God-fearing son who liked to confine himself to his home at most times could be an aggressive jihadist propagandist who lauded the IS’s barbaric beheadings in the virtual world. The Internet is largely an alien world to them, the couple said.
“Our son is a devout Muslim,” Dr Biswas said. “He had learnt the Quran Sharif by heart, and would often give me and my wife lessons from the Holy Book. He did not know Arabic; he had learnt the English version of the Quran.”…