Islamic hardliners not serious threat in Kerala: Chandy

November 25th, 2011 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) There are attempts by Islamic hardliners to radicalise Muslim youths in Kerala, but it is not a “serious situation”, says Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

“Some attempts are there, but we are not in any serious situation or anything like that,” Chandy replied when asked if there had been a rise in Islamic fundamentalism in the southern state and whether hardline groups were on the rise.

Chandy was interacting with IANS journalists during a visit to the agency’s head office here this week.

“Some fundamentalist groups are working among the youngsters,” Chandy admitted. Around 25 percent of Kerala’s over 33 million population is Muslim.

Chandy said though some people oppose the Muslim League - a key constituent of Chandy’s United Democratic Front (UDF) government - the party’s activities have been able to check the extremists to some extent.

“People are opposing the Muslim League, but one fact is there: their activity in the community, especially among youth, could check the extremists to some extent,” he said.

The Muslim League (Kerala State Committee) is the second largest party in the UDF with 20 legislators in the 140-member state assembly and two MPs in the Lok Sabha. Its nominee, E. Ahamed, is a minister in the central government.

Chandy said some elements were trying to create the sentiment that the Muslim League was not defending the cause of the Muslim community.

“Some sections are trying to create a feeling that the Muslim League is part of the ruling system, that it is not in a position to take a strong position in the interest of the community. That is not correct. ”

“We want to encourage those who are discouraging the extremist set and the fundamentalists. We are trying our best to encourage that section,” Chandy added.

Kerala is known for communal harmony, but there have been some violent incidents linked to religious extremism in the recent past. Members of a hardline Islamic group chopped off the hand of a college professor in July 2010 for setting a question paper that allegedly defamed Prophet Mohammed.

In 2008, four youths who were shot dead by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir as part of a team of militants trying to cross over to Pakistan were found to be from Kerala.

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