Global media is widely reporting that the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a group tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood, is behind the recent bomb attacks in New Delhi. According to one report
A group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks and for bombings in the western city of Jaipur in May that killed 61 people and July blasts in the western state of Gujarat that killed at least 45. Police believe the group is a front for the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, which was banned in 2001. On Monday, the Anti-Terror Squad in Mumbai said it was searching for a suspected SIMI activist, identified by just one name, Tauqeer, who is believed to have sent e-mails claiming responsibility for Saturday’s attacks. …The government has blamed SIMI for a wave of bomb attacks that have rocked India in the last three years, killing hundreds, saying SIMI activists were working together with foreign Islamic groups. Several alleged SIMI activists have been rounded up in recent months, but police have made little apparent headway in finding those behind the attacks.
The Jamestown Foundation issued a report in 2006 that discussed SIMI’s origins in the thought of Maulana Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi (1903-79), the most important Islamist intellectual in the history of Southeast Asia and a major influence on the global Muslim Brotherhood. According to that report:
SIMI was deeply inspired by Maududi’s goal to make Islam the supreme organizing principle for the social and political life of the Muslim community. In its annual report, SIMI reiterated these tenets, urging Muslim youths to struggle for the revival of Islam in the light of the Quran and Sunnah (South Asia Analysis Group, October 30, 2003). In fact, the Maududi influence was so deep-rooted that in the early years of SIMI’s existence the organization was dominated by the Indian wing of JI, called Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). In due course, SIMI emerged as a coalition of student and youth Islamic bodies, namely the Muslim Students Association, Students Islamic Union, Students Islamic Organization and Muslim Youth Association.
The Jamestown report goes on to detail the links between SIMI and the global Muslim Brotherhood:
The ideological affinity with Hamas was revealed by SIMI’s financial secretary Salim Sajid following his arrest in June 2002. According to Sajid, Hamas’ former spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin had endorsed the “freedom struggle” in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state and the reconstruction of the demolished Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh (Times of India, June 29, 2002). Sajid’s interrogation also exposed SIMI’s covert connections with Saudi Arabia’s Jamayyatul Ansar (JA) and Bangladesh’s Islamic Chhatra Shivir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (Times of India, June 29, 2002). JA is primarily comprised of expatriate Indian Muslims working in Saudi Arabia and is suspected of channeling funds to SIMI. Other sources of funding have included the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Riyadh, the International Islamic Federation of Students Organizations based in Kuwait and the U.S.-based Consultative Committee of Indian Muslims (The Hindu, September 28, 2001).
Numerous prior posts have discussed the role of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in the global Muslim Brotherhood. The IIFSO is essentially the international youth organization of the global Muslim Brotherhood and many important leaders in the global Brotherhood are still officers.
The Jamestown report goes on to say that following SIMI’s pro-Taliban position after 911, anti-U.S. demonstrations, and the glorification of Osama Bin Laden, the organization was banned by the Indian Government but that Safdar Nagori, the SIMI leader who has been arrested in connection with the New Delhi attacks, was trying to revive SIMI and had established links with Pakistani intelligence operatives, the Palestinian group Hamas and other “like-minded organizations beyond India’s borders.” A previous post has discussed allegations by Indian police that SIMI was conducting secret jihadist training camps and that the group was behind blasts in Mumbai (Bombay) in 2003 in which at least 50 people were killed.
Although the current status of the links between SIMI and the global Muslim Brotherhood are unknown, the situation should cast some doubt on the notion that there is a “firewall” between the global Muslim Brotherhood and violent jihadist activities.