Following reports that Islamic State (Isis) terrorists were radicalising young people through the Internet, Imams in India have taken to social media in a counter attack against Daesh influence. The social media initiative aims to spread the message of peace and educate young people about the true meaning of Islam.
The social media campaign is being led by a top Muslim cleric in Bengal, Qari Fazlur Rehman. Once the details of the project have been confirmed, Rehman aims to launch it in a number of difference languages, including Arabic, Urdu, Bengali and Hindi, so that it has "maximum reach".
Rehman told the Press Trust of India "What I have seen is that various groups, including Isis, is misleading the youth by misinterpreting the versions of Islam and Quran. This has to be countered. Islam doesn't teach us violence or bloodshed. Islam teaches us peace and brotherhood."
According to the Imam, Isis terrorists have been using platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp and YouTube to recruit young jihadists. Muslim clerics believe that using social media will give them an edge in combating terrorists who are "polluting" young minds with a "malicious campaign".
Although the social media campaign is yet to be rolled out Rehman confirmed that he was speaking to authorities and a number of organisations and would be finalising the plan soon. The Muslim religious leaders have also planned to take the campaign to villages and madrasas, where social media might not be used as much.
Akhtar Hossain, general secretary of the All Begal Imam-Muezzin Council, said: "If someone tries to mislead people on Islam and about the teachings of Quran, it is the duty of the Imams and the Muezzin to spread the true message of Islam. Islam never teachers us terrorism and those who are using Islam to shield their terror activities don't know the true meaning of Islam."