In order to prevent youth from joining dreaded terror outfits like the Islamic State (IS), the RSS-affiliated Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) is planning to engage with them by establishing a special cell.According to MRM office-bearers, its ‘Don’t join IS’ cell will counsel the vulnerable youth against falling prey to the designs of such outfits. It will also rope in ulemas (Muslim religious scholars) to put its message across. The MRM is the only niche organisation in the Sangh Parivar for the Muslim community.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four youth from Kalyan near Mumbai had fled to Syria to fight for the IS. Security agencies had also prevented some such attempts by arresting youth and de-radicalising them.The critics of RSS, however, point to how the organisation’s ultra nationalist agenda was pushing sections of the community to beyond the margins and into their own cocoon.”In our national executive meeting held in Nagpur in April, there was a suggestion that an awareness programme be conducted among the youth, considering that some of them are getting attracted to organisations like the IS, apart from Maoist groups… and that the MRM set up a cell in this regard,” said senior MRM and RSS functionary Virag Pachpor.”This will be a permanent cell for creating awareness among the youth, especially Muslim youngsters. Awareness needs to be conducted… about Islam being against terrorism,” he stressed.Details of the functioning of the cell and the way in which the ulema can be involved in it were being worked out.”The youth are already patriotic. This must be forced and built upon… to reduce the IS influence, patriotism must be encouraged,” said Irfan Ali Peerzade, national co-convenor, MRM. He added that they planned to reach out to Muslim youth on campuses of minority educational institutions.”All Indians are born patriotic. But our need is to grow more patriotic,” Peerzade stressed, pointing to the need to appeal to the upwardly mobile aspirations of the community.”Efforts have been made for influencing youngsters through social media. They (IS) think of India as a barren ground to churn out such elements,” noted All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA Imtiaz Jaleel, adding that the number of Indian Muslims influenced by such organisations, however, is miniscule in comparison with their population.”I do not think the situation is so alarming. (These are) few stray elements… A majority of Indians believe in Indianness, majority of Muslims believe in Indianness,” he added, stating that “we dont feel the RSS needs to teach the Muslim youngsters about patriotism and nationalism.””You are trying to dictate your agenda to all communities in the country… they are trying to create a sense of alienation in the community,” Jaleel charged.In a bid to deepen its outreach among Muslims, the MRM was established in 2002 at the behest of then RSS chief KS Sudarshan. It was initially called ‘Rashtravadi Muslim Andolan-Ek Nayi Raah’ and re-christened as the MRM in 2005.Muslims form around 10.6% of Maharashtra’s 11.23 crore population. However, only 2.2% of the community has completed education till graduation and the proportion is at a lower 1.4% for women. According to the Rajinder Sachar committee report, the share of Muslims in government services is just 4.4%. The community also suffers from regressive social practices like oral, triple talaq and low literacy and work participation of women.

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RSS special cell to engage with Muslim youth prone to IS designs