Gulf money fueling Muslim extremism in Kerala; IUML grows more militant to take on other radical islamist parties

published on July 9, 2013
NEW DELHI: Kerala’s Muslims have prospered largely thanks to the Gulf Boom, but over the past four decades the phenomenon has also led to an apparent spurt in extremist tendencies among the minority community, throwing up yet another paradox in a state known for paradoxes.

Every time the chief Muslim party, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), flexes its political muscles and seeks more representation in the Congress-led government, the focus shifts to ‘radical Islam’. None other than the state Congress president, Ramesh Chennithala, recently accused the recalcitrant ally of being a “liability”.

The IUML, which has 20 MLAs and five ministers in the 140-member assembly, has often come under attack – even from defence minister AK Antony – for using its “bargaining power” in a minority government to secure ministerial and other administrative perks. The party has come under sharp criticism for nominating a former long-time security guard of industries minister and IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty as the regional passport officer of Malappuram – the CBI has initiated a probe into irregularities in issuing passports by this former gunman, K Abdul Rasheed, whose “out of turn” appointment itself had generated controversy. It has also been demanding bifurcation of the Muslim majority district of Malappuram to gain an additional Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 general elections.
The IUML, according to renowned historian MGS Narayanan, who was a chairman of the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), used to be a “relatively secular party like the Congress”. Lately, however, he says, it has been trying to outwit radical elements such as the Popular Front of India (PFI) through its constant “pro-Muslim posturing”, and in the process contributing to polarisation along communal lines in the country’s most literate state. The state’s self-government department, held by IUML, had issued a circular that legalised marriages of Muslim women in the age group of 16 to 18 and men below 21. In the face of protests, the circular was amended.

Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had listed Kerala – a state that economists such as Professor Amartya Sen and others have used as a case study to highlight the paradox of high social indicators despite low growth – along with the likes of J&K and Assam that are seeing a spurt in extremist religious fervour.

A major chunk of the estimated 60,000 crore in remittances that Kerala receives is contributed by Muslim migrants and Malappuram tops the list of beneficiaries among all its 14 districts. The Muslims, who form more than a quarter of Kerala’s total population, are not only more economically advanced but also politically more powerful compared with the Muslims in the other states. Among all communities in the state, only Muslims have positive population growth – something that has prompted the Church to discreetly encourage more than two children per family.

Read More :

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

sixteen + 20 =


Latest Articles from Bharath Focus

Did You Know?