'India's Religious Diversity, Tolerance Acting As Buffer Against ISIS'

'India's Religious Diversity, Tolerance Acting As Buffer Against ISIS'

India's religious diversity and tolerance are acting as a buffer against the ISIS, whose appeal is "much less among the Indian population" compared to other countries, US expert on terrorism Gary Lafree said today.

"Being a visitor to this country, its religious diversity and expression is really fascinating. So many religious groups living in harmony is actually a buffer, as ISIS is trying to create a wedge between Islam and other religions," Lafree, the director of the National Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) said.

"In countries which have predominately one religion, there it is easy for ISIS to unite Muslims. But in India because of its diversity it is not possible, where so many religions, churches, mosques, exist side by side.

"India has very few foreign fighters, compared to the size of the country even compared to Europe. The appeal of ISIS is much less in India. In US and Europe we are very concerned about ISIS," Lafree said.

Terming ISIS as a formidable group, Lafree said ISIS has a "deep bench" of leadership and it will not be a easy task to wipe off ISIS.

Lafree, however, pointed out that terrorism based on religious radicalism was on the rise in India.

"In India terrorism based on religious radicalism is on the rise. India ranks fourth in the list of global terror attacks in 2014. The first three are Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. India tends to have all kind of terrorism whether religious, left wing, right wing and many more. Sixty per cent of the attacks have been from Maoists and Left wing terrorism," noted.

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