(IraqiNews.com) The conflict between Iraq’s government and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has begun to spread concerns throughout the region, particularly in India. Last week, the country was concerned over the unknown whereabouts of 40 Indian construction workers. The workers were in a territory that had been captured by the terrorist group ISIS.
Now, new concerns have emerged as India’s largest Shia organization began to recruit volunteers to defend Shia holy shrines in Iraq that may soon fall into the hands of ISIS. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 Indian Shia Muslims have already signed up to fight and applied for visas to fly into Iraq.
Various Indian Shia Muslim organizations are hoping that recruitment can build a force strong enough to defend the holy shrines against ISIS, as there are more than 50 million Shia Muslims in India led by those closely tied to Iran and Iraq.
India’s Shias said they would not stand by while Karbala is attacked again. Their recruits include bankers, students, doctors and engineers and their leaders have written to the Indian government to stress Isis’ support for terrorist attacks in India too.
“We have nearly 30,000 volunteers who have filled in the forms and given their passports and are ready to go any moment. Another hundred thousand have got in touch with us and have pledged their support. We are looking at a million volunteers to form a human chain around the holy shrines of Karbala and Najaf, in case the Isis attacks. We will do everything to stop the advance of the enemies”, said Syed Bilal, spokesman of Anjuman-e-Haideri which protects Delhi’s own ‘Karbala’ shrine.
“The volunteers are educated young men from different backgrounds. We do not plan to train them in arms. We will go there to fight them bare handed”, he added.
As reported by IraqiNews.com, Iran has previously vowed that Shia holy shrines in Iraq will be defended at almost any cost – particularly in Karbala and Najaf, where ISIS leaders have claimed they will attempt to capture the holy sites. Millions of Shia Muslim pilgrims travel to the revered sites each year.