Islamic Crusaders in spotlight

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 12:00am

LASHKAR-E-TAIBA: Literally means 'Army of the Pure' and has been active in Kashmir since the early 1990s, although most of its members are non-Kashmiri and the group is based in Pakistan.

India holds it responsible for numerous attacks in Kashmir and for the assault on the Indian parliament in December 2001 that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Its professed ideology goes beyond merely challenging India's sovereignty over Kashmir. A pamphlet entitled 'Why are we waging jihad?' calls for the restoration of Islamic rule over India. Both Britain and the US list it as a terrorist organisation.

Pakistan was forced to ban the group. Lashkar-e-Taiba is believed to have recruited fighters trained in Afghanistan linked with al-Qaeda.

THE STUDENTS ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF INDIA: An Islamist organisation that advocates the 'liberation of India' by converting it to a fundamentalist Islamic country. It was banned under India's anti-terrorism laws last year.

Its campaign, waged by young fanatical students, is aimed at establishing Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam) by converting all non-Muslims in India to Islam. Many of its activists have been arrested for engaging in subversive activities.