The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to send a team to Manila in the Philippines to interrogate a notorious woman recruiter for the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
Karen Aisha Hamidon, who radicalised several Indians in the last three years through social media. Sources said the NIA was already in touch with investigators in Manila following her arrest last month.
A proposal for the planned visit would be sent soon through the ministry of home affairs. Officials feel Hamidon’s interrogation could provide crucial leads about other Indian “foreign fighters” who may have joined IS since 2014 and more recruiters radicalising Indian youths through platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook etc.
TOI had first reported on October 21+ that Hamidon, whose name is mentioned in two NIA chargesheets as an “online motivator”, was arrested by the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). It was the NIA that first found out about her activities and informed the Filipino authorities last year.
The development comes even as Hamidon reportedly claimed before the department of justice in Manila on Friday that she was being “framed”. According to reports in Manila-based newspapers, Hamidon told reporters she was just a “blogger” and a “Muslim missionary” against whom false accusations had been levelled by police.
“I’m into journalistic articles, composition, and a writer … I’m an Islamic propagator, I’m a Muslim missionary, the counterpart of a Christian missionary. I only use the social media as my avenue to spread the message of Islam for religious purposes, for maximum audiences,” she said, “They (police) have already sensationalised my story because I have reached the pinnacle of international notoriety with the usage of the social media.”
The NBI has reportedly recovered from Hamidon, the wife of a slain leader of Ansarul Khalifa Philippines (AKP), Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, several chats and messages propagating IS activities, and electronic evidence showing her association with many suspected terrorists. The NIA is hoping to get this evidence from the Philippines.
The NBI has charged Hamidon on 14 counts of violations of Article 138 (inciting a rebellion or insurrection) of the Revised Penal Code and Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 of the Philippines. In its judicial request last year to the Philippines, the NIA had provided her address as Diego Shilang village in Taguig City, Metro Manila, her phone numbers, her identity as Karen Aisha Al-Muslimah, and her online ID as @KarenAishaHamidon.