Abu Baseer

A British fighter of Indian origin in the ranks of al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusrah is the latest casualty from the armed opposition in the conflict in Syria. Known by his nom de guerre of Abu Baseer al Hindi, the fighter was killed in a battle in the coastal Latakia Governarate largely held by the Bashar al Assad led government but partly contested by rebel groups and Syrian armed forces supported by Russia and Iran.The information was recorded on social media where several fighters and supporters of Nusrah wrote about Abu Baseer’s death. The exact details of his death are not known. However, he is believed to have died in the battle for control of Al Zahi mountains in Latakia’s northern countryside. Backed by Russian airforces, over 25 rebels of Nusrah and Free Syrian Army’s 1st Coastal Brigade were killed in the combat. He is the 60th British national to have been killed in the ongoing conflict in Syria.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amarnath Amarsingham, a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University, Canada has been researching on the phenomenon of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq and had been in touch with Abu Baseer. According to Amarsingham, Abu Baseer had Bachelors degree in sociology and law from UK where he had a normal upbringing in a Muslim family. “He did not seem to me like he was displaced. He was part of more radical Islamic activism in the UK as well. He was quite committed to the idea that jihad, particularly when faced with a situation like we have in Syria, was a religious obligation for him. He needed to go help his brothers and sisters in Syria.’’Amarsingham recalls that Abu Baseer told him that while he was born in UK, he is of an Indian origin. But he said, “I never saw myself as western or Indian. But a Muslim through and through.’’In a video released by his friends from Nusrah shot earlier in the year, Abu Baseer is seen recounting his time on the front-line. Dressed in military fatigues with a mask covering his face and an overgrown beard, he is seen in a pit with his Kalashnikov. In a noticable British accent, he says he is honoured to be here (in Syria) to “defend Muslim blood”. At one point he adds that while attaining shahada (martyrdom) is his dream, on the front-line one can’t be reckless while standing guard to protect the villages of the civilians.Many fighters on Twitter wrote tributes to Abu Baseer for his anti-IS views and for his drive to genuinely help the Muslims. “He left his well-paying job to come to Syria,’’ wrote one.As of now more than 700 British nationals have made this journey. Britain, which is home to a diverse immigrant population from the erstwhile colonies including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, has seen a large number of members of its Muslim community including converts travel to Iraq and Syria to join the militant groups or to live in the Caliphate declared by the Islamic State. One of the influential case of a British Indian origin jihadi is that of Siddharth Dhar who goes by the name of Abu Rumaysah. Dhar a Hindu convert to Islam, jumped bail while facing terror charges and fled UK with his wife, four children to the Islamic State. He later posted a picture of him holding his newborn son and an AK47 with the hashtag #GenerationKhilafah. Dhar last published an e-book called ‘A Brief Guide to the Islamic State’ [2015]’ a kind of tour guide providing details of the life in Caliphate to prospective recruits.

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I never saw myself as a Western or an Indian, but as a Muslim: British-Indian fighter