Global terror networks: ‘First Indian al Qaeda member is an engineer'

Published: May 24, 2011
Mohammad Niaz was arrested in France for links with al Qaeda’s Algerian arm.

Mohammad Niaz was arrested in France for links with al Qaeda’s Algerian arm.


The first Indian Muslim to be associated with global terror network al Qaeda, who was arrested in France two weeks ago, is a mechanical engineer from south India, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram announced on Monday.

Mohammad Niaz, who hails from Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, had been “radicalised” very early in life and had been in touch with the proscribed Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi. “He joined Simi based in Tamil Nadu at the age of 21 and had been on the scanner of Indian intelligence agencies before he was arrested (in France),” he said. Simi is also allegedly allied with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the Indian government believes is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Niaz was arrested at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on May 10 upon arrival from Algeria, where he had developed links with an al Qaeda franchise. “It is reported that Niaz has been arrested for links with the terror group that is recruiting people for jihad in the Pakistan and Afghanistan region,” Chidambaram said. “The inputs that the government has on him indicate that he is a trained activist with a militant bent of mind,” he said.

Niaz is among seven suspected terrorists held by French authorities earlier this month. But the French government has not linked them to any specific plan to carry out attacks in that country. French Interior Minister Claude Gueant described Niaz as a man with a high level of technical training.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Ahmed Kazmi
    May 24, 2011 - 11:09AM

    France will make a good example of him.
    Meanwhile, the sober Indian engineers are fueling
    the technological and economic revolutions
    across four continents and the anglosphere.
    We should cheer the sober engineers,
    and condemn the radicalised idiots. Recommend

  • Sumith Krishnan
    May 24, 2011 - 11:41AM

    OMG..these people will spoil the name of my beloved country India.Actually Indian state Kerala where Moslem are economically and educationally very advance has become a breeding ground of radicalism.Just few month back radical Muslims has chopped hand of Christan professor who had set question paper regarding (their God).A grave danger lurking on future of India,just concluded assembly election in Kerala,Muslim has voted in masses to radical party Muslim league. Recommend

  • Dinesh Chetti
    May 24, 2011 - 12:22PM

    It is really disturbing to see a person from my province getting arrested for the above mentioned activities. Generally, Muslims in my state are minorities (5-8%) and peaceful when compared with northern India. Hindus also comparably less aggressive than north due to various atheistic movements and social reforms, but still a Hindu majority province (85%). It is a sad news for my province to get a bad name. Tamilnadu is one of the prosperous and peaceful states in IndiaRecommend

  • raman
    May 24, 2011 - 2:07PM

    @Sumith Krishnan
    agree with u, and more that iuml leader was SEX SCANDAL ACCUSED, and later exclusively proved by media (shot secretely the actions that happened behind curtain), and even though, they voted to.Recommend

  • Ahmed Wani
    May 24, 2011 - 2:43PM

    It seems that he was living in France for 20 years and was radicalised there. He was not radicalised in India.

    There has been no Indian resident that has been a member of AlQaeda and that still remains true.

    We need more facts and a court case to prove this if true. A few years back, another Indian muslim in Australia was falsely accused of being an AlQaeda member and it was proved to be false. This could again be the case here.Recommend

  • Rohit
    May 24, 2011 - 4:06PM

    I am feeling helpless,very disappointed to see my countryman doing this.Why Jawahar lal Nehru,you done this thing to my country.Why you did not agree for mass transfer of population.Why you could not see these people will never true to their soil.They are staying for many years in my country,even than they want to die for their Ummah.Recommend

  • Vinayak
    May 24, 2011 - 6:28PM

    If Jawaharlal Nehru had agreed to mass transfer, India would not have had Abdul Kalam, Mohd. Rafi, AR Rehmaan or Azim Premji, to mention only a few Indian-Muslims.

    Also, any religion can have people who are insensitive to humanity. Take your example itself.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 24, 2011 - 7:16PM

    Hang this idiot ! Its easier for people to point finger at whole community now ! Sacrifies of many muslims go in vein because of these idiots ! We do so much for the country and we love India as our mother but few shameless people are ruining the image of community.Recommend

  • Ahmed Abdul Aziz
    May 25, 2011 - 2:44AM

    This is only a propaganda. he is not covicted that he had carried out any terror attack on any country neither any material found under him. They don’t have any proof or evidence with them that he is Al Qaida. He is only accused and is a suspect. France also want’s to make their grade that they caught Indian Al Qaida. Catch any Muslim and say he is Al Qaida and kill him, this is the policy of western countries. ALL LIES.Recommend

  • Manoj
    May 25, 2011 - 11:02AM

    Waste of talent!

    A poor nation like India spends huge amount in making an engineer and doctor. Hard earned money of tax payer is spent to subsidize the education and if the person educated by this system allows himself to be used by anti social element, it’s misfortune of the nation and society.Recommend

  • Rohit
    May 25, 2011 - 11:40AM

    See Mr.Vinayak,i m not a fanatic.I have a very much liberal view about religion.You would be agree with me that most of Indian people are very tolerant.I stay in Bangalore,my room mate was muslim.He is software engineer.Earning good salary having good life.But what hurt me most was his insensitivity towards his motherland,praise for Osama,radical thought,having a soft corner for our enemy country.He is having a view of giving citizenship to those Bangladeshi migrant who is infiltrating our country posing a serious security challenge.I tell you most of muslim citizen of our country having a similar view as was my room mate. Recommend

  • Indiyan
    May 25, 2011 - 6:08PM

    @Rohit and @Vinayak

    I agree with Rohit…. I live in US and friend of mine is a Muslim from India and he has the same quality Rohit’s friend has got (soft corner’s towards bad Muslim guys/groups). Why??? When their entire family survives with our Indian people… haw can they even think about being against India???Recommend

  • G. Din
    May 25, 2011 - 6:34PM

    @Vinayak: to Rohit
    “If Jawaharlal Nehru had agreed to mass transfer, India would not have had Abdul Kalam, Mohd. Rafi, AR Rehmaan or Azim Premji, to mention only a few Indian-Muslims. “
    It could also be said that since no Muslim country has produced the likes of those you have mentioned, that this fact stands to the credit of India which provided the conditions for their flowering into such productive citizens. Nehru was a blind appeaser of Muslims, nothing else and so are all his orphans in the Congress Party and other parties. It is not appeasement politics that made even one of those you have mentioned great. They all were hard intelligent workers and India rewarded their hard work as it does/ would any other citizen, Muslim or other.
    It follows therefore that if a transfer of populations had indeed occurred, India would have still produced and nurtured talent. However, we would not have had the shameful spectacle of Indian Muslims rooting on home ground for Pakistani teams, hoisting black flags or Pakistani flags atop their houses on national days sacred to all non-Muslims over the last some 60 years or being generally exclusionary or mounting an heinous attempt at skewing the Indian political system by working hand in glove with cynical politicians in getting quotas and other entitlements at the cost of others much worse placed in the Indian polity.
    It is, nevertheless, a matter of some gratification that Indian Muslims seem to have now turned the corner and are increasingly getting more and more patriotic. One could say they have started to see the light which their coreligionists in other parts of the world have still to see!Recommend

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