How an unassuming gaming app brainwashes youth to adopt Islam

Ghaziabad, Jun 7 (IANS): A game similar to PUBG has been allegedly brainwashing non-Muslim youth and motivating them to convert to Islam, the police said on Wednesday, adding that a manhunt is underway for the prime accused, Shahnawaz Khan, who is at large.

The Ghaziabad Police, Lucknow Police and several other agencies are looking for Shahnawaz Khan a.k.a. Baddo, who allegedly targeted minor children to convert through an online gaming application, in many places, including Maharashtra.

The Ghaziabad Police team is in Chandigarh and Faridabad for further investigation. A police team has also been sent to Maharashtra to nab Shahnawaz Khan, who hails from Thane.

A cleric (Maulvi) at a mosque in Sanjay Nagar area in Ghaziabad was arrested in this connection on Sunday.

Four minors -- two from Ghaziabad and one each from Faridabad and Chandigarh -- who converted through this modus operandi, have been identified so far.

The game -- Fortnite -- was launched by a US-based gaming company in 2017.

The game is said to have PUBG-like features. The user would be on a virtual island and provided with arms and weapons to kill opponents in order to finish/win the game.

The first step involves user registration. Once one starts playing the game, a group of players is also formed and everyone plays the game together. However, the user will not be able to know if the fellow players have a verified or fake ID.

In the course of playing the game, the users interact with one another as well, and that is how the process of brainwashing takes its initial shape.

"You need to read some verses and perform Namaz if you want to win the game. The Almighty is very powerful," the users are told.

According to the police, users who play in a group are usually trapped. If anyone loses the game, he is made to read some verses from the Quran, and they are made to win the game... just to solidify their belief in the Quran, the police said.

The police said that Muslim youth chat with the Hindu youth by using a Hindu-sounding username, and the Hindu youth are gradually motivated to adopt Islamic rituals.

Once the Hindu youth are befriended, it becomes easier to brainwash them, the police said.

Finally, the users are provided videos of banned Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to further brainwash them.

The Ghaziabad police have also received information about the conversion of 400 people from Mumbra in Gujarat through a gaming app. The informer has also provided photos and videos to the police.

The police have gathered some inputs about Shahnawaz Khan, and a suspected Pakistani connection behind the conversion racket.



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