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India's Shias flocking to Iraq to fight Sunni insurgents
Group claims it already has 25,000 volunteers
The Shia group has floated a tender inviting the aviation industry to carry volunteers to Baghdad (Photo by EPA)
- Baba Umar for Al Jazeera
- July 2, 2014
A top Shia group in India has called for thousands of volunteers to travel to Iraq to fight "terrorism" by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rebels, "protect Shia shrines" and "look after" the wounded, the group members told Al Jazeera.
Thousands of Muslims have already registered for the mission which the Shia organisation Anjuman-e-Haideri is spearheading.
The group has also floated a tender inviting India's aviation industry to carry the thousands of volunteers to Baghdad in a short period starting from August.
"So far 25,000 people have volunteered for the Iraq mission. And we expect special rates from the aviation industry. Let us see what response our tender fetches us," President of Anjuman-e-Haideri (New Delhi chapter), Ali Naqvi told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
He said the volunteers were funding their journeys to Iraq and those unable to assemble money "will be funded by the organisation".
The group members said the effort was not sectarian and rebels killing "innocent" civilians in Iraq needed to be stopped.
"We will go to Iraq come what may to defend our holy shrines, protect civilians from the ISIL brutes and treat the wounded. This is purely a humanitarian effort. The volunteers include Shias and Sunnis both. They are doctors, engineers and civil servants," chief patron of Anjuman-e-Haideri, M Ali Mirza said.
He said the group would send more than 100,000 volunteers to Iraq to fight ISIL's "terrorism" which, he said, could reach India too.
"As Indians we are against terrorism and we will fight it," he said.
Full Story: Indian Shias sign up to fight in Iraq
Source: Al Jazeera