Mohammed Sinan Siyech

Thesis title: Salafist movements and their approaches to secular democracy in India

Islamic and Middle East Studies Programme

Year of study: 3

  • Islamic and Middle East Studies Department
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Contact details


Mohammed Sinan Siyech is a PhD Candidate at the Islamic and Middle East Studies Department at the School of Language, Literature and Culture in Edinburgh Univerisity. He is also a Senior Analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Sinan holds an MSc in International Relations from RSIS, NTU. He was granted the Terrorism Analyst Study Award by RSIS in 2015 to pursue his Masters while conducting research with ICPVTR.

Prior to joining RSIS, Sinan pursued an Arabic Language Diploma from Summit Academy in Mukalla, Yemen. His research at RSIS focusses on insurgency, civil war and terrorism in Yemen and India. He has written various articles on Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and foreign policy pertaining to these countries. Additionally, Sinan also works on combatting violent extremism. He studies Hindutva and Salafism apart from extremism in the online sphere.


MSc in International Relations, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore  (2017)      

Diploma in Arabic Language, Summit Academy, Yemen  (2015)

Bachelors of Commerce (Honors), Christ University, India  (2014)

Current research interests

Mohammed Sinan Siyech is currently researching Salafist groups in India and their articulation of political preferences using a combination of primary sources (speeches, writings, interviews) and secondary sources. Concurrently Sinan is also an active commentator on issues pertaining to Jihadist groups, right wing groups, radicalization and tech companies in the extremism sphere. He is also an observer of Indian foreign policy in South Asia and the Middle East and has written extensively on topics like India - UAE, India - Pakistan ties and other related issues.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Journal Articles

  1. Mohammed Nawab and Mohammed Sinan. Hizb ut Tahrir in Australia. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Submitted for Peer Review
  2. Salafist approaches to violence and terrorism: The Indian case study. Religion Compass. Vol 16. Issue 6. June 2022, 16 (6) 1 – 12.
  3. An Introduction to Right Wing Extremism in India. New England Journal of Public Policy, Vol 33, Issue 2. November 2021. 33 (2) 1-16.
  4. India’s Foreign Fighter Puzzle. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. Vol 44, Issue 1. Feb 2021. 44 (1) 89 – 106.
  5. India’s Counter Terrorism Co-operation with UAE and Saudi Arabia. India Review. Vol. 19, Issue 4. October 2020, 19 (1) 351 – 375.      
  6. Exploring the nexus between Arms Smuggling and Terrorism in India. Terrorism and Political Violence. Special Issue. October 2019. 45 (5-6) 445 – 482.
  7. AQIS in India and Bangladesh: Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. March 2020. 15(1) 64-82.
  8. Mohammed Sinan Siyech and Akanksha Narain. Beef Related Violence in India: An Expression of Islamophobia. Journal of Islamophobia. January 2019. 4 (2) 181 – 194.
  9. A Typology of Insurgent, Terrorist and Extremist Threats in India. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism: Special Issue. May 2018. 13 (2) 231-251.


Peer Reviewed Policy Articles.

  1. Poverty, Criminality, Extremism: The Interrelated Sources of Insecurity in Maldives. ORF Issue Brief. September 2022.
  2. The Return of the Taliban: ‘Foreign Fighters’ and Other Threats to India’s Security. ORF Issue Brief. January 2022.
  3. Mohammed Sinan Siyech and Kabir Taneja. The ISIS threat in Kerala. Observer Research Foundation Issue Brief. September 2019. 


Book Chapters

  1. The Kerala Nadwatul Mujahideen. In (eds.) Natana DeLong Bas and Emad Hamdeh, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Reform Movements. Oxford University Press. Accepted.  
  2. Salafism and Violence: Comparing India and Pakistan. (Eds) Shafi Md Mostofa, John Idriss Lahai, Howard Brasted. Routledge Handbook on “the Dynamics of Violent Extremism, Extremist Groups and State Fragility”. Palgrave Macmillan.  February 2023. 
  3. Nazneen Mohsina and Mohammed Sinan Siyech. Terrorist Narratives and Recruitment in South Asia: The India Factor in (eds) Mubashar Hasan. Radicalization in South Asia: Context, Trajectories and Implication. Sage Publications. August 2019.
  4. Examining the Rise of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. in Political Spin-Offs and Developmental Outcomes: Beyond the Middle East Cauldron. UTM Press, Malaysia. November 2018.



Long Reports

  1. Suraj Ganesan and Mohammed Sinan Siyech. Islamic State Online: A look at the Group’s South Asian Presence on Alternate Platforms. GNET Report. February 2023.
  2. Chinese Hegemony, Economic Ties and National Security: Explaining China’s ties with Armed Non-State Actors in the Muslim world. Sharq Forum. August 2022.
  3. The Popular Front of India: Looking Beyond the Sensationalism. Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. Vol 28.  Hudson Institute. May 2021.
  4. Sinan Siyech. Climate Change and Security implications in the MENA region. Al Sharq Forum. May 2020.
  5. Mohammed Sinan Siyech. India’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East and North African Region. Al Sharq Forum. March 2019.


Papers in Open Access Journals

  1. Annual threat Assessment of India (2019). Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis. Volume 12, Issue 1. January 2020
  2. The Pulwama Attack: An Indian Perspective, Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis. Volume 11, Issue 3. April 2019.
  3. Annual Threat Assessment of India (2018), Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis. Volume 11, Issue 1. January 2019.
  4. Why Has the Islamic State Failed to Grow in Kashmir? Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis. Volume 10, No 5. May 2018.
  5. Annual Threat Assessment of India (2017) , Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis. Volume 10, Issue 1. January 2018.
  6. Exploring The Contribution of Islam Towards Global Governance: Locating Ethics Within the Discourse of Policy. Aegis: Journal of International Relations. December 15, 2017.  
  7. The Islamic State in India: Exploring its Footprints, Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis, Volume 9, Issue 5, May 2017.
  8. Salafism in India: Diversity and Challenges, Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis, Volume 8, Issue 4, April 2017.
  9. Annual Threat Assessment of the MENA Region. Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis, Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2017.
  10. Islamic State: Sowing the Seeds of its Own Destruction, Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis, Volume 08, Issue 10, November 2016.  
  11. Terrorist Attacks: The Politics of Claiming Responsibility, Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis, Volume 08, Issue 08, August 2016
  12. A Comparative Analysis of ‘Islamic State’ & Al Qaeda in Yemen, Counter Terrorism Trends and Analysis, Volume 08, Issue 08, August 2016.


Commentaries and Op-eds:

Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

  1. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Exploiting the climate crisis in Yemen. ORF Expert Speak. February 08, 2023.
  2. Saudi Arabia’s religious pruning: Will there be an Islamic hegemon anymore? ORF Experts Speak. July 05, 2022.
  3. Saudi Arabia: Remerging as the leader of the Islamic world? ORF Expert Speak. May 12, 2022.
  4. The United Arab Emirates’ dilemma in the Ukraine war: To vote or not to vote. ORF Expert Speak. March 2022.
  5. Israel and a changing Middle East. ORF Expert Speak. February 2022.
  6. Houthi attack on the UAE: Mapping the impact of the Yemen conflict on India. ORF Expert Speak. January 2022.
  7. North Africa in the Indian foreign policy matrix. ORF Expert Speak. October 2021.
  8. Exploring India’s ties with Yemen. ORF Expert Speak. September 2021.
  9. Raffaello Pantucci and Mohammed Sinan Siyech. Targeting of a former president highlights the growing challenge of extremism in Maldives. ORF Expert Speak. June 2021.
  10. Mohammed Sinan Siyech and Suraj Ganesan. Al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s rivalry in South Asia. ORF Expert Speak. January 2021.
  11. Terror in a renewed era of interstate conflict — Bringing climate change center stage. ORF Expert Speak. December 2020.
  12. Indian Muslims and jihadist failures: Past and future. OR Expert Speak. August 2020.
  13. Learning from Covid-19: Preparing for the impact of climate change on conflict and terrorism. ORF, July 29, 2020.
  14. Understanding the Indian foreign fighter lacuna. ORF, January 31, 2020.


South China Morning Post

  1. Iran-Saudi accord shows China’s growing Middle East influence via diplomacy, trade and security. March 2023

  2. How climate migrants will impact Europe and help drive the rise of the far right. South China Morning Post. January 2023.
  3. Why Twitter’s firing of content moderators is a sign of worse to come. South China Morning Post. November 2022.
  4. Why jihadists of the world won’t unite against Chinese action in Xinjiang. South China Morning Post. August 2022.
  5. Is China Enroute to becoming the next ‘Far Enemy’ for Jihadist groups? South China Morning Post. September 2020.
  6. From US elections to violence in India, the threat of deepfakes is only growing. South China Morning Post. September 2020.


Sharq Forum

  1. Understanding India’s Neutrality in the Israel Palestine Issue. Sharq Forum. July 2022.
  2. The Truce in Yemen: A Ray of Hope or Another Failed Opportunity? Sharq Forum. May 2022.
  3. Examining the Islamic State Resurgence in Iraq and Syria. Sharq Forum. April 2022.
  4. How COVID-19 Affects Complex Conflicts: War and Postwar Implications in Yemen. Sharq Forum. September 2020.
  5. The CAA protests and the role of Muslims. Al Sharq Forum. January 2020.
  6. Explaining the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s Response to India’s Abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir. Sharq Forum. November 2019.
  7. India – Iran Relations. Sharq Forum. May 2019.

Middle East Institute – Washington

  1. Mohammed Sinan Siyech and Suraj Ganesan. Jihadist Groups Exploiting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. August 2021.
  2. Mohammed Sinan Siyech and Naweeda Jouhar. The Role of Civil Society Actors during COVID-19 lockdowns. April 2020.
  3. What makes a movement violent: Comparing Salafists in India and Paksitan. February 2020.
  4. India Qatar Relations: Manoeuvring the Gulf crisis. April 2019.
  5. The Islamic State in India: Upgrading Capabilities? February 2019.
  6. India’s Iran Quandary. Middle East Institute. September 06, 2018.
  7. Anti-India Sentiments in South Asia: Terrorist Recruitment Narratives. Middle East Institute. July 23, 2018.
  8. India-Gulf Counter Terrorism Cooperation, Middle East Institute, December 2017.
  9. Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS): Renewing Efforts in India, Middle East Institute, September 17,2017.
  10. The India-U.A.E. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in Regional Context: A Zero-Sum Game? Middle East Institute. May 16, 2017.


RSIS Commentaries

  1. Raffaello Pantucci and Mohammed Sinan Siyech. The Islamic State in Maldives: Trouble in Paradise. RSIS Commentaries. March 28, 2020.
  2. The Pulwama Attack Aftermath: Fake News. RSIS Commentaries. March 04, 2019.
  3. Crime–Terror Nexus Along India’s Eastern Border. RSIS Commentaries. April 12, 2018.
  4. BJP’s Victory in UP: Development or Communal Tensions? RSIS Commentaries. March 31,2017. 
  5. Driving Out ISIS from Libya: What Lies Ahead? RSIS Commentaries, September 27,2016. 
  6. Victory in Fallujah: It’s Far from Over, RSIS Commentaries, June 22,2016. 
  7. Yemen’s Civil War Protagonists: A New Leader of Al Qaeda? RSIS Commentaries, October 15,2015. 


Near East and South Asia center for Strategic Studies

  1. ISIS lone wolf attacks: Implications for Indian Security, NESA Centre for Strategic Studies, July 2017.
  2. “Countering ISIS’ Online Propaganda”, NESA Centre for Strategic Studies, July 2017.


Today Online

  1. In the fight against climate change, don’t overlook its security implications. Today Online, September 05,2019. 
  2. Necessary but tough to get tech companies to thwart hate speech and fake news, Today Online, December 13, 2018.
  3. The Rohingya crisis: Vital to Prevent a Jihadist Snowball, Today Online, September 04, 2017.
  4. Google should turn its attention to battling Islamophobia, Today Online, August 02, 2017.


The Diplomat

  1. Abdul Basit and Mohammed Sinan Siyech. The Islamic State’s India Dilemma, The Diplomat. August 26, 2020.
  2. How the Kuala Lumpur Summit Complicates India’s Gulf Relations, The Diplomat, January 03, 2020.
  3. The Delhi Declaration, A new Indo-ASEAN Counter Terrorism Cooperation, The Diplomat, January 31,2018.
  4. US Designates Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Group, The Diplomat, August 18, 2017.
  5.  “India-Philippines Counterterrorism Cooperation”. The Diplomat, July 20,2017.


South Asian Voices

  1. Climate Change and its effects on security in South Asia. South Asian Voices. October 2019.
  2. Kashmiri Pundits in India. South Asian Voices. April 2019.
  3. Majoritarian Insecurities in South Asia. South Asian Voices. August 22,2018.
  4. India’s Rohingya terror problem: real or imagined? December 01, 2017



  1. Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent: After the Return of the Taliban. European Eye on Radicalization. February 2022.
  2. What the Ongoing Diplomatic Row Tells Us About Right-Wing Extremism in India. European Eye on Radicalization. June 2022.
  3. Salafism and Violence in India. European Eye on Radicalization. December 2021.
  4. Kabir Taneja and Mohammed Sinan Siyech. Terrorism In South Asia After the Fall of Afghanistan. War on the Rocks. August 2021
  5. Hatred is Spreading Faster in India than COVID-19. European Eye on Radicalization. August 2020.
  6. How Singapore dealt with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Policy Makers. April 2020. FARAS, UAE
  7. India’s Foreign Fighter Absence. European Eye on Radicalization. March 28, 2020.
  8. How the Anti-CAA protests reflect Global Protests. Deccan Herald. January 2020.
  9. Whither Indian Military Interventions. Geopolitics. May 2019.
  10. Illegal arms manufacturers and the continuing threat to India’s internal security: An explainer. Firstpost. December 2018.
  11. Rejuvenating the Quad: Exploring the Implications. Future Journal, Future for Advanced Research and Studies. April 2018.  
  12. The Counter Narrative Conundrum. Foreign Policy Journal (Blog). April 05,2018.
  13. Rejuvenating the Quad: Exploring the Implications. Future Journal, Future for Advanced Research and Studies. April 2018.  
  14. Challenging Extremism in India via Human Security. NESA (Washington) and INSSSL (Sri Lanka). February 28, 2018.
  15. An Enduring Alliance: Overview of India-UAE Relations, Future Journal, UAE. February 11, 2018.
  16. India’s Rohingya Terror Problem: Real or Imagined, South Asian Voices, December 01, 2017.
  17. Assessing the death of IS’ Grand Mufti: Turki Mubarak Binali. The Levant News, June 15, 2017.
  18. The Islamic State and International Law: Destined to Lose. World Politics Journal, April 15,2017.
  19. Erdogan’s EU Bid: Silver Linings from the Syrian War. Foreign Policy Journal, September 11, 2016.
  20. Recapturing Mukalla: AQAP in the Yemeni Civil war. MEI Insights, June 13,2016.




  1. Funded Speaker. Muslims Political Responses to Polarization in India. Princeton University . October 2023
  2. Invited Speaker. Salafism in South India. Organized by Meta/FB. December 2022
  3. Invited Speaker. Muslim responses to right wing extremism in India. Science Po University, Paris, France. October 2022
  4. Expert Guest Speaker. Extremism in India. Meta/FB. December 2021
  5. Funded Speaker. Salafism and Violence in India. Sciences Po University, Paris, France. October 2021
  6. Guest lecture. Counter Terrorism in India. Maquire University Australia. Sep 2021 & 2022
  7. Right Wing Extremism in India: Before and After COVID 19. Center for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Oxford University. September 2020.
  8. Invited Speaker. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. ORF, New Delhi, India. Cancelled due to COVID – 19.
  9. Special Speaker. Discussing the threat landscape of India. Royal United Services Institute. Dhaka, Bangladesh (via skype). March 2020.
  10. Special Speaker. Discussing ISIS in Kerala. ORF Talk. New Delhi (via skype) December 2019
  11. Speaker. Comparing Salafism in India and Pakistan. New York Conference on Asian Studies. October 2019.
  12. Speaker. Arms smuggling and terror nexuses in Asia. Firearms Cross-Border Smuggling in South and Southeast Asia. Maldives. January 2019.
  13. Speaker. Terrorism Trends in South and South East Asia, CT Conference organized by the British High Commission, Singapore. November 2018.
  14. Presenter. “Jihadism in India: An Explainer. BISA Critical Studies in Terrorism Conference held in the University of Leeds, UK. September 2018
  15. Selected Speaker. “India – Gulf Relations. The Rise of Asia: Policy Challenges and Prospects held in Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore. May 2018.
  16. Selected Speaker. “Arms Smuggling in India - Exploring the Crime-Terrorism nexus in India. UNODC conference on Terrorism and Crime held in Qatar University. April 2018.
  17. Paper Presenter. “Examining the rise of Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula”. The First International Conference on Current Trends in the Middle East held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. March 2017.
  18. Paper Presenter. “Examining the rise of Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula”. The First International Conference on Current Trends in the Middle East in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. March 2017.

Workshops and Guest Lectures

  1. Guest Speaker. Salafism in South Asia. University of Edinburgh. November 2022.
  2. Moderator. Foreign Fighters in South Asia: Assessing Threats. ORF. August 2022
  3. Guest Lecture. Salafism in India. University of Edinburgh. November 2021.
  4. Speaker. “An overview of Threats in India” at the Terrorism Analyst Training Course (TATC) hosted by RSIS. Singapore. January 2019.
  5. Speaker. “Understanding the Crime-Terror Nexus in India” at the Third Regional Expert Meeting on the Nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism hosted by the UNICRI, GCTF, the Kingdom of Netherlands and Interpol. Singapore. March 2018
  6. Invited Speaker.  Challenging Extremism in India. Strategic Forum on Meeting the Challenges of Extremism by Advancing Human Security Centered Policies hosted by the Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA) - Washington and Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka (INSSSL) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. September 2017.
  7. Presenter. “IS’ Calls for Lone Wolf Attacks: Implications for Security”. Hosted by the Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Bangkok, Thailand. April 2017.
  8. Presenter. “Soft Target Protection: Transportation Related Case Studies”. in the Global Counter Terrorism Forum – Soft Targets Initiative First Regional Workshop in Singapore. March 2017
  9. Presenter. “Analyzing ISIS’ Media Propaganda” at the 10th Annual Terrorism Analyst Training Course (TATC) in Singapore. January 2017
  10. Speaker. “Developing a National Counter-Radicalization Policy for Bangladesh”. Workshop on Developing a Counter Extremism Narrative and National Counter-Radicalization Policy in Dhaka Bangladesh. February 2016.
  11. Special Resource Speaker. “Social Media and Radicalization”. Project Pacific CT Operational Working Group meeting, hosted by Interpol in Chiang Mai, Thailand. February 2016.