NEW DELHI - Thousands of Muslims in India have signed up to defend Iraq's holy shrines and, if need be, fight Sunni Islamist militants in the country where the civilian death toll from the Sunni insurgents' advance is estimated at least 1,300.
Denouncing the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as terrorists, these Indian Muslims have filled out forms, complete with passport-size photographs and photocopied identification documents, to travel to Iraq.
Even though Muslims are a minority accounting for only 15 percent of Indians, they still number about 175 million, making them the third-largest Muslim population in the world.
Whether the volunteers will be granted visas and allowed to travel to Iraq is not clear. Officials at the Iraqi embassy were not immediately available to comment.