Little is known about the group calling itself Al-Arifeen (The Holy Men). They are believed to be a front for the Pakistani financed, Lashkar-e-Tayyba (Taiba), which has claimed credit for many of the same attacks.
According to the Indian intelligence service, al-Arifeen is in fact nothing more than a splinter of Lashkar-e-Tayyba. The U.S. State Department calls them an offshoot of that group as well. The outfit became known in September of 2002 when a spokesman for al-Arifeen claimed responsibility for the assassination of state Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, the killing of two National Conference leaders in Srinagar, and a grenade attack at the Congress party headquarters during the first weeks of September. These attacks were followed by a suicide attack on a police colony in which a policeman was killed and six were injured. A separate claim of responsibility was made by a Lashkar-e-Tayyba (Taiba) spokesperson for each of the same attacks, strongly suggesting that the groups were one in the same.
Lashkar-e-Tayyba (Taiba) is the terrorist wing of the Pakistan-based Islamic religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad - an anti-Christian missionary group formed in 1989. They have their own listing in this file.
Whether al-Arifeen is a splinter group or a faction of Lashkar-e-Tayyba, it is clear that the two groups hold fast to the same Islamic principles. The LT's agenda includes the forced imposition of Islamic rule over all parts of India. They propagate salafi fundamentalism akin to Wahhabism. They seek to bring about a union of all Muslim majority regions in countries that surround Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba is a member of Pakistan's United Jihad Council, as well as Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad against the U.S. and Israel.