MUMBAI — With a history of social and economic neglect, Indian Muslims are craving for attention as officials and experts sound the alarm that the green youths could easy fall prey to radicals and extremists.

"We have accepted we will not get good jobs. There is subtle bias and discrimination," Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, editor of The Milli Gazette, an English newspaper based in New Delhi aimed at Indian Muslims, told Reuters on Sunday, July 23.

"Poverty, illiteracy, discrimination, injustice: everything is there to disillusion Muslims," agreed a top police officer, who requested not to be named.

India's top woman tennis star, president and richest man are all Muslims as are several top Bollywood stars and federal ministers.

But such high-profile success stories may mask the real status of Indian Muslims, whom make up 13.4 percent of the mainly Hindu country's 1.03 billion population.

Official figures reveal Muslims log lower educational levels and higher unemployment rates than the Hindu majority and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.

They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India's 1.3 million-strong military.

India, which is officially a secular nation, is home to the world's largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.

Mass Arrests

Indian Muslim leaders are also complaining against the ongoing mass arrests of young Muslims since the terrorist bombing of seven commuter trains in Mumbai earlier this month.

Experts warn that the random arrests alienate an already frustrated minority and encourage them to wage retaliatory acts.

"These are bad times," Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Khan Qadri, the imam of Salaullah mosque in Mumbai, told Reuters.

"There is fear and suspicion everywhere," he added.

Police say the Mumbai attacks may have been organized by Lashkar-e-Taiba, but they believe young Indian Muslims carried them out.

Immediately after the attacks, Mumbai Muslims queued in long lines outside blood banks to donate blood to their wounded Hindu neighbors.

Both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, which have been fighting for the independence of largely Muslim Kashmir, have denounced the bombings as barbaric and un-Islamic.

Turning Point

Experts say that the 2002 riots in the western state of Gujarat, where human rights group say around 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were hacked and burnt to death by Hindus, were the turning point for Indian Muslims and became a key factor in radicalizing the young.

"Now many Muslims who have suffered see the state as an active participant in the pogrom," said Mohammed Wajihuddin, a minority affairs expert.

"Then it becomes easy for groups like Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba to draft these people in."

India's Supreme Court said the Hindu nationalist government in Gujarat was complicit in the killings.

Despite a national outcry, little has been done to catch the culprits, rights groups charge.

In other Hindu-Muslim clashes around the country, Muslims have formed the bulk of casualties.