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Rediff.com  » News » ISIS's rise gives a boost to Wahhabism in India

ISIS's rise gives a boost to Wahhabism in India

July 07, 2014 12:29 IST

According to an IB report, preachers of the extreme Wahhabism form of Islam are trying to take over madrasas and masjids, says Vicky Nanjappa.

The conflict in Iraq has brought to the limelight a major tussle between two schools of thought in Islam. The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been trying to impose the most extremist form of Islam known as Wahhabism, and the effects of this are being seen in several parts of the world. Indian Muslims who subscribe to the moderate Hanafi school of Islam are caught in the crossfire, as some who subscribe to Wahhabism are trying to impose this faith in a big way.

According to a report by the Intelligence Bureau, the trend of Wahhabis trying to impose their faith started in 2010. Many Wahhabis from the Pathanwadi area in Mumbai laid siege to a Sunni mosque nearby and prevented many who visited that mosque from entering.

Similar incidents were reported in mosques in Lucknow, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar and West Bengal.

An IB official says there was a dedicated set of persons in Saudi Arabia who travel across the world to ensure that the Wahhabi culture is imposed. In many cases, especially in Kerala, there have been tussles to take control of mosque. In some cases, funds from Saudi Arabia have been pumped in to bribe trustees of a particular mosque, who hand over control of the mosque to the Wahhabis.

For instance, a mosque in Nagpur was in a bad shape and needed immediate renovation, but the mosque administration was in no position to do so for the lack of funds. The Wahhabis saw this as an opportunity, and pumped money into its renovation which helped them gain control over the mosque.

While there are tussles to take control over mosques, Saudi preachers have tried taking control of madrasas as well. 

“There are over 50,000 madrasas in India, and several are under the control of the Wahhabis. We just hope that the Muslim community views this seriously and ensures that they regain control over these madrasas,” an IB official said. 

One Wahhabi follower from Kerala who did not want to be named, said the non-Wahhabis were just making a big deal.

“We are only trying to preach real Islam, and according to the religion, worshiping of Sufi shrines is not permitted. I don’t understand why they are resisting the real form of Islam,” he said.

Meanwhile, sensing the growing influence of Wahhabi culture in India, several mosques in India have made it compulsory to preach the ill-effects of this form of Islam. On Fridays, mosques hold sermons about the barbaric manner in which the ISIS is functioning in Iraq.

Maulvis tell the gathering that a group which continues bloodshed during the holy month of Ramzan is anti-Islam and that declaring a caliphate without the approval of Muslims is just not right.

According to S Q R Ilyas, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, there is a growing influence of Wahhabis in India.

“The moderate Muslims in India do not subscribe to this form of Islam. It is unfortunate that there are funds being pumped in from Saudi Arabia to ensure that Wahhabism spreads. However, I do not see it taking over the Muslims in India as the majority of us is against it," he said.

Vicky Nanjappa