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Wahhabis are taking over Indian mosques, spending crores to grow: IB

August 01, 2014 12:56 IST

Image: A mosque in Srinagar. Image used only for representational purposes.
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters Vicky Nanjappa/

The Intelligence Bureau has sounded alarm bells in a secret report about the growth of radical Wahhabi ideology in India. Vicky Nanjappa/ reports.

First up, two aspects you should know about the Wahhabis, the strictly orthodox Sunni Muslim sect, in India.

1. The current number of Wahhabi followers in India today stands at 18 lakh (1.8 million).

2. The sect has generated approximately Rs 1,700 crore (Rs 17 billion) in the past three years through funds pumped in from Saudi Arabia.

According to the Wahhabi rule book, many thousands of which are in circulation in India, its followers have to strictly adhere to the following:

  • Men have to compulsorily grow beards.
  • Shrines shall be forbidden.
  • Every Muslim woman should wear purdah or be subject to severe punishment.
  • All men should wear trousers which are above their ankles.
  • Women should not be allowed to work. Exception can be made only if the family is in need.
  • Men and women should not mingle together in public.
  • No laughing loudly or listening to music; no dancing or watching television.
  • No weeping loudly at funerals.
  • Abide by the Shariat law; every offence committed shall be punishable under this law.

The Intelligence Bureau, India's domestic intelligence agency which has been tracking the rise of Wahhabism in the country, presents a grim picture in its report.

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Wahhabis are taking over Indian mosques, spending crores to grow: IB

Image: A scene from a mosque in Ahmedabad. Image used only for representational purposes.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters Vicky Nanjappa/

The huge inflow of funds from Saudi Arabia is being utilised to nurture the Wahabbi sect.

According to the Intelligence Bureau report, Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) is being spent to set up four Wahhabi universities; 40 mosques are being constructed at a cost of Rs 400 crore (Rs 4 billion); Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) is being spent to take over the administration of existing mosques, and Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) to set up madrassas across the country.

An IB source told this correspondent, "We keep alerting the police and other agencies about it (the easy flow of funds); more needs to be done. We had issued a warning ahead of Eid, as this is the period when the donations peak," the IB agent added.

The radical Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, which first set up base in Kashmir, is spearheading Wahabbi operations across India. Having persuaded around 400 mosques in Kashmir to follow its ideology, the Wahabbis have now targetted Maharashtra and Kerala.

Although the Maharashtra government is in denial about the rise of Wahhabism in the state, Wahhabis control over 40 mosques in Maharashtra.

Wahabbis have taken over at least 75 mosques in Kerala, the IB report says.

Signs of a Wahhabi presence have also been reported from Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka.