Posted by: Vicky Nanjappa
How much of an influence does Iran have over the Sufi Muslims in India? A recent wikileaks cable suggested that Saudi Arabia wanted to match Iran’s influence over India.
The Shia community says that there is no influence of Iran in India as their community is extremely small. Syed Babbar Ashraf who heads the Sada-e-Sufia Hind or the Sufi voice of India says that the real agenda is the spread of Wahabism. Wahabism: A Saudi weapon? In this interview with OneIndia, Syed Babar Ashraf who has organized several anti Wahabi rallies says that what the Saudis intend to do is make this battle as a Wahabi vs the rest of the world. The wikileaks cables suggested that Saudi Arabia wanted to match Iran’s influence of India. How much does Iran influence the Sufis in India? I don’t think there is any influence of Iran on the Sufi Muslims in India. We are in minority here and a majority of the Muslims belong to the Sunni community. Even if we want to support Iran, all we can extend is moral support and nothing more than that. With such a small population, Iran would not be trying to have any influence over India. What is the concern that the Saudis have raised? The Saudis have only one agenda in mind. They want to ensure that every Sunni Muslim follows Wahabism. The only agenda is to impose the Wahabi culture in India and they are making excuses quoting the influence of Iran. This is not a Shia vs Sunni war. This is about imposing Wahabism in as many places are possible. Do you a major influence of Wahabism in India? The Saudis are trying to impose Wahabism right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. There are 8 different forums which finance the implentation of Wahabism in India. The main intention of imposing Wahabism is to break the unity among the Indian Muslims and create a conflict zone. What is the modus operandi followed while imposing Wahabism? It is pretty much a similar agenda which a super power has. These persons target areas where there is high poverty and illiteracy. The Wahabis have a lot of money with them and they try and buy out people. They claim that they have come to India to dole out charity to the poor and needy. More than Mosques, they try and spread the ideology in universities. In almost all universities catering to Muslims, the Wahabis have been trying to stamp their authority. Is there an Iran influence in India? There is no influence of Iran over the Shia Muslims in India. The Shia community constitutes only 5 per cent of the Muslim population and the Sunnis are in majority. Shias are found in pockets of Lucknow and Hyderabad and basically are in no position to have any influence and neither will any country trying influencing us. All we can do is give moral support and fight against Wahabism as it is aiming at dividing the Muslims and also threatening the peace of India. Has Saudi restricted its Wahabi influence only to India? The Saudis have various ways to spreading Wahabi influence. In some nations they will do it in the name of the al-Qaeda or ISIS while in others they would send their preachers and target through charity work as I earlier pointed out. The Saudis want to be a legitimate power in every part of the world and they feel they can become that only with the spread of Wahabism. They are active in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia just to name a few countries. Basically it is all about control. Your thoughts on the Kuwait Mosque attack targeted at Shia Muslims? This is nothing but an attempt to spread extremism and hatred. They want to create a rift between the Sunnis and Shias over there.
Is Wahabism an ideological war on the world? Yes it is all about ideology. Wahabism is officially allowed only in Saudi and Qatar. They want to spread this ideology to as many parts of the world and in this way the Saudis feel that they can ensure dominance.
Posted by: Vicky Nanjappa
Last year violence broke out near a Mosque in Bommanhalli, Bengaluru and what was being termed as minor tiff was in fact a case of some youth trying to impose the Wahabi preachings. When the seniors in the administration of the Mosque opposed these youth, there were clashes in which 4 persons were injured seriously. In another incident that occurred in Maharashtra, Wahabi scholars bribed some members of the Mosque and attempted taking over the administration. While the Muslims in many states have opposed the Wahabis tooth and nail, success for the Saudi Arabia sponsored Wahabis was highest in Kerala. These are instances that could be read with the recent Wikileaks documents which suggested that Saudi Arabia is worried about the growing influence of Iran over India and the outreach by Tehran to the Shia community was worrying. The Muslim World League also requests Saudi Arabia to establish Wahabi centres in India to counter the threat from the Shias.
How Saudi Arabia set up Wahabi centres in India?
Saudi Arabia realizes that the Shias in India are a threat to the dominance of the Sunni community. India houses a large number of Shias and this according to the Saudis gives Iran an upper hand in India. However for Saudi the Sunnis in India have not followed the violent Wahabi style of Islam and there are many seniors in the Muslim community who will not allow that to happen. The only way Saudi could instill a radical thinking in the minds of the Sunni Muslims in India was by the establishment of Wahabi centres. The Wahabis are an extremely orthodox set of Sunni Muslims. There are several Muslims in India who subscribe to the Wahabi view. As a first step, Saudi sent in several Wahabi preachers into India an Intelligence Bureau report states. The years 2011 to 2013 alone saw a record number of 25,000 Wahabis coming to India and conducting seminars in various parts of the country. With them they brought in Rs 1700 crore in several installments and used it to propogate the Wahabi style of Islam.
Wahabism found success in Kerala:
The drive by Saudi to impose the Wahabi culture in India has not been entirely a success. The highest rate of success that they have witnessed is in Kerala. This is a lot to do with the fact that there is a large population of people who go to Saudi in search of employment. Many in Kerala have welcomed with open arms the Wahabi style of preaching and this has let the Saudi controlled lot take control over nearly 75 Mosques in the state. The newer Mosques that are coming up in Kerala are also constructed in the manner in which they done in Saudi Arabia. This is just one small indicator of how much people of the state are willing to follow the radical style preached by the Wahabi scholars. Moreover the inflow of funds into Kerala from Saudi is the highest when compared to any other part of the country. It was in Kerala that one got to see posters mourning the death of Osama Bin Laden and also a prayer for Ajmal Kasab after he was hanged. Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that a large number of youth appear to be attracted to this radical style of Islam, but also add that there are some elders who are trying to oppose it.
The Wahabi rule book in India:
Each time a Wahabi preacher comes to India, he comes in with a rule book. What they intend to do is ensure that the rule book is circulated in the Mosques. However when the administration of the Mosques have opposed this it has led to clashes. The rule book has a set of guidelines which need to be ahdhered to failing which the horrific Sharia law would be imposed.
Here are a couple of guidelines that have been set as per the Wahabi rule book:
• Shrines shall be forbidden• Every Muslim woman should wear purdah or be subject to severe punishment• Men have to compulsorily grow beards• 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 weeping loudly at funerals.• Abide by the Shariat law; every offence committed shall be punishable under this law.• All men should wear trousers which are above their ankles.• No laughing loudly or listening to music• No dancing or watching television.Wahabi universities being set up:The Saudi sponsored Wahabis are aiming to set up their own education system in India as well. Out of the total Rs 1700 crore that has been earmarked for the cause, Rs 800 crore is being spent on setting up Universities in different parts of the country. One such university was seen in Andhra Pradesh as well. Over all they propose to set up 4 such universities which will only cater to Wahabi preachings. With the take over of the existing Mosques becoming extremely difficult, they have earmarked Rs 400 crore to set up 40 Mosques adhering only to Wahabi preachings in different parts of the country. A sum of Rs 300 has been been earmarked to set up Madrasas while the remaining Rs 200 crore has been set aside as miscellaneous costs which also would include bribes to paid off to Mosque authorities as was seen in Maharashtra. The birth of the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith: The birth of the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith took place in India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As a first step they wielded their influence on the various Mosques which began preaching the Sharia law as mandated by the Wahabis.
The next stop was Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh following which they began wielding influence heavily in Kerala. The Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith was the umbrella body which oversaw the flow of Wahabi scholars into India. The same outfit is also making efforts to spread their ideology into Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and until last year Karantaka. OneIndia News