CAIRO - A galaxy of Sufi scholars have called on Indian Muslims to reject hardline ideologies, calling for limiting the Saudi influence in the Hindu-majority country, The Times of India reported Tuesday, October 18 (more)
|Sufi scholars have called on Indian |
Muslims to reject wahabi ideologies
CAIRO - A galaxy of Sufi scholars have called on Indian Muslims to reject hardline ideologies, calling for limiting the Saudi influence in the Hindu-majority country, The Times of India reported Tuesday, October 18.
"About 100 years ago, Sunni Muslims in India had rejected the Wahabis, Syed Mohammed Ashraf Kachochavi, general secretary of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) said.
After Independence, however, the Wahabis expanded their influence through political backing.
The AIUMB, which claims the support of the majority of Indian Muslims, accused Saudi Arabia of interfering in the affairs of Indian Muslims.
While we remained away from government and politics, Wahabis gained control over institutions dealing with minority affairs, including the wakf board and the Muslim Personal Law Board," said Kachochavi.
AIUMB spokesperson Syed Babar Ashraf accused some Indian groups in India as Deoband, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind of importing foreign ideologies into India.
"They are funded by petro-dollars and aim to grab political power," he said.
Wahabism is a conservative Islamic school of thought in Saudi Arabia.
AIUMB leaders say that Saudi ideologies give a bad name to the Muslim minority in India.
"Muslims should be careful about such anti-national activities in the name of religion, Kachochavi said.
If they find any extremist exhorting them to terrorism, they should immediately hand over the person to police."
Some analysts believe that the AIUMB criticism is part of efforts by the group to preserve the Indian identity.
"This movement is articulating the ethnic roots of Islam in India, said Arshad Alam, assistant professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University.
It's not just about a religious identity but placing this identity in the national context."
But other analysts disagree.
Muslim scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan believes that Wahabi ideologies have a limited impact on Indian Muslims.
At best you can call them mild fundamentalists. Muslims can't afford to be radical in India, he said.
About 95% of Indian Muslims had Hindu ancestors. So Hindu culture dominates India, the basis of which is tolerance.
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
Muslims complain of decades of social and economic neglect and oppression.
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.