by Vidya Subrahmaniam
The All-India Ulama & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), a Sufi Islamic branch claiming to represent 80 per cent of Indian Sunni Muslims, has come out strongly against hardline Wahabism, holding the ideology responsible for the radicalisation of young Indian Muslims. The AIUMB counts itself among the significant Sufi Khanquahs in India, among them Ajmer Shareef and Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
“Wahabi-influenced terrorism has taken a section of Indian Muslim youth in its grip,” said Maulana Syed Mohd Ashraf Kachochavi, AIUMB general secretary at a press conference on Wednesday. He said the AIUMB would hold a Muslim Maha Panchyat at Moradabad (on October 16) from where a call would be given to the masses to rescue Islam and Muslims from the clutches of Wahabi extremism which was sustained largely by (Saudi) petro dollars.
“Peace-loving Sufi Muslims are in a huge majority in this country but regrettably the major Islamic institutions, including the Waqf Boards and the Madrasas, are under the control of cash-rich organisations practising hardline ideologies. We want to reclaim Islam from these elements and turn our youth away from the path of extremism and towards harmony and co-existence,” the Maulana said.
“The Wahabi hardliners are spending billions of dollars to hurt the democratic and secular fabric of this country built over centuries through peaceful activities of the Sufi saints.”
Asked if he would include Darul Uloom Deoband and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board among institutions responsible for the spread of extremism, the Maulana, somewhat indirectly, agreed with the questioner, saying they subscribed to an ideology that was aggressive and hardline.
The Maulana said the time had come for Muslims to send a message out to the government that “moderate Muslims will guard Indian soil against the influence of [Saudi] petro dollars.”
Keywords: All-India Ulama & Mashaikh Board, Sunni Muslims, Wahabism, Sufism, dargahs, Ajmer Shareef, Hazrat Nizamuddin