The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Upper House of the Parliament on Wednesday amidst much opposition. One of the many arguments raised against the Bill was that it doesn’t accommodate the persecuted Ahmadiyyas from the three neighbouring Islamic States. The plight of Ahmadiyyas was mostly highlighted by ‘Secular’ people as the Muslim bodies in even India do not consider them Muslims. Even Asaduddin Owaisi was mighty displeased with the fact that Ahmadiyyas are mentioned as an Islamic sect in the census of India.
The Majlis Tahaffuze Khatme Nabuwat (MTNK), a prominent body of religious scholars, slammed the Central Government for treating the Ahmadiyyas as part of the Muslim community in the 2011 census. According to MTNK, the Ahmadiyyas cannot be considered an Islamic sect and they follow a different religion.
In 2012, activists associated with the MTNK disrupted prayers in an Ahmadiyya Mosque in Hyderabad. The Ahmadiyyas were celebrating their formation day when 200 MTNK activists led by their city leader Mohammed Ali Ansar Khatim went to Masjid–ul-Hamd Ahmadiyya mosque in Saidabad and hurled abuses at the people present and demanded that they stop the prayers. They told the Ahmadiyyas that they were not Muslims and staged a ‘rasta roko’.
In January this year, Ahmadiyya writer Basharat Ahmed’s talk was cancelled in Pune after protests from Muslim groups. Zahed Bhai, who led the protests, said, “Basharat Ahmed speaks against Islamic faith and his speech would have hurt the sentiments of the community. We had informed the police much earlier and had given a complaint about it. The organisers should not have invited a controversial person like Ahmed for the literary conference. However, they have been co-operative and told us that his talk has been cancelled.” There was no evidence that Basharat Ahmed was offending Muslims in any manner at all.
In June of 2008, prominent Muslims had called upon the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Reddy to demand that Ahmadiyyas be denied the permission to hold a public meeting in Hyderabad. The person leading the delegation was none other than Asaduddin Owaisi. Consequently, the Chief Minister ordered the Police to not allow the Ahmadiyyas to hold their conference.
There were genuine security concerns after Muslims groups decided that they won’t allow the Ahmadiyya conference to go through ‘come what may’. This was decided after a meeting at the headquarters of Owaisi’s party. The Muslim groups led by AIMIM had also threatened to lay siege to the venue to prevent the Ahmadiyyas from holding their conference. Ultimately, the Conference was not organized.
In India, the Ahmadiyyas were officially recognized as an Islamic sect in the 2011 census. They are not permitted to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca. In September 2011 in Delhi, a Quran exhibition held by Ahmadiyyas were called off after shrill protests from Jama Masjid Imam Ahmed Bukhari and an All-India Muslim Personal Law Board member. The Ahmadiyyas are not even represented on the AIMPLB.
G Farhan Mubash, an Ahmadi, recalling particular incident persecution faced by the community in Bhagalpur, Bihar, told Youth Ki Awaaz, “They (other Muslims) organised a jalsa (gathering) on Khatme Nubuwwat (anti-Ahmadiyya organisation). On the last day (of the congregation), they announced a social boycott of the Ahmadis. We were not allowed to take water from public water taps, we were not allowed to buy vegetables and groceries from the shops that were around. After this fatwa was announced, even our cousins stopped talking to us.”
Thus, quite clearly, the Muslims in India have great problems with the Ahmadiyyas. The ‘secularists’, who are now crying over the fact that Ahmadiyyas have been excluded from the CAB, were silent on the persecution faced by the community all these years. They have even made heroes out of people like Asaduddin Owaisi who have been at the forefront of the ostracisation of Ahmadiyyas. But now that the CAB seeks to address a particular issue, they have suddenly rediscovered their lost love for the Ahmadiyya community.
There’s a good reason why India should not be overeager to accept Ahmadiyyas from Pakistan. The Muslims in India have shown enough inclinations that their opinions of the Ahmadiyya community are not at all different from their counterparts in Pakistan. Therefore, we cannot and should not risk a situation where we are importing Islamic sectarian strife into the country.
Furthermore, if only Ahmadiyyas were to be included, it could put the Ahmadiyyas in India at risk from fellows Muslims who, no doubt, would be angered by the fact. It is not the responsibility of the Indian government to provide a solution to the sectarian strife within Islam. Ahmadiyyas are Muslims and they must be treated that way because they demand to be treated that way. Not doing so would be infringing upon their dignity which is already compromised all the time by Pakistani Muslims and Muslims in India such as Asaduddin Owaisi and his ilk.