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Funding for religious conversion to anti-CAA protests to rehabilitating Rohingyas: Fefdawala Haji Abdullah, accused in Bharuch conversion case

Fefdawala Haji Abdullah's name has surfaced in the recent Bharuch mass conversion case of over 100 tribals. He was also named in the UP mass conversion racket and hawala funding earlier this year.

On 15 November 2021, OpIndia had reported about the religious conversion of 37 tribal families in Kankariya village in Bharuch. An FIR has been registered against nine people in the case on allegations of luring these Hindus to embrace Islam by promising money, employment, marriage amongst other things. One of the names that has emerged in the case is of Fefdawala Haji Abdullah. His name had earlier featured in the Uttar Pradesh mass conversion racket unearthed by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

Who is Fefdawala Haji Abdullah/Abdul

Fefdawala Haji Abdullah or Fefdawala Abdul or Abdul Fefdawala as he is referred to as in various reports, is a native of Nabipur in Bharuch and has been in the UK since a few years now. He is associated with a UK-based trust, Majlis-e-Alfalah.

In October this year, it was reported that in 2019, he gave a provocative speech in Vadodara and had invoked the 2002 Gujarat riots which took place in aftermath of burning down of a train in Godhra where karsevaks returning from Ayodhya were burnt alive. According to DS Chauhan, ACP (Crime), Fefdawala had spoken about the 2002 riots and claimed that members of minority community were targeted and killed. He had claimed women were raped and children murdered and when he heard about it, he decided to do something about it.

He then said that in 2003, he set up the trust in UK where he contacted about 125 donors and started sending donation money to India. Fefdawala had said that the money was collected to strengthen the community so it can ‘defend itself against attacks from other religions’. For an hour, Fefdawala continued to speak about ‘strengthening community’ in Gujarat.

The said event was also attended by Salahuddin Sheikh and Umar Gautam, who were recently arrested for their involvement in hawala and religious conversion. It is believed Fefdawala has routed ‘donations’ of over Rs 150 crore in past 18 years to India.

American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) charitable trust

In October this year, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Vadodara city police found that city-based American Federation of Muslims Of Indian Origin (AFMI) had routed hawala funds for activities including construction of 400 flats for ‘displaced’ Bangladeshi and Rohingya Muslims near Ghaziabad. It was also accused of funding maulvis near the Indo-Nepal border.

Salahuddin Sheikh is one of the trustees of this trust and Fefdawala amongst biggest beneficiaries. Sheikh started the trust after getting influenced by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in Mumbai a few years back.

Fefdawala introduced Sheikh to Umar Gautam sometime in 2017. Subsequently, they met again multiple times in Vadodara to discuss anti-CAA protests. Kalim Siddiqui, another accused in the UP ATS case also met with Fefdawala and Umar Gautam. According to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Crime, DS Chauhan, Fefdawala routed money through hawala with help of businessmen in Mumbai and Dubai to construct houses for Rohingyas and Bangladeshi Muslims during the time anti-CAA protests were held.

Sheikh had further admitted to having given funds to Fefdawala and one another maulvi Zakaria. He had also met one man named Shabbir in Kashmir who was Fefdawala’s acquaintance. Gautam and Sheikh had admitted to having sent Rs 5 lakh to Shabbir to ‘help poor people’ but police suspect it was part of terror funding. Further, the money received through hawala was sent to places in India like Malegaon, Malda, Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and even Nepal.

As per the Indian Express report, about 14 foreign trusts had deposited about Rs 19 crore in AFMI Charitable Trust since 2017. Gujarati Muslim Association had transferred Rs 7.44 crore while Fefdawala’s Majlis-e-Al-Fala Trust has transferred Rs 2.06 crore. Police has also issued summons to one Dubai based businessman, Mustafa Thanawala, who is accused of helping Sheikh route the money through hawala.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehtahttps://medium.com/@nirwamehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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