Tablighi Jamaat's contagious connections

Tablighi Jamaats contagious connections
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Delhi's Tablighi Jamaat
Highlights

A total of 40 children and 124 women who were in contact with people who attended Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) were found infected coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh.

A total of 40 children and 124 women who were in contact with people who attended Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) were found infected coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh. With 29 % in the entire nation and 79 % of Covid-19 +cases in Telangana, it is now clear that the TJ is the epicentre of the virus disaster and stood with its chief Maulana Saad as accused of countless homicides in six south Asian nations including India. Enforcement Directorate is now contemplating to question and arrest him for money laundering and IT crimes. Tablighi did not care the ban on 50 or more people's congregation due to coronavirus and went ahead with conference for three days during March 12 to 15.

Every authority in Delhi knew all these happenings, Security advisor Ajit Dovel went to deal with TJ and only thereafter the government initiated legal action. But soon Saad disappeared. The Ministry of Home Affairs asked States on April 17 to trace Rohingyas who attended these meetings might infecting their camps with thousands living there. While 17,500 Rohingya refuges registered with UNHCR, it is estimated that around 40,000 or more are living there. It is reported that most Rohingya attendees did not reach their camps and their whereabouts are not known.

Brahma Chellaney, a geo-strategist and Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research and Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin alleged that TJ was founded to wage global jihad and spread the virus in six South Asian nations. Chellaney claimed that this group came under scrutiny in the US after the 9/11 attack for "serving as a recruiting ground for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups. FBI said it found that Al Qaeda was using Tablighi Jamaat for recruiting new terrorists".

Originated in Mewat Haryana, Tablighi has its international headquarters called Nizamuddin Markaz in the Nizamuddin West district of South Delhi. It is led by a central consultative council (called Shura) with elders of the Tablighi Jamaat. They appoint the Ameer (leader) of Tablighi Jamaat. It is criticised for its orthodox nature and retrogressive. Interestingly, the Tablighi Jamaat adopted politically neutral position in different international and Indian issues. Barbara D Metcalf, called Tablighi Jamaat "an apolitical, quietist movement of internal grassroots missionary renewal" and compares its activities to the efforts to reshape individual lives by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dr Borreguero, Spanish scholar who researched in Pakistan, said: "They are a transnational phenomenon… the life of a true Tablighi is a "permanent ritual… They believe in a "binary reality"… They view Muslims as being under the "threat" of modernisation". She further said that the ideological orientation of the Tablighi Jamaat is Deobandi, which places its adherents into the ultra-orthodox category.

They would want society to be reconstituted on the lines of 7th century Arabia. That makes them a retrogressive, as opposed to a progressive, movement. She explained that entry and exit of member is quite informal and easy, they neither receive any financial benefit or asked to give any, and they do not operate bank accounts nor maintain properties. In Pakistan, father of Nawaz Sharif was great supporter of Tablighi. She wrote: "God has little interest in the topsy-turvy of politics, otherwise the hijacking of the Musharraf plane would have been executed successfully".

The Spanish scholar said that the number of Tablighis in France has grown form 5,000 a few years ago to 1,00,000. They are also very active in South Africa. The world headquarters are in India, but the Pakistani and Bangladeshi chapters appear to operate autonomously. The Jamaat is non-sectarian and takes no side on any issue, political or otherwise. The membership is entirely Sunni. In North America and Europe, it draws in immigrants who have little knowledge of Islam and who are insecure, or guilt-ridden over living in a permissive society. The Tablighis keep their message simple. They hope to transform society in some distant future through the "inner reform" of the individual.

Experts of the State Commission for Religious Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic (SCRA) also note that "Tablighi Jamaat" is an apolitical religious movement. The positive feature of this movement is that their activity is not of a radical or extremist nature but is pacifist (peaceful).

But Dietrich Reetz says that from its inception the extremist attitudes that characterize Deobandism (a revivalist movement within Sunni) permeated Tablighi philosophy…. They rejected modernity as antithetical to Islam, excluded women, and preached that Islam must subsume all other religions.

Author of Dagestan: Focus on Pakistan's Tablighi Jamaat, B. Raman wrote: "Tablighi Jamaat is not a monolith: one subsection believes they should pursue jihad through conscience while a more radical wing advocates jihad through the sword.

B Raman says that the Harakat ul-Mujahideen's original members were Tablighis, who hijacked an Air India passenger jet in 1998: "Tablighi Jamaat has long been directly involved in the sponsorship of terrorist groups. Pakistani and Indian observers believe, for instance, that Tablighi Jamaat was instrumental in founding Harakat ul-Mujahideen. Founded at Raiwind in 1980, almost all of the Harakat ul-Mujahideen's original members were Tablighis. Famous for the December 1998 hijacking of an Air India passenger jet and the May 8, 2002 and murder of a busload of French engineers in Karachi, Harakat members make no secret of their ties. "The two organisations together make up a truly international network of genuine jihadi Muslims," one senior Harakat ul-Mujahideen official said".

Le Monde (Paris), on Jan 25, 2002 declares: The West's misreading of Tablighi Jamaat actions and motives has serious implications for the war on terrorism. Tablighi Jamaat has always adopted an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, but in the past two decades, it has radicalised to the point where it is now a driving force of Islamic extremism and a major recruiting agency for terrorist causes worldwide. For a majority of young Muslim extremists, joining Tablighi Jamaat is the first step on the road to extremism. Perhaps 80 percent of the Islamist extremists in France come from Tablighi ranks, prompting French intelligence officers to call Tablighi Jamaat the "antechamber of fundamentalism. "

The US News and World Report of 2002 explained how Tablighi makes jihadists. "After joining Tablighi Jamaat groups at a local mosque or Islamic centre and doing a few local dawa (proselytism) missions, Tablighi officials invite star recruits to the Tablighi centre in Raiwind, Pakistan, for four months of additional missionary training. Representatives of terrorist organisations approach the students at the Raiwind centre and invite them to undertake military training".

On April 29, 2005, Craig S Smith, wrote in New York Times, 'French Islamic group offers rich soil for militancy'. This report says: "It is definitely fertile ground for breeding terrorism," said a French intelligence official who has traced many militants' religious awakening to their membership in the movement. Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to be charged in the United States in the Sept. 11 attacks, was once a Tablighi adherent in France, as was Hervé Djamel Loiseau, a young Frenchman who died fleeing the 2001 American bombardment of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. Djamel Beghal, an Algerian-born Frenchman and confessed member of Al Qaeda who was convicted last month for plotting to blow up the US Embassy in Paris, was a Tablighi follower in the town of Corbeil a decade ago".

It is difficult to accuse the Tablighi which does not have proper documentation of its activity, property and accounts, leaving no trail behind. But the research reports and experiences cannot be brushed aside as nothing. An organisation working with a sole aim of 'peaceful' Islamisation of the modern world, has to be cautiously watched for its 'open' activities and hidden agendas if any. It is the duty of nations like India to be effectively checking illegal activities of any congregation.

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