By Omer Farooq
For the first time in secular
The recent cancellation of a State-level meeting of the Ahmadiya Jamat in
Though Ahmadiyas, with distinctly different religious belief from Muslims, have been around ever since its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed in 1889 that he was the 'new prophet' and Muslims have always treated the claim as blasphemous and opposed it, this is first time that a public meeting of Ahmadiyas had to be cancelled in India due to the resistance from orthodox Muslims.
The Andhra Pradesh Government cited breakdown in the electricity supply system for withdrawing permission to the congregation at Lalitha Kala Thornam open theatre, owned by the State Cultural Affairs Department. But it is obvious that the massive and joint campaign by Muslim organisations in
A night before the Ahmadiyas' day-long congregation was scheduled, around a lakh of Muslims attended an "anti-Qadianiat" protest meeting at Darussalam grounds, the headquarters of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. The protesters threatened that if the Ahmadiyas were allowed to go ahead with their meeting "in the name of Islam and Muslims", they would lay siege to the venue.
According to the Ahmadiya Jamat, it had sought permission for the now cancelled meeting in
However, hours before the scheduled march to the venue, the Government issued a notice cancelling not only the Ahmadiya meeting but also all other functions in different auditoriums and buildings within the sprawling
The Ahmadiyas were planning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of "khilafat" of their community, marking the passage of the leadership from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad after his death to his successor in 1908. Earlier this year the celebrations had started in Qadian, the world religious headquarters of the community and since then meetings have been held in Kalikut,
The Ahmadiya Jamat has planned similar meetings all over the country by the end of the year. The meeting scheduled in
The anti-Ahmadiya protest meeting of Muslims was significant from another point of view. It brought different schools of thought and sects together, although they are often at loggerheads over each other's beliefs.
Among the organisations represented were Jamat-e-Islami, Anjuman-e-Qadaria, Anjuman-e-Mehdvia, Sunni Jamat, Shia and Mehdvi groups along with MIM, Tameer-e-Millat and Tableeghi Jamat. One has never seen such an array of Muslim religious leaders coming together on the same platform in the past.
Theologians claim that Ahmadiyas do not accept the two basic tenets of Islam: Belief in the one-ness of god and acceptance of Mohammed as the last prophet of god. "If anybody deviates from these two basic tenets of Islam he cannot be called a Muslim and he cannot claim to be a Muslim," says Hameeduddin Aauqil Hussami, a renowned theologian in Andhra Pradesh. "That is why Qadianis cannot be treated as Muslims nor should they call themselves Muslims. It is a historical fact that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had claimed to be a prophet and it directly collides with the very basis of Islam."
Mr Asaduddin Owaisi, Member of Parliament elected to the Lok Sabha from
But Ahmadiya community leaders reject the criticism as "allegations". Inam Ghouri, Nazir-e-Aala or the head of Ahmadia Jamat in
Muslim leaders have also targeted the Qadianis on other counts. They allege that the Ahmadiya movement was essentially a creation of the British during the freedom movement to sabotage it by creating religious differences among Muslims. After partition, a large number of Ahmadiyas migrated to
An organised campaign was launched in
Strangely, two senior Communist leaders -- CPI(M) MP P Madhu and CPI national secretary P Sudhakar Reddy -- who had been invited by the Ahmadiya jamat to address the
As for the Ahmadiyas, the events in