Indian news agency, ANI, explained that Ahmadi Muslims, a religious minority, have been subject to various forms of persecution and discrimination as they are marked as heretics and considered not-Muslims by mainstream Muslims.
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Most world media covered the leader of the world’s largest democracy, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu introduced the Indian leader to the religious heads in the country.
The Arab-Israeli Ahmadiyya leader shook the Prime Minister’s hand and expressed his gratitude towards the Indian government for the peaceful existence the community enjoys in the face of some hard opposition and persecution at the hand of certain Muslim groups in India and around the world.
“We want to thank you for helping our community in India. Thank you very much,” Imam Odeh was heard saying.
In return, Prime Minister Modi told Sharief Odhe that ‘we are very close to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.’
Indian news agency, ANI, explained that Ahmadi Muslims, a religious minority, have been subjected to various forms of persecution and discrimination as they are marked as heretics and considered not-Muslims by mainstream Muslims.
In India, Ahmadis are considered Muslims by law. However, in the neighboring Pakistan, in 1974, the democratically elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, facilitated the adaptation of an amendment to the constitution that declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. A few years later, in 1984, the then military ruler Gen. Ziaul Haq promulgated Ordinance XX to forcefully stop Ahmadis from practicing the faith of Islam.
Ahmadis are persecuted in most all Muslim countries because of their reformative beliefs. Ahmadis believe jihad mean self reformation and struggle of ideas. They reject the current-day version of murderous ‘jihad’ as preached by mainstream Muslims. Ahmadis also believe in a central religious leadership, Caliphate. Ahmadiyya Caliph promotes separation of mosque and state.
India hosts the world’s 3rd largest Muslim population and many found it odd that a Muslim leader’s interaction and complementary exchange with Prime Minister Modi at Tel Aviv airport was being sensationalize by some media outlets, showing a continuously looped video footage of Sharief Odeh and Prime Minister Modi shaking hand.
“Indian media’s hype of this angle of the story certainly seems odd to me,” expressed Imran Jattala, Chief Editor of the AT/TOA Publishing Group. “What sort of reputation Mr. Modi enjoys at home anyway?”
“They mustn’t have very many happy Muslims in India,” Mr. Jattala wondered.
Imran Jattala concluded that some anti-Pakistani media outlets of India were just trying to thumb Pakistani Muslims’ nose at Ahmadi leader’s happiness with India.
All Indian channels, newspapers and social media covered the news.
Ahmadiyya Muslims have existed in Kababir, Haifa — a mixed neighborhood of Muslim Arabs and Jews, since 1920’s when some local Arab Muslim families accepted the call of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, and joined the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.
The Ahmadiyya families built their neighborhood’s first mosque on Mount Carmel in 1931, and a larger grand mosque in the 1970s.
Ahmadis claim Islam teaches loyalty to one’s country is part of the faith.
Ahmadi Muslims in Israel say they are loyal to their country regardless their disagreement with the state on its policies or stance against Palestine.
Similarly, Ahmadi Muslims in India say they are loyal to their country regardless their disagreement with the state on its policies or stance on the issue of Kashmir.
Indian government is not known to persecute the Ahmadiyya Muslims Jama’at despite the always-present demands of the mainstream Muslims from inside and outside India asking the state to deny protection for the community.
Edited by TOA/AT staff
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