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Tableeghi Jamaat in Britain splits into two factions

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August 14, 2018

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LONDON: The Tableeghi Jamaat has split into two groups in Britain with one faction following Raiwind Markaz, while the other is following Moulana Saad of Nizamuddin in India.

These differences started in 2015 when the advisory committee -- or shura -- was formed to deal with all important matters including international congregations (also known as aalmi ijtima). The followers of Nizamuddin in India refused to accept the decisions of shura and decided to obey only the decision of Maulana Saad of Nizamuddin.

These differences led to split not only for the followers of Tableeghi Jamaat but also caused split in Tableeghi centres in Britain for the first time. The Tableeghi Jamaat started its mission in Britain around 50 years ago and its membership grew steadily. Now, the followers of Raiwind Markaz or Masjid Ilyas, in East London, have established a new Tableeghi centre in Blackburn confronting the famously sprawling Tableeghi centre of Dewsbury. The followers of Maulana Saad of Nizamuddin have established their own Tableeghi centres including in East London, besides their stronghold of Dewsbury Tableeghi centre.

The differences grew so much that several incidents of brawl occurred and members and elders assaulted each other in London Markaz -- also known as Masjid Ilyas and Abbey Mills Mosque. Tableeghi Jamaat and police sources have confirmed that the police were called about 13 times and four people were arrested on different occasions. A source said that a group of Tableeghi followers from Bangladesh and Indian Gujarat ganged up against the Tableeghi members from Pakistani background and other countries and as a result the Abbey Mills Mosque became a battleground.

While the case of dispute of land possession of Ilyas Masjid was brought before the court by the warring groups, the London High Court earlier this year issued a verdict against the Tableeghi centre for being in violation of the laws. The London High Court has ordered that the local Newham Council was right to deny planning permission to London Markaz and ordered that it should be demolished because the masjid was built on the land allocated for some other purpose.

While the Markaz is still operating and may continue to do so for a few months, there are heavy restrictions in place and division and tensions are visible. The two factions now don’t go to each other’s mosques and security personnel are deputed at the gate of Ilyas Masjid to identify the members who come to the mosque to attend sermons. The management of Masjid Ilyas has restricted entry of a few individuals.

Maulana Soulat Skinder, the leader of Abbey Mills Mosque, confirmed that the Tableeghi Jamaat is no more one piece. “There are some differences between the factions of Tableeghi Jamaat which can be resolved. We are making efforts to resolve these issues. We feel sorry that there are divisions, this means Ummah divided,” he said.

Haji Bostan, the follower of Maulana Saad of Nizamuddin and leader of Dewsbury Tableeghi centre told The News that these differences are of personal nature. “These differences have nothing to do with Shariah,” he said.

Bostan said no organisation can be run without a figurehead. He said the Raiwind markaz “has been kept in dark and illusion”. “The Blackburn Mosque and Masjid Ilyas have their personnel agendas. They are not serving Tableeghi Jamaat. The new Tableeghi Jamaat doesn’t match with the original Tableeghi Jamaat founded by Maulana Ilyas,” he said.

He said that some people have not told true story of the disputes to Maulana Abdul Wahab. He suggested that the differences can be resolved if Maulana Abdul Wahab and Maulana Saad could sit across each other to end the differences. Haji Abdul Wahab didn’t think that some spy agency could have caused the right between the two, but he didn’t rule out “an international conspiracy”.

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