How Dawat-e-Islami Took Root in India And What It Does: A News18 Investigation


Investigations by CNN-News18 have revealed some startling facts about the Dawat-e-Islami organisation constituted in Masjid Kharadar, Karachi, Pakistan, with Maulana Ilyas Attar Qadri as its first head.

Maulana Ilyas Attar Qadri. Pic/News18

The organisation came under the spotlight recently when the accused in the brutal killing of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal confessed to having links with it.

Lal was murdered by two men inside his shop on June 28 for allegedly sharing a post in support of BJP’s suspended spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

The CNN-News18 investigation found that the creators of Dawat-e-Islami wanted to emulate the Tablighi Jamaat, which they wanted to break.

In 2004, Maulana Ilyas Qadri came to Mumbai and established a branch there and Qari Shakir Ali Noori was its first India head.

Qari Shakir Ali Noori, first head of Dawat-e-Islami in India, now heading Sunni Dawat-e-Islami. Pic/News18
Qari Shakir Ali Noori. Pic/News18

The Dawat-e-Islami chief is also known as ‘Amir’.

After a few years, Qari Shakir Ali Noori broke away from the parent group following a conflict with his counterpart in Pakistan.

His faction was renamed Sunni Dawat-e-Islami, and the second one kept working in the name of Dawat-e-Islami, with Mufti Abdul Halim Ashrafi from Nagpur as its president.

Mufti Abdul Halim Ashrafi from Nagpur, new head of Dawat-e-Islami in India. Pic/News18
Mufti Abdul Halim Ashrafi. Pic/News18

The organisation’s headquarters too was shifted from Mumbai to Nagpur.

After this division, Maulana Ilyas Qadri revisited India and travelled to Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, and Bareilly. Now several parts of the country have branches of the Dawat-e-Islami.

The ulema of the Sunni Barelvi movement objected to Dawat-e-Islami but it was not significant and by that time the organisation had firmly established itself in India.

The outfit has been working on various fronts, CNN-News18 found. The first is book publication. It teaches children and the youth Arabic and Urdu. One ulema is paid about Rs 80,000-90,000 per month for writing books. These books are given away for free.

The second activity is creating groups of five and sending them from village to village. They stay in the local mosques and spread their ideology.

They asked youngsters, around 20-30 years of age, to join the organisation and to do ‘chilla’ for 40 days. This is a day-and-night religious education programme and the beginning of radicalisation.

Dawat-e-Islami has also opened primary schools and madarsas, where those between the ages of six and 20 are admitted and given religious education.

Once they are ready, certain identified youth are called to Karachi. There they are given Islamic education and taught how to work.

In Bareilly, the Dawat-e-Islami chief is Amir Chand Miyan and almost 4,000 people are associated with him. They have a madarsa in the Nakatia Nariyawal area of the district.

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