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Hindu man destroys India mosque, converts to Islam, and builds 90 new ones Open in fullscreen

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Hindu man destroys India mosque, converts to Islam, and builds 90 new ones

The Babri Masjid was destroyed in December 1992 [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 December, 2019

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Former Hindu nationalist who carried out the Babri Mosque demolition in 1992 describes his conversion to Islam after the attack and how he managed to build 90 Mosques.

A man who was involved in the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India - which sparked riots leading to the deaths of 2,000 people - has converted to Islam and built 90 Mosques to make up for his misdeeds.

On 6 December 1992, a large group of Hindu activists from the ultra-nationalist Hindu Vishva Hindu Parishad and supporters demolished the Babri Mosque in the Indian city of Ayodha.

The Hindu nationalists said their attack was motivated by an openly deep hatred for Islam and Muslims and believed that the Babri Mosque was built on the birthplace of the Rama, a Hindu deity.

The Islamophobic attack cased widespread protests and inter-communal rioting.

Balbir Singh, now called Mohammed Amir, was one of the first to assault the mosque. He climbed its dome and armed with a hammer started to demolish it, keeping a stone as a souvenir.

After the attack, he found himself embarking a spiritual journey and converted to Islam in June 1993.

In-depth: Pondering their future in their own homeland: Muslims fearful in a hate filled India

In an interview with Turkish state news agency Anadolu, Amir said he was radicalised after joining the Shiv Sena group, inspired by the Rashtriya Soyamsevak Sang extremist group. 

"I used to attend Rashtriya Soyamsevak Sang's training and regular training programmes regularly in Panipat, Haryana state, adjacent to the capital, Delhi," he explained.

On the day of the attack, he said there was virtually no security, which inspired them to go ahead with the attack.

"After destroying the mosque, we went back to our homes and were treated like heroes. My family's reaction, however, shocked me," Amir said.

"Their disappointment in me is when the euphoria I felt after demolishing the mosque disappeared. I realised I did something very bad and I decided to go on a journey of healing."

This led him to contact cleric Mawlana Kaleem Siddiqui and after religious education converted to Islam six months later.

"His kind behaviour towards me and his way of understanding inspired me to seek myself, which led me to Islam," he said.

Now married to a Muslim woman, he has vowed to build a hundred mosques and so far has built 90.

Ongoing conflict

The Babri Mosque destruction has left a decades long stain on India's political system.

Last month, India's Supreme Court handed over the site of the mosque to Hindus to construct a Hindu temple to the dismay of Indian Muslims, who said although they respected the decree they were dissatisfied with the lack of justice.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) - a body of top Islamic clerics released a statement describing the move as "painful" and said it was done as a result of Hindu discretionary privileges, despite accepting the decree.

"Neither equity nor justice has been served," said senior lawyer Zafaryab Jilani, who represented the Muslim body in the court.

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