Tel Aviv: Heads of Ahmadiyya and Baha'i communities were among the religious leaders gathered at Tel Aviv airport along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to receive visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Narendra Modi is on a three day visit to Israel. He is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the disputed region presently under the control of Israelis who have illegally occupied the territories belonging to Palestinian.
The President of the Israeli chapter of the Ahmadiyya Community, Muhammad Sharif Odeh greeted Modi on his arrival in Israel and introduced himself.
The brief handshake turned into a conversation as Mohammed Sharif Odeh thanked Modi for his support to the Ahmadiyya community in India.
“We want to thank you for helping our community in India. Thank you very much", he said.
Modi smiled back, thanked him saying his government maintains close relations with the Ahmadiyya community back in India.
“We are very close to the Ahmadiyya community”. Modi said.
The Ahmadiyya community has its origin in Qadian in Gurdaspur district of Punjab where its founder Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani was born in 1835.
In 1974, the Ahmadiyya community was declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government. In 1984, General Zia Ul Haq passed an ordinance prohibiting the Ahmadiyyas from using Islamic phrases and greetings, and calling "Masjid" their place of worship.