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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Muslims should unite as a political force, say clerics at Delhi congregation

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Muslim identity has been equated with terrorism, and there is a need for the community to unite and emerge as a political force, said speakers Tuesday at a gathering of Muslim clerics and scholars from across the country. A judicial probe was also demanded into the “fake encounter” at Jamia Nagar last month in which two suspected terrorists were gunned down.The All India Muslims Organisations meeting convened by Ahmad Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, also deliberated on the alienation of Muslims.

During his inaugural address, the Imam lamented the attitude of various governments towards Muslims.

“After a review of 60 years history, we find that Muslims have been victimised under different governments, sometimes in the name of riots and sometimes in the name of terrorism and put into utmost distress and disgrace to make their morale low,” said Bukhari.

Describing the Sep 19 Jamia Nagar shootout as “fake”, Bukhari demanded a judicial probe into the incident and proposed legal and financial aid for the “innocent” people arrested. Two suspected terrorists said to be involved in the Sep 13 terror bombings in the capital were killed in the shootout. A decorated police official was fatally wounded.

“The shootout in Jamia Nagar was a fake encounter and we demand a judicial probe. Simultaneously, we should make some arrangements for providing legal aid for the innocent arrested persons,” he said.

The last major congregation of Muslim clerics was held in February this year by the Darul-Uloom, a 150-year-old seminary in Deoband where a fatwa condemning terrorism was issued. This was subsequently reiterated in Delhi in May.

The speakers also called for the need for Muslims to emerge as a political force.

“Today Muslims are living in utmost adverse economic and political conditions. Muslim identity has been equated with terrorism. We have fought for the independence of this country now the need is to get united and emerge as a political force,” said Maulana Arshad Madni, chairperson of Jaimiat Ulema-e-Hind.

A message sent by Maulana Marghoob-ur-Rehman of Darul-Uloom, Deoband, was read out in the meeting.

“Our intelligence agencies and police force are using terrorism as a tool to target the Muslims. The electronic media has played a biased role in showing only police version in the case of the Jamia Nagar shootout,” said the Maulana in his message.

Syed Nizamuddin, general secretary the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, commented on the political agenda of the communal forces.

“Targeting Muslim youth is a part of the long drawn agenda of the communalised political forces in our country. These forces want to demoralise the educated Muslims and restrict their voice,” said Syed Nizamuddin.

The meeting is being attended by clerics, scholars, religious and political leaders along with journalists. This is the second time in more than three decades that such a meeting has been convened. A similar meeting took place in Lucknow in 1972.

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