Sept. 7: Organisations led by the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board have taken a serious view of rising fundamentalist militancy and are racking their brains to deal with the menace of “riot avengers”.
Board chief Maulana Rabey Nadwi has been calling up a host of religious leaders based in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bhopal, Patna and Deoband to discuss the issue.
Nadwi, 71, is keen to nip the problem in the bud. He wants the board and allied organisations like Milli Council, Mushawarat, Jamiat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema and Tabliqi Jamat to come forward with a plan of action to check the disturbing trend of a minuscule section of Indian Muslims getting involved in terrorism. The initiative comes after reports that the Mumbai blasts were triggered by the Gujarat Revenge Force, an outfit set up to avenge the post-Godhra riots.
Recently, Nadwi, along with several community leaders, held a conclave in Delhi to which writers, social scientists and activists were invited. Udit Raj, who has been organising Dalits across the country, and the RSS’ Sheshadri Chari were among the guests.
The moderate Muslim clergy sought cooperation from all, saying civil society — judiciary, political parties, media, executive and other established institutions — should come forward to fight the problem.
For once, the clergy is united in denouncing the “cause-and-effect theory”, pointing out that “riot avengers” were causing irreparable damage to the Muslim cause in India and elsewhere.
Apart from focusing on traditional Islamic seats of learning, the board has decided to convene a meeting to reinforce the “message of peace”.
So far as Nadwi is concerned, Ayodhya and the debate over uniform civil code can wait but not the campaign against the cult of violence.
The board is planning to prepare a whole body of literature to denounce terrorism in all shapes and forms. A fatwa recently delivered by the grand imam of Mecca is being translated into Urdu and Hindi and will be widely distributed at mosques and madarsas.
Another booklet, titled Saleeqa-e-Ikhtelaf (Way of Resolving Disputes), is being translated from Arabic. It is laced with instances from the lives of Prophet Mohammed and the four caliphs, showing how they avoided bloodshed to settle disputes.
The board is also bringing forward a paper, titled Islah-e-Moishra (Ways of Reforming Society), in consultation with various sects and sub-groups.
At the same time, the board wants the government and other established institutions to ensure a fair deal, justice and equality before law. Board member Kamal Farooqui said: “It is a challenge before civil society, not Muslims alone. We all must come together to eradicate it.”
Farooqui said he, along with several other Muslim leaders, was convinced that merely denouncing the incidents would not be enough as some “bold decisions” would be required.