Mahmood Madani: Clearing the air
New Delhi, Nov. 3: Six thousand Muslim clerics are set to gather in Hyderabad on November 8 to issue the biggest ever fatwa against terror.
Organised by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the countrys largest Islamic body, the meet will have muftis from all states condemning the propaganda that regards terrorism as synonymous with jihad.
The Jamiat, along with the Dar-ul Uloom Deoband, Indias oldest Islamic seminary, had issued a similar fatwa on May 31, the first of its kind in the country.
The first fatwa was signed by only three muftis. This one will be signed by 6,000 muftis, which means the impact of this will be much larger and deeper, Jamiat leader Maulana Mahmood Madani said.
The move comes in the wake of arrests of several Muslim youths in connection with a spate of recent blasts.
We want to tell the whole world that Muslims are much better in India than in any other country despite certain shortcomings. Muslims elsewhere or here should have no confusion about that. This is the message we want to convey, said Madani.
The Jamiat also plans to set up counselling centres in every district for Muslim youths who may easily get carried away by sinister campaigns.
Stressing its moderate position, Madani said: Its easy to spark hatred. But it will take years to calm it down.
The November 8 meet will also issue a public declaration demanding a strict anti-communal violence law, uniform treatment of riot victims, reservation on the basis of population and implementation of the Ranganatha Mishra commission report that has recommended Scheduled Caste status for Dalit Muslims and Christians.
Wary of the alleged pro-American tilt of the UPA government, the Jamiat will ask the Centre to come clean on its stand on Palestine and Iraq. The blatant pro-American position taken by the government of late is being viewed by the community with suspicion. The government will have to make its position clear, said Madani.
Despite the accusation, the meeting should allow the Congress to breathe a sigh of relief. It has been facing flak from almost all leading Muslim groups for targeting the community in the name of terror. Some have even equated the Congress with the BJP, saying the parties were two sides of the same coin.
But the Jamiat said it still had faith in the Congresss secular credentials. The Jamiat doesnt endorse comparing the Congress with the BJP. The Congress, despite its many shortcomings, is considered a secular party by most Muslims, Madani said.