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Muslims can sing Vande Mataram, but not if Thackeray makes it mandatory for staying in India: Shahabuddin

Samata Party leader Syed Shahabuddin likes Vande Mataram. But what he hates is Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's insistence that all Muslims should sing it.

''I am not against minorities singing the religious song. But if one Thackeray of this country says that if you have to stay in this country, you will have to sing Vande Mataram, then I will not sing it, will not sing it, will not sing it.''

In an interview to a private television channel, Shahabuddin said the song was mostly about Durga puja. Even the Congress had not adopted the entire song, finding only the first paragraph acceptable. The rest of the song talks about Durga puja. I do not do Durga puja. I do not indulge in idol worship.''

He said this country was his land and Hindus had given it the shape of a goddess. ''I do not consider it devta. I respect it. I do not worship it.''

He also opposed marriages between Hindus and Muslims saying it was better that Muslims remained good Muslims and Hindus good Hindus. ''I am either a Muslim or I am not. However, he made a distinction between a Muslim man marrying a Hindu woman and a Muslim woman marrying a Hindu man. While it is acceptable for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim, under no circumstances can a Muslim woman be permitted to marry any non-Muslim.

''I can be a rogue, I can be a goonda. Yet I have the right to live in this country and you cannot take that right away from me.''


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