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|November 19, 1998||
Muslims, UP government on the path of confrontation
The controversy over the Uttar Pradesh government's order making the singing of Vande Mataram and Saraswati Vandana in government schools compulsory has taken a turn for the worse. Today, the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board issued a fatwa (edict) asking Muslims to withdraw their wards from schools where the order is being enforced.
Ali Mian, chairman of the AIMPL Board, termed the order un-Islamic and hurtful to the religious feelings of Muslims.
The Uttar Pradesh government order violates the democratic, secular and non-violent character of the Indian Constitution, he said.
Ali Mian, one of the most revered Muslim clerics in the country, said the order also violates Article 28 of the Constitution which grants all Indian citizens the right to practise their religion in the manner they deem fit.
He said the advice issued to the Muslim community to withdraw its children from government schools is a fatwa in the religious sense of the term and an advice to the Uttar Pradesh government and administrative service officials.
Ali Mian clarified that Muslims are not against any religion or ideology, but Islam does not permit them to worship anything or anyone other than god. Since Vande Mataram is a prayer to the motherland, they see it as antithetical to Islam.
He regretted that Muslim members of Parliament did not object when Vande Mataram was adopted in 1957, and appealed to MPs and legislators to raise the issue in the legislatures of the country.
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