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'Indian Muslims must come out of self-denial'
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | December 06, 2008 23:34 IST
Last Updated: December 07, 2008 00:31 IST
The terror attack that shook Mumbai last week has awakened the leaders of the Muslim community like never before. On the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a few Islamic scholars and leaders launched a movement called 'Muslims initiative against Terrorism' [Images].
Kamal Faruqui, well-known leader and founder member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, had organised a seminar to launch the movement in New Delhi [Images], where each speaker emphasised that it was time to stand up and be counted.
"If Muslims will not speak now, it will be too late," they said. The speakers included the Mufti Mohammed Mukarram from the Shahi Fatehpuri Mosque, eminent thinker and journalist M J Akbar and President of Jamait Ulema Qari Mohmmad Usman, among others.
"All over India, Muslims are coming out on the streets to condemn terrorism. We love India. We belong here. We must express our love of India in this crisis. We all are one and let others know that. We express solidarity with the victims of the terror attack and their relatives. We want to tell our country that we have nothing to do with terrorists or terrorism," Faruqui told rediff.com.
Addressing the audience, Faruqui said, "Indian Muslims must come out of self-denial. We should accept that there is a possibility of the involvement of some Muslims. But we love India. We have nothing to do with these terrorists. It is our duty to fight these terrorists. We must not fail in our duty to strengthen our own beloved country."
Many speakers talked about the alienation of Muslims, deprivation of the poor community and the profiling of Muslims in the society after every bomb blast.
Mufti Mohammed Mukarram from the Shahi Fatehpuri Mosque advised that the English and the Hindi media should be brought closed to the minority community. He stressed that children should be educated about Islam by imparting the basic understanding of the religion.
He told the audience that leaders of the minority community had initiated dialogue with the leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
He informed the audience that Itihas, a non-governmental oraganisaiton based in New Delhi, is taking students of public schools to mosques to familiarise the children with Islam and its culture. The children asked all kinds of questions, including the meaning of Jihad, he said, and added that they return satisfied after hearing the word's real meaning.
Such heritage tours will slowly but surely spread the real culture of India, believes the Mufti.
Importantly, he said, "I have heard that the terrorists were avenging the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Gujarat riots and other issues. But, we (Indian Muslims) have never asked for any kind of help from outside India. We don't ask for help, we don't complain to outsiders. We are living in a secular country. Whatever we want to say, we will tell our Prime Minister, our Cabinet ministers. It makes no sense to talk about our issues to outsiders. Why are others coming here and taking up our issues? We don't need them."
"We live in India. We live with pride and we are proud Indians. In the last 50-60 years, Hindustan's Muslims have never looked forward to another country and we will never look at them. The incident in Mumbai has been very painful. We will fight back against terrorism. Today, Indian Muslims are distressed," said the Mufti.
Jamait Ulema President Qari Mohmmad Usman said that India should punish the perpetrators of the terror attacks and never forgive them. He also raised a pertinent question � why was the government not making those responsible for security accountable for their lapses?
"For the sake of peace, it is very important to make people accountable for our security," he said.
The new initiative, which was started by Javed Anand, has been spreading fast. The organisers have planned a public demonstration at the India Gate in New Delhi at 3 pm on Sunday.
Similar demonstrations to condemn terrorism have been planned in 16 cities across India, including all the metros, Faizabad and Bhopal.
There won't be any slogans or speeches in the peace march, but the participants have been asked to come with placards, which will carry the following slogans.
1) Enemies of our countries are our enemies.
2) Terrorists are enemies of Islam.
3) Do not blemish Jihad.
4) Terrorists and communalists are cousins.
5) Close terrorist camps at ONCE.
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