'Tension is being created in society because of this green flag, which is not even an Islamic flag.'
'There is no history of such a green flag being used in the Muslim world.'
Photograph: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to respond to a petition by Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board Chairman Waseem Rizvi seeking a ban on green flags with a crescent moon and star.
Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked Rizvi's counsel to serve a copy of the petition to Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to enable him TO file a reply on the Centre's behalf.
Rizvi had filed the petition stating that the green flag must be banned in India because it is 'un-Islamic'.
"If Muslims improve their own mistakes, then we will make a better India," Rizvi tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.
What led to your PIL (public interest litigation) regarding green flags with the crescent and star?
The green flags that are put up as Islamic flags are not Islamic.
Common people have no idea about the history of this flag.
When the Muslim League was formed in 1906, this green flag with crescent moon and star came into existence.
Before that, Turkey, ruled by the Ottoman empire, had a red flag with crescent moon and star as their flag.
There is no history of such a green flag being used in the Muslim world prior to that.
Before Islam came into existence, the crescent moon and stars were worshipped like God.
The Holy Quran suggests otherwise.
Ayat 37 of Sura 41 says Muslims must not worship the moon and stars.
(Interrupts) After the Partition of India, the Pakistan government made this green flag with moon and crescent as their national flag, with an added white strip.
Till date, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-E-Azam) party has the same flag as their party flag.
What about the Indian Union Muslim League, the faction of the League that stayed in India after Partition?
Their flag is different. On top of the green flag there is A small crescent moon and star. It is a different flag.
Moreover, it is a political flag and not an Islamic one. Those who call it AN Islamic flag are wrong.
Therefore, I have appealed to the court. I want a ban on the flag in India.
The PML-Q flag has been kept on purpose to keep the ideology of Pakistan alive in India. I feel this is wrong.
The political flag of THE Muslim League which existed before 1947 in India has become a religious flag in Independent India.
Nobody has noticed it for 70 years. So why are you objecting now?
You see, hatred is growing in society. I saw a report on social media that a bus came under attack because it was carrying the green flag.
In one way, there is tension being created in society because of this green flag, which is not even an Islamic flag.
We have to rectify our mistake by changing this flag.
So which is an Islamic flag?
Prophet Mohammed made the first Islamic flag which was plain black in colour. It was called Rayat-al-uqab (banner of the eagle).
And when he entered Mecca, he was holding a white flag which signifies peace.
So you are okay with a flag of any colour except the green one?
Yes, I have no problem (with any other flag). You cannot make a political flag belonging to the Muslim League of 1906 (a religious flag).
The flag might be blue or any other colour, but not the green one with a crescent moon and star as it was the Muslim League's flag.
Green also signifies greenery.
Then take out the star and crescent moon. Why are you using the same symbols as used by the Muslim League in 1906?
Take the flags of other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Iraq; you don't see the crescent moon and star. Pakistan is the only country which has a green colour flag with a crescent and star on its flag.
What will you gain if you win your case?
A Pakistani political party must not be promoted in India.
You are being called a 'BJP agent' by your critics.
If I speak on issues, my opponents level such charges on me. I feel it is better to change this flag rather than dying for such stupid things.
I don't want future generations to suffer because of this Muslim League flag.
Do you feel if we remove green flags with a crescent and star in India, then things will change and brotherhood will prevail in society?
There are other issues too, but (let's) begin with this flag. Why keep love for Pakistan in your heart by putting up such flags?
The people who put up such flags may not know its history.
Those poor people who are putting up these flags may not know, but those who conspired to put up this flag know about it.
Flag or no flag, Muslim areas are termed 'mini-Pakistan' in many parts of India.
Pakistani Muslims will never be friends with Indian Muslims.
Sadly, it is a reality that some Muslims in India have love for Pakistan in their hearts.
I repeat, only some of them.
Before going to court did you request anyone to remove the flag?
I wrote letters to various Muslim organisations on this issue. I sent letters to the Muslim Personal Law Board as they have got the maximum number of clerics under them. They did not even bother to reply.
Some years ago when actress Simi Garewal said on television that she saw so many Pakistani flags in Mumbai, she was made a laughing stock because of her 'ignorance'.
People who laughed at her must know that if someone is objecting to it, then this will create tension in future. One cannot take everything as a joke.
One gets the feeling that the Muslim community is being systematically targeted today: Be it the azaan issue, triple talaq or the beef ban?
So why is the community getting entrapped in it at all?
If there is some problem with our community, then we must have to solve it.
If my child is fighting with a neighbour's child, then I have to improve the behaviour of my child and not my neighbour's child.
If I start pointing out mistakes of my neighbour's child, then the trouble will never end.
And if both parents make their children learn how to live peacefully, then the trouble will end permanently.
If Muslims improve their own mistakes, then we will make a better India.
Every 15 days some fundamentalist Hindu organisation finds new problems with Muslims in India. What do you have to say about it?
Yes, now the situation is changing. Nowhere was a Muslim was taken into a jungle and killed in the name of 'love jihad' earlier, as happened now in Rajasthan.
Such things never happened and we need to understand why this hatred is growing. And the answer is that we should first improve our own mistakes.
This hatred is growing because of Hindu fundamentalists and not because of Muslims.
No. I gave you the example of children fighting. You accept first that you are doing something wrong and improve on that.