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MY India to counter SIMI

Vijay Singh in Mumbai | September 30, 2003 15:52 IST
Last Updated: September 30, 2003 16:26 IST

Poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy affect the fortunes of every person, irrespective of religion. It is for every individual to demand good education, a job, civic amenities and his rights as a citizen of the country.

Alternative Path: Sayeed KhanThis is what MY India (Muslim Youth of India) is going to tell youngsters of the community.

The organisation is the brainchild of a former president of the Students Islamic Movement of India, Sayeed Khan, and his friends, Feroze Mithiborwala, Ashraf Mulani and Mauzam.

MY India aims to bring Muslim youth into the mainstream by making them aware of their rights and contribution to nation-building.

The four say Muslims have begun feeling insecure after the Gujarat riots and the subsequent bomb blasts in Mumbai, which have been described as an after-effect of the riots. This is helping anti-social elements misguide them.

"Muslims are made to feel insecure everywhere -- in jobs, in government facilities. MY India aims to encourage them to demand their rights," says Khan, who left SIMI in 1992 to concentrate on social work and wields considerable influence in the community.

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SIMI founder Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi

Khan says there is no difference between Hindus and Muslims in terms of education. "But where are Muslims in terms of jobs? We want to educate members of our community, train them to fight for jobs and justice. This is the only way to bring poor Muslims into the mainstream."

The founders of MY India have no faith in political parties as they "always exploit religion for their gains". The Maharashtra government, for instance, has been lax in punishing those responsible for atrocities during the 1992 communal riots, in which even a former police commissioner was involved, but is demanding Chief Minister Narendra Modi's resignation for the riots in Gujarat, they point out.

Such developments make Muslims feel insecure, and people denied justice can easily be misguided by anti-social elements.

Ashraf Mulani says it is necessary for these people to realise that they are an important part of the nation.

"MY India is against all types of extremism," says Firoz Mithiborwala. "We consider ourselves a modern and democratic group, which will communicate with people on the basis of facts, not blind faith. We are working among intellectuals as well as the working class.

"MY India will never discard the fundamental values of Islam, but there is scope for modernisation in Islam.

"Sayeed took a risk by talking about how SIMI deviated from its original aims and was being led towards extremism. We don't want the entire community to suffer because of one organisation. Now people have begun supporting MY India.

"No Muslim ideological group is aware of the ground realities. We are trying to bring all the oppressed sections of the nation together, because the agenda of oppressed sections all over the world is one."

MY India wants Muslims to solve common problems by joining hands with others as it will bring people closer and improve communal harmony.

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The Blasts in Mumbai

"After the recent bomb blasts in Mumbai, we led a huge peace rally to protest against the act and pray for the families of the victims. People appreciated the gesture," Khan says.

"We are trying to bring the youth into the mainstream, but are facing difficulties because of people like [Vishwa Hindu Parishad secretary general] Pravin Togadia, who make Muslims feel insecure with their utterances.

"The nation's leaders must understand that it's not possible to rule by subduing people by force. It is necessary to win them over."

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More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts

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Number of User Comments: 57

Sub: Great

Great.. I really appreciate your effort. But to be honest one need to educate them and make them understand the difference between the so called ...

Posted by Naveen Shetty

Sub: Great

I am a brahmin and I love Islam. Infact many of friends are muslims and I never noticed any kind of hatred towards our nation. ...

Posted by IPR

Sub: The only possible way to communal harmony in India...

I would like to congratulate my Muslim brothers who have taken this initiative---theirs is the only possible way to attain communal harmony in India.... Neither ...

Posted by Gyanesh

Sub: Congradulate My India

At the outset i would like to congradulate MY India for its sensible approch. However, i would say that it is not the Hindu fundamentalists ...

Posted by RajanAravind

Sub: keep it up

hai Sayeed Feroze , Ashraf wishes to ur efforts in bringing the misguided youth from bothn the communities it is better to concentrate not ...

Posted by kalmesh.N Patil


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