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Indian Muslims oppose move to impose Sharia laws

By Vicky Nanjappa
February 27, 2012 14:43 IST

Indian security agencies and the Delhi police in particular will be on guard in the coming days for any sort of meeting/convention or march which is scheduled to be conducted by a little-known organisation known as the Sharia4Hind on March 3. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

This is an organisation based in the United Kingdom which has been preaching that the Sharia law be imposed in India as they feel that Indian Muslims are oppressed, and blame it on the Indian Constitution.

The Delhi high court had recently ordered a probe against this organisation headed by one Sheikh Anjem Choudary who calls himself the 'judge' of the UK Sharia court. The basic demand by this organisation is to kick start the return of Islam in the Indian subcontinent.

As part of this programme, this organisation has decided to take out a march on March 3 at New Delhi pressing for the imposition of Sharia law. The Delhi police say it would not permit such a move, and would inform all hotels not to host any such event by this organisation.

The bigger question, however, is what kind of support would such a move get from the Indian Muslims.

A cleric based in Bangalore says that the support is minimal and a majority of the Muslims will oppose any such protest.

"The Sharia law is very local and it cannot govern a country. We are in a secular country governed by proper laws and we do not need someone from the UK to come here and speak on our behalf," he says.

Dr S Q R Ilyas, member of the All India Muslim Law Personal Board, is of the view that it is funny to see that a man who is not even from India is seeking a law for the Indian Muslims.

"Why doesn't he stick to the UK and see if he can get the government there to implement the Sharia law? India is a secular country, and we do not need someone to come here and preach law. Moreover, Muslims are not a majority over here and hence a law of this nature cannot govern the country," he says.

"Sharia can only be implemented in an all-Muslim country. However, it can only be done if the government of that country decides to do so with the consent of the general public. It is not for any individual to come down and decide for an entire nation," he adds.

"We feel it is nothing but a publicity stunt. In India we have the Muslims and seminaries who work within the framework of the Indian Constitution and while this being the case, what Choudary is speaking makes no sense to us," he says.

"I personally feel that the population of the radicals in our country is minimal, and even if they subscribe to this man it would make no difference on the overall thinking of the Indian Muslims," he concludes.

Dr Shahid Badr Falahi, former chief of the Students Islamic Movement of India, asks if this man has managed to implement such a law in the UK where he is based.

"I personally feel that this man be allowed to come to India and then he ought to be arrested and interrogated. We need to find what is his source of funding. We already have a law in India which we all follow and we do not want some one from outside coming here and trying to make a change as the Indian Muslims would strongly reject it," he says.

Indian intelligence agencies say that Choudary has been on the watchlist by almost every agency in the world.

"He is a controversial personality and has strong beliefs in Sharia law, but in reality, he is a publicity monger with a great deal of nuisance value. He needs to be checked as there may be a group of radicals who could get swayed by such a man which in turn would lead to a greater nuisance. Hence it is very important that he be stopped right in the beginning. Even if he does come here we are sure that he will not get the support of more than 100 people," said a source.

Although the Delhi police say that Choudary would be prevented, he continues to be unfazed and says that he does not need permission as he does not believe in the Indian laws. He has threatened to conduct the event through video conferencing in case his visa is not processed.
Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru