By Nilofar Suhrawardy, MMNS
NEW DELHI â€“ Continuing the trend begun of late by prominent Indian Muslims of voicing their stand against terrorism and its linkage with Islam, Maulana Arshad Madani an eminent scholar from Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), lashed out at the west last week (June 11) at a press conference for select media persons. â€œThe Zionist and imperialist powers are using all their maneuvering skills to establish their hegemony over Islamic countries. They are the real terrorists,â€ Madani said. â€œTerrorism and extremism are against the very basic tenets of Islam,â€ Madani asserted. He blamed propagators of a negative campaign for holding Islam as â€œresponsible for the rise of extremism, violence and political unrest in various parts of the world.â€
Madani drew attention to a fatwa issued recently by Darul-Uloom, Deoband (Uttar Pradesh), an institute of Islamic learning, which states, â€œKilling of innocent people is not compatible with Islam.â€ Madani, holding a highly respected position at this institute, has been actively involved in its activities.
Blaming United States and its allies for their policies towards Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, Madani said: â€œIsrael has unleashed a reign of terror against the Palestinians. Innocent people, women and children are victims of Israeli barbaric acts. Iraq is at the verge of disintegration. Afghanistan has turned into a graveyard.â€
During his address, Madani pointed out that though there seemed to be no end to United Statesâ€™ policy of targeting Islamic nations, â€œNo effort is being made by so-called civilized world to help Palestinians.â€
â€œWhile Americaâ€™s terror policies have made the word- â€˜peaceâ€™- vulnerable, communal forces in India are bent upon whipping communal passions to dent democratic image of this great country,â€ Madani said.
â€œDivisive and communal forces are trying hard to vitiate the atmosphere by indulging in disruptive policies. Their aim is not only to tarnish the countryâ€™s democratic image, but also foment trouble among various communities for their own political objectives and goals,â€ Madani pointed out.
Drawing attention to their being discriminatory approach in holding Muslims responsible for whatever terrorist incidents take place in the country and their being arrested, even when there is no substantial evidence of their being guilty, Madani said: â€œHundreds of innocent youths are languishing in jails across the country and no legal aid is being extended to them to prove their innocence. These youths are held in jails without trials for several years, which is against the basic norms of justice.â€
Observing that madrasas (Islamic schools) are â€œdescribed by western and communal forces as breeding grounds for terrorists,â€ Madani minced no words in saying: â€œThe biggest terrorists are the ones who are indulging in such propaganda.â€ He also drew attention to Muslim scholars of Darul-Uloom (Deoband, UP) and other Islamic institutions having played a prominent role in Indiaâ€™s freedom struggle and promotion of secularism.
Expressing the need for taking strong action against forces that are bent on destroying â€œsecular fabricâ€ of India, Madani pointed out: â€œThe saddest part is that secular and democratic forces have remained mere spectators to plight of minorities. The minorities are used only as vote banks and nothing concrete has been done for their socio-economic upliftment.â€
The capital city has witnessed several anti-terrorism conferences over the past few weeks organized by Indian Muslim leaders. The press conference addressed by Madani yesterday is a continuation of this trend. Having raised their voice against Islam and on Muslims being linked with terrorism, despite their religion and the majority of Muslims having nothing to do with it, Indian Muslims are least likely to keep quiet till their message sinks into the consciousness of people at large across the world.