Rs 10 lakh to shave Sonu Nigam; Bengal “fatwa imam” says it’s not a fatwa | cities | Hindustan Times
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Rs 10 lakh to shave Sonu Nigam; Bengal “fatwa imam” says it’s not a fatwa

cities Updated: May 13, 2017 17:41 IST

A day after Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam twitted his displeasure about being woken up by the sound of azaan from a neighbouring mosque, a member of the West Bengal Minority United Council announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anybody who can shave his head and garland him with old torn shoes.

“If anyone can shave his hair, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and tour him around the country, I shall personally reward that person with Rs 10 lakh,” said Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, who is the vice president, West Bengal United Minority Council.

However, Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati, the imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque of Kolkata who is also known as the “Fatwa Imam” having given fatwas against a number of persons including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and author Taslima Nasreen, refused to call it a fatwa. “I had a word with Quaderi, and he clarified to me that it was his opinion to counter that of Sonu Nigam. If the singer can have his freedom of expression, so has anybody else,” Barkati told HT.

Incidentally, a fatwa is a religious decree and essentially has to be written and documented.

However, the Tipu Sultan Mosque imam who is close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee also said, “If Nigam is disturbed by the sound of namaz and that of temple and church bells, he should shift his house to a spot where none of these reach him.”

Barkati also referred to a litigation in Calcutta high court in the 1990s where a person wanted to include the sound of azaan in the list of noises above 165 decibels to be prohibited. “Former chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray fought the petition and the court turned down the pplea,” he told HT on Wednesday.

Quaderi is a relatively less prominent name in the city’s cleric circle.

On Tuesday Quaderi argued for tolerance and remarked, “If we all become so intolerant about each other’s religions, we will soon have a bunch of atheists in our country. People like Nigam should be driven out of the country,” he added.

The general secretary of the West Bengal United Minority Council also took a dig at the Bollywood singer and said that more than the sound of namaz, people are disturbed by the “cacophony from his music studio and during his concerts.”

Meanwhile, Nigam’s remarks continued to trigger a storm on social media.

“I’m not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India’, read one of Nigam’s tweets.

He argued for an end to the use of public address systems and even said that there was no electricity in the times of the Prophet. He also stated that there should be no microphones in both temples and mosques.

Quaderi also vowed to hold a protest rally in central Kolkata on Rani Rashmoni Avenue.

The clerics also took a jibe at Nigam and said that he took recourse to this cheap remark to attract publicity since his career is sagging.

After the demonetisation drive, Barkati announced a cash reward of Rs 25 lakhs for anyone who blackens Modi’s face.

“I stand by my fatwa against Modi ... He is also responsible for the death of the 127 (so far) who died queuing up in front of banks and ATMs after demonetisation,” Barkati told Hindustan Times.

Others in his line of fire included author Salman Rushdie, Bangladesh-born writer Tasleema Nasreen and Canadian columnist Tarek Fatheh.