Muslim clerics all over the country on Friday came out strongly against the November 26 terror attack in Mumbai, showing solidarity with the victims and the government in their after-prayer sermons. They said the community would support every step to curb terrorism, “even if it means attacking militant hideouts in Pakistan”.
But at the same time, the clerics made it clear the government should relentlessly chase those responsible for the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts and no innocent Muslim should be harassed in the name of investigation.
Noorur Rehman Barkati, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque in Kolkata, said the government must ensure terrorist activities by Hindu outfits in Malegaon and Hyderabad are strongly dealt with. “They are evil and must be destroyed,” he said.
Meanwhile, imams in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Patna were unanimous in urging people to observe the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary on Saturday peacefully. In Mumbai, clerics urged Muslims to stand up and be counted as Indians. At the Dharavi mosque, the imam declared, “Humanity is the biggest religion”, while at the Jama-e-hidayaa in Bandra, the imam said, “They (the terrorists) went against the basic tenets of Islam.”
In Lucknow, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali said, “We are Indians. We are with the government in whatever action it takes. The government must not think Muslims will oppose action against Pakistan.” Mahali and All India Muslim Personal Law Board vice-president Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said it was high time Muslims joined the fight against terror.
In Hyderabad, attendance at mosques was thin though the police had made elaborate security arrangements.
Clerics and religious leaders held a street meeting in Kolkata under the banner of the All India Majlis-e-Shoora just after Friday prayers. Shia leader Maulana Athar Abbas Rizvi, however, sounded discordant at the meeting: “Hemant Karkare (Maharashtra ATS chief) was the massiha of Muslims. He was killed to stop the Malegaon investigations.”
In Patna, Imarat-e-Shariat secretary Anissur Rehman went a step farther, saying terrorists’ “limbs need to amputated so that others could also get a lesson”.
(With inputs from Tasneem Nashrulla, Mumbai; Tariq Khan, Lucknow; Ashok Das, Hyderbad; Arun Kumar, Patna; Anirban Choudhury, Kolkata and Hyder Naqvi, Kanpur)