Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, an influential seat of Sunni Islam in the subcontinent, Thursday asked the government to stop “illegal conversion” of Muslims to Hinduism and vowed to “take steps” to “protect the faith”.
The steps could include resurrection of its dormant ‘conversion prevention’ wing, called Fitna-e-Irtehad, and pressing its countrywide network of affiliated clerics to bolster Islam, seminary rector Abul Qasim Nomani told HT. However, he said Darul Uloom would never do anything to “create confrontation”.
The conversion of 300 Muslims in Agra and plans for more such ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming) ceremonies by Hindu groups affiliated to the RSS, the BJP’s ideological fountainhead, threatens to become a sectarian flashpoint, as prominent Muslim religious figures said they would fend off such attempts through “lawful steps”.
“I don’t want to discuss in the media what steps we should take, as these are religious matters. You know Islamic institutions have services such as Fitna-e-Irtehad to deal with this problem. We are examining all this,” Nomani said.
Delhi’s Jama Masjid imam Ahmed Bukhari is set to make a major speech at Friday payers, which are attended by over 10,000 Muslims, in which he will spell out his stand.
“If the government does not intervene, then Muslims will be free to act to defend their faith. Wait for my sermon tomorrow,” he said.
A Jama Masjid Foundation official said the imam had summoned a meeting of affiliated mosques. Bukhari also plans to visit Aligarh where Hindu outfits are planning more conversions around Christmas.
“As religious heads, we will certainly launch a mission to renew our faith. That is the solution,” Bareilly-based Maulana Tauqir Raza Khan, a prominent cleric of the Bareilvi sect of Sunni Islam, said.
The conversion issue came up for a second straight day in Parliament with a cornered government asserting its commitment to maintaining communal harmony and suggesting that all states and the Centre have anti-conversion laws. Replying to a debate in Lok Sabha, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu rejected allegations against the RSS and accused the opposition parties of spreading “misinformation” to “tar” the image of the Sangh and the government.
Targeting the Congress in particular, Naidu said “some people are allergic to the word Hindu” and they target the RSS and the government over any or other development.