The Shiv Sena Monday urged Indian Muslims "not to let down" Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he praised the community for its patriotism and love for the country in an interview.
"Modi has lauded Indian Muslims for their patriotism...He has initiated a new chapter by giving a guarantee of the community's love for its motherland. Now, Muslims must not let him down," Shiv Sena said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
Frowning on Hindu hardliners, it said that by making this statement, Modi has not diluted his staunch Hindutva ideology.
"Modi is the prime minister of the country and of all communities and people...But, he has been always painted as 'anti-Muslim' by pseudo-secularists of the country," it pointed out.
The editorial said the entire minority community cannot be held responsible for the misdeeds of a handful of Muslims indulging in terror activities.
It recalled "the tough but fair Hindutva" propounded by the Shiv Sena patriarch and founder late Bal Thackeray.
"(Late) Bal Thackeray always said he was not against Muslims. But, always opposed those who celebrated Pakistani cricket team's win against India...He considered such Muslims as traitors...Otherwise, he had the highest respect for nationalist Muslims," it said.
Now, Modi has spoken on similar lines, saying Indian Muslims will live and 'die' for their country and will not be swayed by terror groups like Al-Qaeda - "so, their nationalist credentials cannot be doubted", the editorial said.
Unfortunately, the Shiv Sena lamented that certain communal elements attempted to create a schism between the 20-crore Muslims and other communities for their vested political interests.
They were pampered by Congress and made to feel like "princes" while certain Muslim leaders relying on numbers, resorted to political bargaining - which is nothing short of terror, it said.
It called upon Muslims to sing 'Vande Mataram' in tandem with the rest of the country, put a halt to the alleged anti-national teachings imparted in 'madrassas' as claimed recently by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, and discard the "minority community veil" (burqa) which would result in many political shops downing shutters permanently.
Once the politics of religion ends, India has the potential to progress and become an influential, global superpower, the Shiv Sena said.
However, this is hampered by the ignorance and non-cooperation of the community, who are influenced by certain leaders bent on keeping the community "in the ditch of backwardness".
'Saamana' appealed to the Muslims to get on to the national mainstream and not let down Modi for his appreciation of the community.