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Muslim bodies to give anti-terror message

india Updated: May 30, 2008 00:36 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times

The pulpit call against terror is radiating, with two major anti-terror conferences — one national and the other global — slated to open this Saturday in the Capital.

The Jama Masjid United Forum’s (JMUF) international conference with participants from eight countries, including Afghanistan, is expected to throw “academic light” on the issue, while the Darul Uloom-Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind conclave will likely be the largest gathering of ulamas (clerics) where the Darul seminary’s widely publicised anti-terror declaration will be ratified by the clergy.

<b1>The conferences are aimed at co-opting religious and civilian sides, isolating militants, organisers said on Thursday. “Our focus will be to tell Muslims that terror is not the tool to fight injustice, and harassment of Muslims in the name of terror must stop,” Jamiat leader Mahmood Madni said.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who will inaugurate the JMUF meet, will undertake a historic first visit to the Capital’s Jama Masjid on Sunday evening.

“In terms of community response, the moderate voice can counter the extremist voice,” said former Cabinet secretary and JMUF vice-president Zafar Saifullah. The Jama Masjid is the latest religious centre to join the growing clamour against terror among the Muslim clergy, led by Syed Yahya Bukhari.

Political analysts, however, say despite the overly idealistic veneer, the clergy movement against terror has come a little too late. “Any resistance against terror is welcome. The ulama have always been part of our country’s democratic elite. But their campaign should not serve any political agenda,” Muslim affairs commentator and former JNU faculty Imtiaz Ahmed said.

The clerics’ campaign has caught on after the Darul Uloom, the most important Islamic institution, put a Quranic stamp on the fight against terror, “declaring terrorism to be against Islam”.

The Darul Uloom-Jamiat conclave will have a cross-section of religious leaders, apart from filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and social activist Teesta Setalvad. Speaker of the Aghanistan Senate, Professor S. Mojaddedi, will be another key speaker.