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No terror please, say 6,000 Muslim clerics

india Updated: Nov 09, 2008 01:01 IST
Zia Haq and Ashok Das
Zia Haq and Ashok Das
Hindustan Times
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Nearly 6,000 senior Islamic clerics from around the country endorsed a fatwa (edict) against terror issued on May 31 by influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom, Deoband. On Sunday, 50,000 more are expected to put their signatures on it, making it the biggest and clearest rejection of terror by Muslims. The fatwa had made headlines around the world and was first reported by HT.

Darul Uloom, some 100 km north of Delhi, is one of Islam’s two most-revered theological schools — the other being Al-Azhar in Cairo — and is often charged with propagating a radical version of the religion.

On the first day of the 29th annual convention of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind here on Saturday, clerics endorsed the

fatwa, which was issued under the seal of Darul’s grand mufti Habibur Rehman. The fatwa was ratified by three other Darul clerics, as required.

On Sunday, the open session of the convention, comprising of 50,000 clerics and community leaders will endorse the fatwa. “We did not have a chance to endorse the fatwa when it was issued because people like me stay far away. I am happy to be part of the campaign now,” Syed Ahmed, a tribal cleric from the Northeast.

Rajya Sabha MP Mahmood Madni, who had posed a query on whether terror was allowed in Islam, said: “Today’s campaign is a step to implement the seminary's edict against terrorism and a step towards national integration.”

Earlier, the working committee of the Jamiat decided to oppose both Muslim and Hindu organisations for trying to incite communal passion in the wake of bomb blasts in several cities. “It’s easy to cry hoarse and allege persecution but it takes a long time to ease communal tension," Madni said.

In a significant move, the Jamiat’s working committee meeting officially discussed the upcoming Lok Sabha election. One of those who attended the meeting, requesting anonymity, said the Jamiat had identified the need for Muslims to stop casting “negative votes”. Asked to explain, he said: “Muslims vote mainly to keep the BJP out. Now we should cast ballots to vote somebody in.”

The Jamiat’s general council will debate through the night and adopt a resolution on one of these two options before it: form a new political front or openly support a particular political party or support the fittest secular candidate in each state. “Tomorrow a decision should come by,” he said.

Madni, however, said it was clear that Jamiat itself would remain a non-political party. Jamiat’s conclave here is also being attended is being attended by Jamaat-e-Islami chief Jalauddin Umari.