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Puppet dictators must go, say Deoband clerics

india Updated: Jan 31, 2011 09:15 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times
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“The spark of Tunisia has reached Egypt and Yemen and is now threatening to engulf the entire Islamic world. Dictators will no longer be tolerated as the awam (common people) want jamuriyat (democracy).

This forecast comes from Maulana Arshad Madani, the seniormost teacher at the Dar-ul-Uloom —South Asia’s biggest and oldest Islamic seminary. Often in the news for issuing fatwas (edicts), this seminary in Deoband town of western UP’s Saharanpur district is regarded as the “ideology factory” for radical Islamist movements.

The Dar-ul-Uloom’s alumni include Mufti Mahmood, father of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads Pakistan’s Jamait-e-Ulema branch. Taliban leaders, including Mulla Omar, were reported to have attended the Deoband Ijlas (conference) organised in Peshawar in 2000.

“The Dar-ul-Uloom does follow developments relating to theological affairs concerning the Muslim world but the institute is a non-political body,” a faculty member said.

In the past, however, the moulvis (clerics) at the institute have criticised political developments, including the US invasion of Iraq, while expressing support for Saddam’s takeover of Kuwait.

“What we are witnessing in Egypt, Yemen or Algeria is a rejection of the American strategy. The strategy of imposing puppets — who often turn dictators –— on Islamic states will no more work , “ senior Islamic scholar Abdullah Javed said. Egypt protests: See pics

The seminary’s deputy vice-chancellor Maulana Abdul Khalique Madrasi said, “The Jews control the business and politics of America. US President Barack Obama is a tool in the hands of the Jews. America and Israel are enemies of Islam,” he said.

Muslim Majlis leader Badar Kazmi said, “The Egyptian President imposed a dictatorial rule for the past three decades while ordinary people suffered. It is only natural that the protests should rise against him.”

Read more: Mubarak losing grip in Egypt, protesters defy curfew