Indian Muslims must grow out of the tokenism and symbolism they are often subjected to, said senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain on Thursday, emphasizing that the community should rather focus on socio-economic development.
“Can Muslims be served only by eating a date or wearing a headgear? Can someone help Muslims just by hosting an iftar party? Work needs to be done for the development of the community, not tokenism and symbolism,” said Hussain in an interaction with Hindustan Times.
He said that Indian Muslims have surpassed that stage and what the community needed now was equality and employment.
“What Muslims need today is employment and equality, and I hope the Narendra Modi government will deliver on these expectations,” he said.
On reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi won’t be hosting an iftar party, Hussain said since Modi doesn’t keep a fast (roza), he can't host an iftar party.
“Iftar is only for those who keep roza. He is not fasting so why host an iftar party? He has tweeted Ramzan wishes and even tweeted in Urdu.”
Hussain said even when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, iftar was hosted at his residence because Vajpayee had said “since Shahnawaz keeps the fast, let the iftar be at his place.”
Speaking on Bihar’s Muslims, he said that leaders like Nitish Kumar and Laloo Prasad Yadav “must stop scaring Muslims by using the name of Narendra Modi.”
“They must realize that they can’t win any more votes by scaring Muslims. Discuss our ideology if you want, but you can’t scare Muslims,” he said.
He further added that efforts were on to provide tickets to deserving Muslim candidates in the upcoming Bihar assembly elections.
Further, referring to Bihar MP Giriraj Singh’s controversial statement ahead of the 2014 Lok sabha elections that all those who were “opposed to Modi” must go to Pakistan since they would have no place in India, Hussain said Singh is not a communal person but he could not express properly what he had in mind.
“Singh is not a communal person. His best friend is a Muslim called Shahnawaz Hussain.”