The huge turnout of young Muslims at Bada Kabrastan, Marine Lines, for the funeral of 1993 serial blasts convict Yakub Memon on July 30 has caused unease among some in the community. A section of Muslims believes the turnout reflects a growing anger, borne out of a sense of discrimination.
Now, three organisations have appealed to the community’s leaders and educated elites to come up with ways to deal with what they term a “growing negativity”. The All Indian Milli Council, Mumbai Aman Committee and Khair-e-Ummat Trust have all used the Urdu press to ask community leaders to suggest ways for young Muslims to deal with their perceived discrimination.
MA Khalid, general secretary of the All India Milli Council, said, “Several group leaders called an urgent meeting on August 2, alarmed at the anger. After all, without any call, thousands closed their shops and turned up for the funeral.”
Haroon Mozawala, general secretary of Khair-e-Ummat Trust and a member of the All India Mumbai Personal Law Board, added, “We have asked scholars, academicians, businessmen and anyone else who has something substantial to say, to mail us with suggestions. The deadline is August 9. We’ve already received 15 letters after several Urdu dailies carried our appeal this week.”
Unwilling to reveal names, Mozawala said prominent advocates and Islamic scholars have written in. “Among their suggestions are community gatherings to motivate young people to get involved in civic services for a better say in the city’s administration, and spreading the message of peace,” he said.
The groups will study the letters before coming up with a concrete plan. “The focus will be to bring [young people] out of negativity and depression, and to ask them to not affiliate with any political party for solutions. They should trust themselves and the government,” said Khalid.
Sarfaraz Arzoo, editor of the Hindustan Urdu daily newspaper, said it was difficult to predict how effective the initiative will be, as this depends on the quality of suggestions. “But it will definitely open up channels of dialogue with the government,” he said. He Arzoo added that given the protests against Memon’s hanging, the turnout at his funeral was hardly surprising.