Ignoring the criticism of the Anna Hazare-led anti-graft movement by the Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari, members of the minority community in the metropolis continued to lend their support to the Gandhian's campaign for a strong Lokpal Bill.
On August 22, Bukhari had said communalism was a bigger threat than corruption, and sought to know why Muslims were not involved in the movement. He also pointed out that slogans of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', that were a staple of Hazare's stir, caused disquiet among the Muslims.
The local Muslims, however, differed from the Imam and said nobody forced them to raise these slogans. As a mark of solidarity with the 73-year-old social activist who is fasting in Delhi since August 16, several Muslims are sitting on a fast at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.
Around 300 members of the community belonging to various NGOs today organised a rally, from Crawford market to Azad Maidan, in support of Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill.
"I fasted from August 16 to 23. The good thing is the movement has gathered people from all religions and sections of society. And the Imam is not the leader of our community and no one has forced us to raise particular slogans. People are shouting slogans on their own will," Feroze Mithaiborwale, National President of Bharat Bachav Andalon, told PTI.
"But we feel Hazare should have involved people from all sections of society for a debate on his Bill," he said.
Salim Alware, who was part of the rally, said, "Every Indian is suffering due to corruption - be it Hindu or Muslim or Christian. After Imam made his statement it was necessary for Muslims like us to come out and show our support to Anna."