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Salman Khurshid accused of blasphemy

A section of Muslims, in a signed statement endorsed by two prominent clerics, accused minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid of “blasphemy” — a serious charge under Islam — only to retract it later.

delhi Updated: Jun 29, 2011 00:45 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times

A section of Muslims, in a signed statement endorsed by two prominent clerics, accused minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid of “blasphemy” — a serious charge under Islam — only to retract it later.

Khurshid had said the Sachar committee report was “not the Quran” that it could not be questioned and had to be followed word for word. This prompted Muslims who have differences with Khurshid on wakf reform to cry “blasphemy”.

One of the clerics, Mufti Mukkaram of Delhi’s Fatehpuri Masjid, in a climbdown, told HT that the signed statement was neither a “fatwa” (edict) nor did Khurshid commit any “serious theological offence”.

He said: “Khurshid is a respected leader of Muslims but it was not appropriate for him to have evoked the Quran in the context of a purely political issue of wakf.”

Khurshid told HT that in a “secular democracy like ours, policy will always be informed by religion, but religion cannot control policy”.

The “blasphemy” charge may stand withdrawn but Khurshid’s comments have pitted him against the architects of the Sachar committee, the 2005 report that brought out stark disadvantages faced by Muslims and made a set of corrective measures.

Though the government has implemented major recommendations of the Sachar report, Khurshid’s view is that there could be some recommendations that may not be easy to implement.

“I will always celebrate the Sachar report but that doesn't mean one cannot question even a word in it or depart one bit from it.”

The bone of contention relates to creation of a wakf cadre, along the lines of IAS, as recommended by Sachar.

“It is not possible to have an all-India service cadre of only Muslims for wakf service. That may open up negative reactions. The question is ‘do we want equity with inclusion or equity with alienation’,” the minister said.

First Published: Jun 29, 2011 00:43 IST