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Abdullah Bukhari decries fatwa politics

Former Shahi Imam has said only the clergy has the right to issue edicts banning persons or practices.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 16:42 IST

Decrying the ascent of "fatwa politics", former Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Abdullah Bukhari has said only the clergy has the right to issue edicts banning persons or practices.

"The politics of fatwas is fast gaining currency... Only a mufti has the right to issue edicts but people from various fields are doing so nowadays," the aging Imam said in Meerut after laying the foundation for renovation of an 12th century mosque on Monday evening.

He said Uttar Pradesh Haj and Minorities Welfare minister Yaqoob Qureshi's announcement of Rs 51 crore on the head of a Danish cartoonist who lampooned Prophet Mohammad should not be taken seriously.

"There was no seriousness in the statement" and Qureshi should have thought twice before annnouncing the reward after ensuring that he had the money to pay for it, Bukhari said.

Turning to the mainstream, he said the "era of politics ended" with the death of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There was "some hope" for the Muslim community when her son Rajiv Gandhi took over but he too was snatched away, he said.

Commenting on the political acumen of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Bukhari said, "he is still a child and politics requires sternness and experience. For a large country like India, a leader with serious, solid views is needed."

The 'idgah' of Hazrat Valley masjid in Nauchandi area, to be renovated so that 15,000 people can offer 'namaz', is believed to have been constructed in 1194 during the reign of Delhi Sultan Qutub-ud-din Aibak, synonymous with the Qutab Minar.

First Published: May 23, 2006 16:42 IST