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Muslim scholars? plan anchored in new course

EMBOLDENED BY the response to 19/2 rally against the Danish cartoonist, the Muslim scholars have embarked upon an uncharted political course to further ?guide? the community in the election year.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 01:17 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
None

EMBOLDENED BY the response to 19/2 rally against the Danish cartoonist, the Muslim scholars have embarked upon an uncharted political course to further ‘guide’ the community in the election year.

A joint council, comprising a few ulema belonging to both Shia and Sunni sects, has been constituted in the city to explore the political avenues. Besides, the Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid Ahmad Bukhari has again started threatening to launch a ‘Muslim Party’.

Both moves have evoked curious response from other Muslam scholars who have distanced themselves from overtures of this ‘politically motivated’ and ‘self- appointed guide to the community’.
In Delhi, Imam Bukhari invited both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party leaders to the Saturday’s meeting to listen to the community’s problems.

In Lucknow, the newly constituted board appears to be dominated by the SP sympathisers. With its preconceived notions against the Congress and old hostility towards the BSP, the joint council led by Shia scholars Maulana Kalbe Jawad and Sunni Imam of Tilewali Masjid Maulana Fazlur-Rahman Waizi has no option but to tilt towards the SP in the state.

As the memories of Mayawati’s regime (1997) are still fresh in his mind, Kalbe Jawad’s hostility towards the BSP is well known. He was then arrested and lodged in Lalitpur jail for launching a movement for the restoration of Moharram procession in the city.

Thus, with no other political platform available, a section of Shias has just one party to support in the state. The move, which appears to be on the scripted lines, started by the scholars by cashing in on the Muslim anger at the cartoon and Iran issues. However, on seeing the game plan of the new board, a senior advocate and member All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Zafaryab Jilani hurriedly convened a meeting of some other scholars on Saturday to counter the ‘Jawad-Waizi’ move.

In view of crucial state assembly election due by year- end ‘poll-time temporary organisations’, as one scholar put it, are coming up to guide the community. The joint council explicitly made it clear that it would concentrate on ‘non-religious’ issues which were haunting the community. Imam Bukhari had also raked up similar line in Delhi on Saturday.

The All-India Shia Personal Law Board headed by Maulana Mirza Mohd Athar was also constituted for this purpose.

However, even after more than a year of its existence, except for trying to have proximity with the Congress-led UPA government, the AISPLB has not been able to make any significant gain,
While Kalbe Jawad has been trying to derail AISPLB bandwagon, Waizi is trying to counter the rising popularity of liberal Naib Imam Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rashid who did not attend the meeting held to constitute the new
board.

Rashid told HT on Sunday that such activities would only complicate the problem for ulema in Lucknow. At the time of Lok Sabha elections in 2004, Imam Bukhari had tried to fish in troubled waters of UP.

As the state is again on political radar, Bukhari is eyeing on the community for political gains in Delhi. “After supporting the NDA government, he has been trying to restore his image in the community,” said a scholar. The scholars, directly or indirectly, have started assembling on
various platforms for politicking.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 01:17 IST