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Ulemas lash out at terror tag

Ulemas lash out at terror tag

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 03:33 IST

“Stop denigrating Muslims as terrorists and madrasas as factories of terrorism,” cried ulemas at a two-day conference on terrorism and urged the government to introduce curbs for biased and partisan projection following the blasts in Mumbai.

Instead of adopting the role of an objective and neutral medium in disseminating news about events and ideas relating to Islam, the government had played a subservient role to the western perceptions, rued Ulemas.

Maulana Asarul Haq Qasmi, Maulana Fuzailur Rehman Hilal Usmani, Maulana Matinul Haque Osama and Maulana Matinul Haque Osama were among the leading ulemas present at the conference. They said the concept of jehad never defended terrorism and was well laid down in Islamic Shariah.

“A person ceases to be a Muslim when he becomes a terrorist,” said Maulana. “The media should be invited to visit madrasas at any time without notice to see for itself that it’s not a factory for terrorism,” said Qasmi. He added, thanks to the media, an impression had gained ground that there was something wrong with the Muslims in India. Hence, the media should be prevented from such projections.

However, I&B and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya ranjan Dasmunshi advised them against a “negative” approach and suggested a dialogue with the media to correct the wrong impressions adding that he too would do so separately with editors soon. “Curbs don’t work. The media loves its freedom. But there are many in the media who are against spreading misconceptions.”

Rajya Sabha deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan said, “Madrasas teach brotherhood and not terrorism as is being projected.”

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt blamed the Indian media for aping the West in demonising Islam. Lawyer Majida Memon demanded that the media should stop calling anyone a terrorist, while activist Teesta Setalvad said the media should go for a deeper probe into what started it all.

Dasmunshi concluded, “I understand what you are saying because even I have suffered during the late sixties when every Bengali was suspected of being a Naxalite. If acts of terrorism are condemned by Hindus and Muslims alike, it will go a long way for keeping the amity alive.”

First Published: Aug 21, 2006 03:33 IST