Allow temple at Ayodhya site, promote religious harmony: Shia leader Waseem Rizvi
Uttar Pradesh Shia Wakf Board president Waseem Rizvi believes there is nothing wrong with allowing the construction of a Ram temple at the site of the erstwhile Babri Masjid in Ayodhya as long as it promotes the cause of communal harmony.
Rizvi visited Ayodhya over the weekend to meet many prominent saints and present his new formula, which advocates: “Hak se aao, mandir banao, bhai-chara phailao (Come construct the temple and spread harmony)”. He said that while the temple can be constructed at the supposed birthplace of Ram in the religious city, a mosque with the title ‘Masjid-e-Aman’ may be set up at a Muslim-populated locality in the neighbourhood.
The Wakf Board president also said that the Shia community will not approve of any mosque in Ayodhya that bears the name of an “invader” like Mughal emperor Babar. Rizvi was accompanied by Mahiradhwaj Singh alias Murari Das, convenor of the Rashtriya Muslim Manch (the minority wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), during his visit. The duo met several mahants, including Dharam Das, Suresh Das, Kamal Nayan Das and Bhaskar Das, to evolve a consensus on the proposed formula.
Rizvi said this was an independent move of the Shia Wakf Board, and its Sunni counterpart has not been consulted in this regard. Not all Shia clerics side with him, either. The Majlis-e-Ulama Hind, an umbrella organisation of Shia clerics, has already disassociated itself from the Shia Wakf Board’s “solution” to the temple issue.
Mahiradhwaj said the Rashtriya Muslim Manch believes that the Ram temple in Ayodhya should be a symbol of harmonious bonding between the two communities. “This is why we have come into contact with various Muslim organisations who hold a similar belief,” he added.
Rizvi said the board was trying to arrive at a consensus on the matter before December 5, when regular hearings in the Ayodhya case will begin in the apex court.
A five-day march will be launched from Lucknow to Ayodhya on September 11 to create awareness on the issue, the Muslim leader said. RSS leader Indresh Kumar and prominent saints from the holy city will participate in the event, he added.
However, Hazi Mahboob and Iqbal Ansar – the Sunni Wakf Board’s plaintiffs in the Ayodhya case – said Rizvi’s attempts at diluting the masjid cause were insignificant because the case was pending in the Supreme Court. Mahmood went on to allege that the Shia Wakf Board president was merely trying to create a fresh dispute.
Bhaskar Das and Suresh Das – the plaintiffs for the Nirmohi Akhada and Nirvani Ani Akhada respectively – welcomed Rizvi’s campaign, stating that such a “solution” will go a long way in strengthening the ties between the Hindu and Muslim communities.
On August 21, Rizvi said that he has sought a ‘fatwa’ (edict) from prominent clerics in Iran and Iraq on the Ayodhya dispute. He also cited Maulana Kalbe Sadiq – another prominent cleric and vice-president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) – as stating that Muslims should hand over the disputed land to Hindus.
Rizvi is in the crosshairs of the Yogi Adityanath government for alleged misappropriation of Wakf properties.
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