India, Muslims and a new anti-terrorism fatwa
It was another sign of how Muslim organisations in India appear to be taking the initiative as the country suffers from a string of bombings, often blamed on suspected Islamists, that has raised tensions between majority Hindus and minority Muslims.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, one of India’s leading Islamic groups which has been active in the country since the start of the 20th century, endorsed on Nov 8 a fatwa against terrorism.
More than 6,000 clerics signed the edict, which follows a similar one issued earlier in the year by India’s top Islamic institution Darul Uloom Deoband. The fatwa follows a series of police crackdowns on Muslims after bomb blasts across Indian cities this year in which more than 200 people have died.
Muslim organisations are worried.
Previously Indian authorities had generally blamed Pakistan for most attacks, but evidence that these attacks were home grown has put India’s Muslim community under the eye of the police. Muslim leaders say innocent Muslim youths are being targeted by police.
So, there was no doubt that Muslim groups were reaching out to the rest of the country.
The Times of India quoted the weekend motion as saying that that “jihad is a constructive phenomenon and a fundamental right of human beings whereas terrorism is based on destruction”.
“It is required to define `jihad’ and `terrorism’ in the right perspective, which stand poles apart. Terrorism is the biggest crime as per Quran,” the resolution said.
“Here more than six thousand clerics from across the country have signed it to involve more people in spreading the message that there is no place for terrorism in Islam,” Jamiat’s senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Moulana Mahmood Madani told reporters.
It was interesting to see the response of the conference to news of the arrests of some right-wing Hindu militants and a military officer in connection with two recent blasts, originally blamed on Muslims.
Rather than make any political capital out of it, Madani said he disapproved the use of term ‘Hindu terrorist’ saying his organisation was opposed to linking terrorism with any religion.
“We are against linking terrorism to Hindus or Hinduism just as we are opposed to linking it to Muslims or Islam,” he said.
An act of political maturity, perhaps, that Indian politicians should learn from?