By Mohammed Wajihuddin & Faizan Ahmad, TNN
10 July 2008, 0340 hrs IST
MUMBAI/PATNA/DELHI: Muslim organisations across the country have debunked perceptions in certain political groups that India's largest religious minority is opposed to the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.
Saying that the nuclear deal was a political and strategic issue and that it should be seen as such, organisations like the Jamat-e-Islami Hind, All India Muslim Personal Law Board as well as several other state-level bodies have said Muslims aren't opposed to the nuclear deal in any manner.
"If the deal is good for the country, it will be good for the Muslims," said Maulana Bunai Noaim Hasani, general secretary, All India Ulema Board. Maulana Hasani said an impression had been given that Muslims were anti-nuke deal because of their opposition to the policies of US president George Bush.
"Muslims might be anti-Bush, but Bush isn't America. We, like other communities, back India on issues beneficial to the country," he added. In Delhi, Jamat-e-Islami Hind spokesperson Anwar Hussain said, "Muslims are not opposed to the deal."
There's a feeling among clerics that some ill-informed maulvis have issued statements against the deal without understanding it. "The deal has nothing to do with Muslims or any other community. It's about using nuclear fuel and if India gets strengthened by this, how are Muslims hurt?" asked Mumbai-based Shia scholar Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi.
Some Muslims have apparently shown wariness toward the deal because of "rumours" that Israel would gain from it.
"I've heard Israel will somehow get strengthened because of the deal. Since most Muslims oppose the Jewish state, an impression has been created that they are against the deal," said Mumbai-based cleric Maulana Abu Zaffar Hassan Nadvi. "Let the country decide whatever is in its best interest. Let's not see the deal from the prisms of community or religions."
In Patna, AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Syed Nizamuddin said the issue must not be given a religious hue. "Few days back, we had a meeting in Delhi and it was explained to everybody," he said, and added if any board member has issued a statement on the matter, it must be seen as a remark in his personal capacity.
Maulana Nizamuddin was perhaps reacting to board vice president Maulana Kalbe Sadiq who said in Lucknow that the deal was anti-Muslim. Some other clerics too had joined in chorus. "Muslims need peace, development and justice. They need jobs and security. They are least bothered about the foreign policy," Maulana Nizamuddin said.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi