By Mumtaz Alam
04 Sep 2014
Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan speaking. Sitting on his left - Dr Tasleem Rahmani, Mohammad Salim Engineer, Mujtaba Farooq, Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi
Muslim leaders on Thursday strongly condemned the alleged statement of Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri that the terrorist organization has decided to establish an Indian branch. While asking youths to chase away any dubious character trying to propaganda Al Qaeda thoughts, Dr. Zafar ul-Islam Khan, President of All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat, the apex body of Indian Muslim organizations, said Indian Muslims would fight Al Qaeda if it tried to enter the country.
“Indian Muslims totally reject the statement of the Al Qaeda chief and consider it a disservice to the cause of the Muslims of South Asia who do not require such meddling in their affairs by a foreign terrorist outfit,” said Dr. Khan in a media statement Thursday evening.
He said Indian Muslims are loyal to their country and protected by the Constitution; they would fight Al Qaeda if it tried to enter.
“Indian Muslims are loyal citizens of their country and they will fight Al-Qaeda if it ever tried to create a presence here,” said Dr. Khan adding that Indian Muslims like other citizens of the country are “protected by the Constitution and laws of India and do not need the dubious help of a foreign terrorist outfit which has caused so much destruction and destabilization in the Middle East.”
In a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden after he was killed in Pakistan, announced the formation of “Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent”, BBC reported. Speaking in both Arabic and Urdu, Zawahiri reportedly said this “would be good news for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression.”
Dr Khan appealed to the Indian Muslim youth to be careful and “chase away any dubious character trying to propaganda Al Qaeda thoughts which do not belong to the enlightened and moderate mainstream Islam.”
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind also summarily rejected the statement of Al Qaeda.
“India is our country. It is a democratic country. We have certain problems; other people also have some problems. Using the democratic system, we can solve these problems. We don't require any exhortation, advice or help from any outside source. The alleged statement of Al Qaeda is unacceptable to us,” said Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
Dr. Tasleem Ahmed Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India, termed the Al Qaeda call as provocative, unnecessary and disservice to Indian Muslims.
“Despite discriminations, riots and backwardness, Muslims are living more peacefully in India than Muslim countries and they are capable of protecting their democratic rights,” said Dr. Rahmani.
He said groups like Al Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam. “Their claims are false. In fact they have been created by anti-Islam forces. Working as puppets of enemies, they are destroying the Muslim World. Indian Muslims must strongly condemn them,” he said.
He said Indian Muslims are capable of resolving their problems within the democratic system of the country. “While focusing on their education and career, Muslim youths are capable of resolving their issues by taking part in the democratic political system of the country,” Dr. Rahmani said.
Meanwhile, taking the Al Qaeda call seriously, Union Home Minister reportedly called a high-level meeting with heads of security and intelligence agencies on Thursday. Media reports say heads of the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attended the meeting.