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Islam and Politics ( 19 Jul 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indian Muslim leaders criticise move to communalise nuclear deal issue

By Parul Chandra

July 19, 2008

NEW DELHI: Leaders of the Muslim community reacted with dismay and criticism at the contention of Mr Shahid Siddiqui — who has left the Samajwadi Party and plans to join the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — that the Muslim community is opposed to the nuclear deal. Indeed, they wondered why the nuclear deal issue was being communalised and being identified with just one community.

"It is wrong to say that Muslims are opposed to the deal. It can go against the country but how can it go against the Muslim community?" asked Mr Mahmood Madani, general secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind and a Rajya Sabha member belonging to Mr Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal. "We can be against the deal as Indians but not as Muslims," said Mr Madani. Further, he said that such a contention will only increase alienation between the country’s communities.

Mr Mujtaba Farooq, secretary (community and national affairs) of the Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind said that to say that the nuclear deal is against the Muslim community is wrong. However, Mr Farooq said that the deal does indicate India’s surrender before the US and is against national interest. Further, Mr Farooq noted that America symbolises imperialism, evident in its actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and also in the context of Palestine.

He said it was because of these imperialist tendencies that the Muslim community hates the US and it was easy to mobilise the community on this basis of anti-imperialism.

Mr Farooq also drew attention to the fact that the Samajwadi Party, which was earlier opposed to the deal, is now supporting it in a display of opportunism. As for Mr Siddiqui’s changed stance, he remarked, "He wants to use the issue politically."

A member of the Central Advisory Council of the Jamaat-E-Islami-Hind, S.Q.R. Ilyas who recently organised a symposium in the capital on the topic "Indo-US Nuclear Deal and National Interest" remarked, "The majority of the community is opposed to the deal not because they are Muslims but because it is against national interest. The deal is not a Muslim issue. To identify it with a particular community is not correct."

Source: The Asian Age, New Delhi