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Indian Muslims endorse fatwa against terrorism: Media welcomes Jamiat Ulema ‘Seizing the initiative in these troubled times’

Declaration of intent

Editorial in The Indian Express 

Nov 11, 2008

Seizing the initiative in these troubled times, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind expressed a consensus condemning terrorism as un-Islamic. More than 6000 clerics signed the declaration, and reminded the nation that jihad and terrorism were “poles apart” and that “terrorism is the biggest crime as per the Quran”. What’s more, they displayed a grown-up refusal to play politics over revelations about Hindu militants arrested in connection with the recent bomb blasts, saying that terrorism should not be linked to any religion.

They also pressed for a separate law to deal with communal violence, and greater representation of Muslims in education and employment. Certainly, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s resolution carries great moral weight and legitimacy among Indian Muslim communities, and the resolution is a sensible move away from victimhood to agency. It is a welcome attempt at reaching out to the rest of the nation and carving a moderate space to respond to the particular exigencies of the situation facing those communities.

Unfortunately, the entire spectrum of commentators that conflate Islam and terrorist activity and suggest that the religion encourages a willed surrender of independent thinking fail to recognise how any religion shape-shifts in response to changing situations. Jihad itself is a normative concept in the Quran, an ethical mission and a warlike one — variously deployed depending on political circumstance — and the Hyderabad resolution clearly distinguished between the two.

“Jihad is a constructive phenomenon and a fundamental right of human beings whereas terrorism is based on destruction”, said the statement. For instance, scholars of the Deoband movement have pointed out politics is a matter of pragmatic response for them, and that they function best in secular regimes that allow them the autonomy to prescribe “correct practice”. So like the Darul Uloom’s similar statement in May, the Hyderabad fatwa is another encouraging demonstration of the tugs within the ulema. In the nervous dysfunctional environment following terrorist attacks, this fatwa fits in with the impulse of protecting their flock as well as underlining religion’s bedrock of shared peace.


Follow Prophet to become leader even in minority: MJ Akbar

By Mohammed Siddique

Hyderabad: The noted journalist and author Mubashir Javed Akbar (famous as MJ Akbar) today bowled over the gathering of thousands of clerics at the General Session of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) by his profound knowledge and deep insight in Quran, Sunnah, Islamic history and Islamic jurisprudence.

In an extraordinary appearance at an Islamic religious conference Akbar spoke on the problem of terrorism, media distorting the image of Islam by misusing the name of Jihad, and the position of Jihad in Islam.

But the core message of his half an hour long address, punctuated by the slogan of "Allah-o-Akbar" by thousands of delegates on Saturday night, was how Muslims of India can overcome the handicap of being a minority. "When Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) migrated to Madina, he was chosen as the leader of the city and its surroundings though Muslims were not in majority and there were Jewish tribes around the city. He was chosen not because of numerical strength but because of his leadership skills, statesmanship and ability to take everybody along".

On the contrary, Akbar said, Muslims in India become disheartened by thinking of themselves as a minority. "If we have the same leadership qualities and abilities we can also become the leader despite being a minority", he said. Akbar, the author of several books including the famous "Under the Shadow of the Sword" on Islamic history, also underlined the need for Muslims to do agreements with the other communities. He referred to the Islamic history saying even the Prophet had sort of agreements with the Jews. "We live in a democracy and we should compromise with the other communities, even those who had a clashing viewpoint. Then only the doors will open for us".

On secularism he said, the best term for secularism was coined by the Quran when it speaks of others having their own religion and Muslims having their won religion. (Lakum Deenukum Walyadeen). "We can compromise only by remaining steadfast on our own religion", Akbar said.

He decried the media for misusing the term of Jihad. "Whenever there is a bomb blast, the media starts calling it Jihad. Jihad is a very noble and clean struggle", he said. Akbar said that the Muslims cannot discard the concept of Jihad as it is one of the tenets of Islam. "If they dissociate themselves from Jihad, they will not remain Muslims", he said adding that it was the responsibility of Muslims to remove if there were misconceptions among others about Islam.

Akbar said that even other religions have the concept of holy wars like Dharam Yudh in Hindu and Sikhism and Crusade in Christianity. "But it is only in the case of Muslims that the term of Jihad is used to describe the act of violence".

He also rejected the new term of Islamo-Fascism being used by the opponents of Islam and Muslims. "They can never be the same", he said pointing out that the history of Islam was more than 1400 years old while fascism dates back to 1920 to the era of Mussolini.

He also found fault with the term of Terrorism and said that the correct term for this type of violence "Fitna or Fasad" was used by Quran. "The Quran has spelled out the punishment for this crime in varying degrees ranging from the cutting off fingers or hands to the capital punishment".

"Islam teaches that killing one innocent person was killing the entire humanity and removing one oppressor is delivering an entire nation", he said.

Akbar said that if an individual has done something wrong, the entire community should not be held responsible or maligned for that. At the same time he said if somebody has done something wrong, Muslims should dissociate themselves from him.

Instead of looking towards others or blaming others, Muslims should introspect and remove their weaknesses and shortcomings. "To me poverty, ignorance and sex discrimination are the biggest enemies of Muslims", Akbar said.

M J Akbar, who once edited Sunday Weekly magazine and then successfully launched The Telegraph and The Asian Age newspapers, strongly advocated the need for imparting education to the girls. "Without that we can’t enter even 19th century, let alone the 21st century", he said.

Akbar said that educating girls does not mean that they should leave their Hijab or become irreligious. "We can get educated by remaining faithful to our culture and our religion", he said.

Akbar said that many Christians ask him why Muslim women continue to wear veil. "I ask them whether they have ever seen Bibi Maryam without a veil".

He also attributed the pathetic condition of Muslims to their laxity and lethargy. He expressed shock that some Muslims proudly say that they have not seen the morning sun light for years. "How a true Muslim can do it because his day is supposed to start with Azan-e-Fajr", Akbar said.

After his speech one delegate summed up the feeling of the gathering: "We had thought he was a godless and irreligious person but Akbar has turned out to be an Aalim".



Tuesday, November 11, 2008                

Indian Muslims endorse fatwa against terrorism

HYDERABAD: Thousands of Indian Muslims have united to endorse a religious edict condemning terrorism as un-Islamic, a scholar said on Monday.

The two-day weekend meeting in the southern city of Hyderabad drew around 6,000 Muslim clerics and scholars, and came after India was hit by a wave of bombings by suspected Islamist militants across the Hindu-majority nation.

Indian Muslim leaders have since complained that members of their community were being subjected to harassment by police.

The endorsed fatwa, or ruling, holds that the term jihad – ‘holy war’ – could not be applied to terrorist acts. “Jihad is basically a constructive phenomenon. Terrorism is based on destruction alone. Jihad is permitted only for restoring peace and is a fundamental right of a human being,” the edict reads.

“It’s a very good and important step which draws the distinction that jihad and terrorism have nothing in common,” said Khalid Rasheed, a senior cleric from northern India who attended the meeting.

At the closing session on Sunday, K Rahman Khan, deputy speaker of India’s upper house of parliament, urged the scholars to help end ‘all forms of terrorism’.

“It is only some misguided youth who are caught in the trap of those perpetrating terrorist acts. The clerics should bring them back on to the right track by explaining what jihad exactly stands for,” he said. Around 14 percent of India’s billion-plus population is Muslim. afp\11\11\story_11-11-2008_pg1_6


Lok Satta opposes Jamiat call for10 pc quota

11 Nov 2008, 0355 hrs IST, TNN

 HYDERABAD: Lok Satta Party on Monday opposed the demand for 10 per cent reservation to Muslims and other minorities in education and government jobs made by Jamiat Ulama- e- Hind at the two-day meeting organised here on Sunday.

Addressing media, Lok Satta president Jayaprakash Narayan said the Supreme Court had imposed a cap of 50 per cent on reservation. " Even, if such a quota is feasible, experience shows that only well-educated and economically well-off sections were enjoying its fruits", he said.

He also felt that such demands would trigger social discord and the issue would be used for vote bank politics. Instead, he suggested that 10 per cent bonus marks in admission to higher educational institutions irrespective of caste and religion, would help the minorities. It was high time to organise an open debate on reservations, he said.

Welcoming the Jamiat declaration that terrorism was the biggest crime as per Quran, Jayaprakash said the acts of terror, violence and brutality were perpetrated against innocent citizens by criminals and fanatics and not by Hindus or Muslims. He said Jamiat statement was in consonance with "Wahabism" in Saudi Arabia which has declared that terrorism has no place in Islam.


Hyderabad conclave calls for pan-minority unity

11 Nov 2008, 0232 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: The resolutions adopted by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind at its Hyderabad convention cover a gamut of issues ranging from terrorism to political reservation while also calling for Dalit-Muslim-tribal-Christian unity that the organisation has spoken of in a stop-start fashion.

In the backdrop of attacks on churches, JUH has sought to make common cause with Christian groups under the minority umbrella, a position that is at variance with larger conflicts that have pitted the West against Islamic opinion in many parts of the world. The common cause that JUH has sought seems driven by a desire to oppose “Hindu” extremism.

Arguing that India is a land of “various minorities”, the Jamiat has said that together they can have an “effective stake in power”. The JUH says communal violence has targetted Dalits, Muslims, Christians and tribals and urges minorities to “bring about a solid unity amongst themselves”, asking Muslims to shed “false notions of social superiority”.

The proposition for a minority-SC-ST coalition sounds alluring but has made little headway in the past due to differing political interests and incompatible socio-economic levels. But JUH’s outreach is interesting as it seeks to present these sections as victims of “persistent discrimination” which it sees as a reason for a nominal Muslim presence in government and legislatures.

Even on the Sachar Commission, JUH notes that “nothing concrete has been done so far” while calling for removal of “discrimination” under Article 341 and extending reservation benefits to Muslim “dalits”. The cross-community bonding is at odds with the view that the Muslim world faces a threat from the West, led by US, in a replay of the medieval crusades in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

In identifying “Hindutva” forces as the principal enemy, JUH may have provided a hint of its political objectives in view of forthcoming elections. Though deeply unhappy with Congress over anti-terrorism initiatives which it feels target Muslims, JUH sees BJP emerging as a significant challenger even though it is likely to drive a bargain for support to UPA. The Hyderabad jamboree was a step in that direction.

In its resolution on terrorism, JUH says Hindu outfits had been found to be involved in blasts in Modasa and Malegaon who were influenced by outfits like RSS. “In view of this, to raise a finger against any particular community or religion, is highly unjust.”


Muslim clerics sign fatwa against terror

Uma Sudhir

Sunday, November 09, 2008, (Hyderabad)

The 89-year-old Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind, the largest Islamic body in the country, is focusing its 29th national meeting in Hyderabad on delinking terror from religion. The conference is being held to reiterate that the community is secular and peace-loving and that Islam per se cannot be linked to terror.

On Saturday, nearly 6000 Muslim clerics from all over the country signed the Deoband fatwa against terror.

"We want to involve as many people and make it public that terror has no place in Islam, that no terrorism can be done in the name of Islam and Quran gives no sanction to it," said Mahmood Asad Madani, Rajya Sabha MP.

Significantly, the Jamiat points out that just because Hindutva terror is now being spoken about, they are not going to point fingers nor be defensive about what some call jehadi terror.

"Whoever is the accused, let's not link them to any religion, whether Hindu or Muslim. People indulging in such activities should not be linked to any religion,'' said Hakimuddin Qasmi, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind

The two-day conference will culminate in a public meeting on Sunday evening at Hyderabad's Nizam College grounds where the Jamiat has invited other Islamic bodies as well as civil society leaders like Sri Sri Ravishankar, Swamy Aginivesh and Joseph D'Souza.


Muslim clerics endorse anti-terror fatwa

Published: Nov. 8, 2008 at 9:57 PM

HYDERABAD, India, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- About 6,000 Muslim clerics from around India approved a fatwa against terrorism Saturday at a conference in Hyderabad.

Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuri, president of the Jamaiat-Ulama-i-Hind, called terrorism the most serious problem facing Islam, The Hindu reported. He blamed Islamic radicals for their actions and the news media for failing to distinguish between the radicals and the majority of Muslims.

"We have no love for offenders whichever religion they might belong to," he said. "Our concern is that innocents should not be targeted and the career of educated youth not ruined. The government should ensure transparency in investigation."

India has the world's second-largest Muslim population after Indonesia, although Hindus outnumber Muslims. The meeting was also expected to address issues like national integration.

"Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form. Cooperation should be done for the cause of good but not for committing sin or oppression," the fatwa written at the Darul Uloom Deoband, India's foremost Islamic seminary.


Muslims against terrorism: Clerics drive home the point


Time Published on Sun, Nov 09, 2008 at 11:34 in Nation section

UNITED AGAINST TERROR: The two-day cleric congregation is taking place in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad: Yunus Khan spends most of his time in a seminary, teaching students about Islam. But today the 28-year-old teacher is travelling around the country with a message of peace.

He feels it’s high time people like him took a stand against terror.

“We teach children to live in harmony. Islam doesn't encourage terror and this message needs to be sent out,” he says.

Yunus Khan is among the 4,000 Muslim clerics who came together in Hyderabad from seminaries as far as Deoband in UP, West Bengal and Gujarat.

The two-day event at Hyderbabad comes eight months after Deoband, India’s most well-known seminary, announced a fatwa on terrorism.

The fatwa declares that "Islam does not permit killings of innocent persons in retaliation of any criminal act."

“We’ve signed this document and shows to the world we are not for terrorism,” says a cleric Ahmed Shabir, who’s also the state president for the Jamiat-ul-Uloom seminary.

Several politicians, too, attended the event, indicating their role in organising this event. But the clerics remained diplomatic about the extent to which they were aided by the Andhra government

“The state government has always helped the Jamaat and hope will continue to do so,” says Shabir.

So in an election year where terror is emerging as a key issue, clerics like Yunus Khan are making sure their message and their vote matters just like everyone else.


Ulema, Muftis ratify fatwa against terrorism

Special Correspondent

“Islam rejects violence and bloodshed”

Clear message: Rajya Sabha MP Maulana Syed Mahmood Madni (third from left) reading out the fatwa against terrorism issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband. To his left is Moulana Marghub Ur Rahman, Rector, Darul Uloom, who signed the fatwa. —

Hyderabad: In a significant move, about 6,000 ulema and Muftis from different parts of India on Saturday ratified the fatwa against terrorism issued by the Darul Uloom Deoband, the renowned seminary and Islamic academic centre.

“There is no relation whatsoever between Islam and terrorism. The two are poles apart.” That is the message the ulema sent out at the two-day, 29th national session of the Jamaiat-Ulama-i-Hind, which began here on Saturday. Jamiat leaders heading different State branches affixed their signatures endorsing the fatwa issued by grand mufti Habibur Rehman.

“Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form. Cooperation should be done for the cause of good but not for committing sin or oppression,” the fatwa declared.

The Jamiat is expected to adopt resolutions against terrorism, communal riots, the U.S. aggression in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, and Qadiyani and Christian activities, and on national integration, reservation for Muslims, the Sachar Committee report on the condition of Muslims, Islamic identity and social reform at a public meeting on the Nizam College grounds here on Sunday.

A large number of ulema, including Jamiat president Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuri, and Maulana Marghoob-ur-Rehman, Rector, Darul Uloom, arrived here by a special train “Shaikhul Hind Express”from Deoband.

In his presidential remarks, Maulana Mansoorpuri said terrorism was the most serious problem facing the country. The most unfortunate thing was that, on the one hand, the acts of a few misguided elements were being linked to Islam and, on the other, a distorted picture of Islam and its Prophet was being presented. Both the print and electronic media were being used to spread misunderstanding and falsehood about Islam. He urged the media to distinguish between a suspect and an accused and not to brand anyone terrorist before the court verdict was out.

Transparency in probe

“We have no love for offenders whichever religion they might belong to. Our concern is that innocents should not be targeted and the career of educated youth not ruined. The government should ensure transparency in investigation.”

Quoting Koranic verses, Maulana Mansoorpuri explained how Islam preached universal love and brotherhood and stressed cordial interpersonal relationship with fellow countrymen. Islam attached the utmost respect for human life and termed unjust killings a great sin. “Whatever faith one professes, the Koran calls for honouring and safeguarding every human being,” Maulana Mansoorpuri said.

The teacher of Hadith at Deoband said terrorism was not the problem of one community but of the country, and everyone should join hands to tackle it. Maulana Mansoorpuri urged Muslims to follow the Shariat in letter and in spirit lest they become a tool for harming the religion more than others.

“Threat to society”

Rajya Sabha member and Jamiat leader Maulana Mehmood Madni said it was wrong to link terrorism with religion. Whoever indulged in acts of terrorism were ‘mad and lunatics’. Those who instigated violence in the name of religion and region posed a threat to the social fabric of society and should be dealt with with an iron hand. “The government should not have a dual policy when it comes to dealing with terrorists.”

Earlier, Hakimuddin Qasmi presented the secretary report.


Jamiatul Ulema endorses resolution against terrorism

Posted: 6:28p.m IST, November 8, 2008

Hyderabad, Nov 8 (IANS) Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Saturday endorsed the fatwa of leading institution of Islamic learning Darul Uloom Deoband declaring terrorism as un-Islamic.

The oldest and biggest Muslim group endorsed the fatwa at its 29th general session which began here Saturday.

The two-day session, attended by over 5,000 clerics from across the country, is discussing a host of issues including terrorism, communal riots and reservations for minorities.

The opening session endorsed the fatwa of Deoband.

'Till now the fatwa of May 31, 2008 had the signature of only four Muftis (clerics) but here more than 6,000 clerics from across the country have signed it to involve more people in the spread of this message that there is no place for terrorism in Islam, terrorism can not be spread in the name of Islam nor Quran has permitted it,' Jamiat's senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Moulana Mahmood Madani told reporters.

The Deoband-based Jamiat had organised a massive meeting in New Delhi in May, in which a fatwa against terrorism was made public and the delegates took an oath to continue their struggle against terrorism.

Madani said the session wants to spread the message of peace and national integrity in the country which was passing through a very difficult and critical situation.

The meet called for a united fight by all Indians against terrorism to secure the future generations of India and strengthen peace and communal harmony in the country.

Madani said the Jamiat was opposed to terrorism in any form and wants the government to deal sternly with the 'mad elements' that were spreading violence and terrorism in the country.

He said those indulging in violence and terrorism and resorting to bomb blasts were mad people and they should be dealt with sternly. 'There should be equal treatment for all and double standards should not be there,' he said.

Asked about the arrests of a few Hindus in connection with the Malegaon blast, he said that the Jamiat strongly opposes linking terrorism to any community.

'For last so many years, when terrorism was being linked to Muslims and Islam to malign them we have been opposing it strongly. Now how can we resort to the same thing and blame another community or religion for terrorism,' he asked.

Madani also disapproved the use of the term of Hindu terrorism. 'If those using terrorism to malign Islam were wrong, how can we be right if we also start saying the same thing about others (Hindus). Indian society as a whole, Hindus and Muslims, should counter the terrorism and fight against such elements. We are not here to blame any body or wash anybody's sins,' he said.

The Jamiat, in another resolution, demanded a special legislation to prevent the communal violence in the country. The officials of the affected areas should be held accountable if riots break out and there should be uniform package of compensation for everybody in the law, it said.

The Jamiat is also demanding reservations for the Muslims in proportion to their population and equal opportunities for all in the jobs and education.

The session, being attended by the delegates from across the country will also discuss the recommendations of the Sachar Committee and Justice Ranganath Mishra commission to uplift the community educationally and economically.

President of the Jamiat Moulana Syed Mohammed Osman, in his address, expressed deep concern over the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other similar fundamentalist organisations targeting and attacking the minorities in several states and described it as shameful and disastrous for the country.

Earlier, over 1,000 delegates of the conference from Deoband and Delhi reached Hyderabad in a special train 'Shaikhul Hind Express for peace and communal harmony'.

Described as Jamiat's biggest show, the two-day meet will conclude Sunday with a public meeting, where resolutions passed at the meet would be read out.


JUH raises voice against terrorism

Hyderabad (PTI): The 29th national conference of the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind (JUH), that began here on Saturday, has raised its voice against terrorism of any kind and endorsed a fatwa issued by the Darul Uloom Deoband on the stand of Islam towards world peace.

The two-day conference of JUH assumes significance as it is being held at a time when "a sinister campaign is going on in an organized manner to tarnish the image of Islam," according to the clerics attending it.

The JUH asserted that it was for promoting communal harmony in the country and was totally opposed to any form of terrorism.

JUH general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Maulana Mahmood Madani dubbed the so-called terrorists as "mad" people. "They (terrorists) may be of any religion. But we should see them only as mad people," Madani said at the inaugural session of the JUH conference.

"Islam is the religion of peace and security. In its eyes, spreading mischief, rioting, breach of peace, bloodshed and killing of innocent people and plundering in any part of the earth are the most inhuman crimes," the JUH said, endorsing the fatwa issued by the Darul Uloom Deoband.


Ulama endorse fatwa against terror

8 Nov 2008, 2212 hrs IST, TNN

HYDERABAD: Nearly 6,000 Ulama Islamic scholars gathered in the city on Saturday endorsed a fatwa that declares that all forms of terrorism are

against the spirit of Islam. The endorsement termed the Hyderabad declaration came at the 29th general body meeting of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind and would be read out at a public meeting on Sunday evening.

The fatwas had first been issued in May and had been signed by the Grand Mufti of Darul Uloom, Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, Maulana Mufti Habibur Rahman and three other leading scholars. It was made public at a hugely attended meeting in New Delhi in which Jamiat and representatives of almost all schools of though in Islam participated.

Explaining the rationale for ratifying the fatwa, Maulana Mahmood Madani, a leading light of the Jamiat said: "It is a demonstration of the faith the Muslim scholars are reposing in the importance and timeliness of the edict. When these delegates go back to their homes they would take back the signed Hyderabad Declaration that endorses the stand taken by Darul Uloom against terrorism."

Maulana Madani emphatically said that there was nothing called Islamic terrorism. Likewise arrest of a few Hindus can't be dubbed as Hindu terrorism, he said. "Terrorism has no religion. Don't link it to Islam, Hinduism or any other faith. What we demand is dropping of double standards in the investigation of acts of terrorism. Be just with all and take stern action against those who are proved guilty," he said.

"There is some kind of a `junooniath,' (madness) among those indulging in the acts of terrorism. They should be cornered and countered," Madani said.

Intellectual M J Akbar captured the mood of the 6,000 delegates __ who have come from across the country when he told them: “Persons who carry out acts of violence are fasadis, not jihadis. Any Muslim who distorts Jihad is not a Muslim," he said.

At the same time, Akbar exhorted the public at large to not demonise the Muslim community and refrain from terms like Islamic fascism. “We can't blame the entire community for the acts of few," he said adding that “unfortunately Muslims have no leaders but only pleaders."

Representatives from all religions including Sri Sri Ravi Sankar and Swami Agnivesh among others would participate in Sunday's public meeting.