Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wanted: Leaders for the Muslim community

[Loud thinking: Today's India is without Sait Saheb, Salahuddin Owaisi, Ali Miyan & G M Banatwala -- Syed Shahbuddin, and others: invisible!!!] And I am reading this national scenario:

Wanted: Leaders for the Muslim community
Mumbai, October 02, 2008

CVs are awaited for vacancies not filled for years: the Muslim community is looking for leaders.
India’s 15 crore Muslims, the country’s second largest religious community, are in the midst of its worst social churning since independence. Muslims are repeatedly being blamed for terror attacks and fingers being pointed at the larger community for acts blamed on a few Muslims.
But there is no one to lead it, and the aspirants are squabbling among themselves. The community is frustrated — and angry.

“There won’t be Muslim leadership in the country for another 50 years. Don’t we have the Muslim League? It struggles to win one MP seat in Kerala,” said Arshad Siddiqui, founder president of Mumbai’s Crescent Society of India.

Many Muslims are frustrated and angst-ridden, feeling the vacuum of a strong leadership that could defend the community against stereotyping and urge introspection and dialogue within.

A question posted on the website of Darul Uloom Deoband, a leading institution of Islamic learning, reflects the predicament of the community.

“What does the holy Quran say regarding the terrorists who in the name of Islam are spreading terror and killing innocent people and also waging a war against our own country?” the questioner asked.

“How should they be treated? What should the general Muslims do if they have any information of such kind of people?” the query said.

Institutions like the Darul Uloom frequently issue fatwas on various issues, and although they are respected as centres of learning, the edicts are almost never followed by Muslims at large.

So, it was left to students of the Jamia Millia University last week, for example, to protest the vilification of the university and the neighbourhood after the September 13 blasts in Delhi.
When politicians have tried in the past to lead the community, they have failed.
In Uttar Pradesh, with the influence of one-time Muslim favourite Mulayam Singh Yadav weakening, several clerics tried to form a political party. They were propelled into action by the success of the similarly organised Assam United Democratic Front, which won 10 of the 126 seats in state elections two years ago.

But the UDF formed by Maulana Ahmad Bukhari, the chief priest of the Jama Masjid in Delhi, and Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad collapsed much before it could test political waters in Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier the Momin conference, the Muslim League in Kerala and All-India Muslim Forum have also tried, but failed, to garner political support for the community.
Bukhari has made a new effort: on October 14, representatives from 100-odd Muslim organisations will discuss “Terrorism and Islam”.
“As of now we are hunting for a Muslim leader who could keep the interest of the community above his personal or political interests," Bukhari told the Hindustan Times.
“It’s a vicious circle. Till we remain a fragmented community, political empowerment will remain a distant dream. And until we grab political power, the silent minority will continue to suffer,” said Bukhari.

But many others leaders of Islamic opinion — like the Darul Uloom in Deoband — refuse to discuss the link between Islam and terror.

“Instead of diagnosing the disease and treating it, the government has wrongly given it a name of Islamic terrorism,” said Adil Siddiqui, the spokesman for the Deoband seminary.

Where politicians and social activists have failed, social groups are stepping in.
The World Islamic Network of Mumbai has since the 2006 Mumbai blasts conducted large-scale public campaigns to fight stereotypes on Islam and terrorism. The Crescent Society, which has 40,000 members, has planned similar meetings with other communities in November.

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan, a women’s group with 10,000 members, is campaigning extensively to bring together Dalits and Muslim women across the country.

The group says it has politically groomed women to contest various levels of polls in Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.