Muslim clerics support Vande Mataram fatwa, BJP calls it ‘anti-national’ (Lead)

November 3rd, 2009 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Deoband/Lucknow, Nov 3 (IANS) The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind Tuesday supported a decree against the national song “Vande Mataram” on the grounds that some of its lines were “against the religious principles of Islam”. The move drew fierce criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which termed the move “anti-national”.
The resolution asking Muslims not to sing the national song was passed at the national convention of the Jamiat, one of the largest groups of Muslim clerics in India, held at Darul Uloom Deoband, one the largest Muslim seminaries in South Asia, about 150 km from the national capital.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram was present at the convention, which was also attended by some Hindu priests.

Muslim clerics had issued the fatwa, or decree, against the song in 2006. They contended that “Vande Mataram” means “Mother (India), I bow to thee!”.

Terming the decree against the singing of the national song as “anti-national”, the BJP said Islamic organisations should desist from issuing such fatwas that are against the nation’s interest.

“We oppose the fatwa and will not tolerate such religious decrees at any cost. They are against our national values,” BJP national general secretary Kalraj Mishra told reporters at a press conference in Lucknow.

“As such fatwas stand against national integrity, we all should stand united against them,” he added.

The BJP also strongly criticised the Congress ministers for participating in such a convention where the fatwa against the national song was issued.

“Participation of Congress ministers like Home Minister P. Chidambaram is unfortunate. It clearly reflects approach of the Congress party that it doesn’t mind compromising with anti-national organisations just to appease the minority community,” said the BJP’s state unit president Ramapati Ram Tripathi.

“Interestingly, the Congress leaders are singing the national song since 1896 and had even organised a programme in 2006 on its 100th anniversary, but now it’s truly shocking and surprising as they themselves are supporting anti-national organisations that are against Vande Matram,” he added.

However, Muslim clerics were firm on their stand.

“Some of its lines are of course against the religious principles of Islam. We cannot bow before anybody other than the Allah. It is un-Islamic,” Moulana Muizuddin of the Jamiat said.

“Islam teaches us to worship only one god, Allah. We are Indians and there are other ways to express our feelings for the nation rather than bowing before it. Loving your country doesn’t only mean worshipping it,” Muizuddin told IANS.

“We love our mothers. Islam doesn’t even permit bowing before mother. We love the Prophet but we cannot even bow before him.”

Maulana Salman, who teaches at the Deoband seminary, said: “We are true Muslims and true Indians. There is no doubt about that. But we no longer remain Muslims when we offer our prayers to anybody else than the Allah. Patriotism is not only about singing songs. We are and will remain Indians without singing Vande Mataram.”

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