Terror and predicament of Muslims to figure in Delhi conclave

October 12th, 2008 - 1:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) Top Muslim clerics are expected to be among thousands of religious leaders who will congregate in Delhi Oct 14, a day after the meeting of the National Integration Council, to discuss why elements in the community were being “alienated and targeted” in the fight against terror.”We have asked all leaders of these Muslim organisations who come for this meeting to specifically pinpoint the problems affecting them and why they are being harassed,” said Ahmad Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, who is also convener of this mammoth meeting.

“Today, Muslims are being alienated and targeted in the name of fighting terrorism and society is being communalized and polarized. We just don’t want this feeling to drift. Something has to be done,” said Bukhari.

The last major congregation of Muslim clerics was held in February this year by the Darul-Uloom, a 150-year-old seminary in Deoband where a fatwa condemning terrorism was issued .

This was subsequently reiterated in Delhi in May where about 15,000 Muslims across the country gathered at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi to fight the menace of global terrorism.

The clerics will also be discussing the current Indian political situation and the participation of Muslims in mainstream politics.

“We (Muslims) in the last 60 years have voted and tested different political parties. Our political leaders have kept us in the dark. They have only made electoral promises. Nobody has delivered yet and our youth feels politically marginalised,” Mufti Yasin, a cleric in Deoband, told IANS.

The latest drive by police smashing modules of the shadowy terror group, Indian Mujaheedin, and the arrest of Muslim youths from various parts of the country will also find resonance in the conclave.

“The shootout in Jamia Nagar where two suspected terrorists were gunned down and the subsequent crackdown by authorities in Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Pune will figure prominently in the meeting,” said Maulana Anzar of Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind.

“We will discuss threadbare whether these youths have gone astray and why. Other clerics who come from the cities or towns where these youths have been picked up will enlighten us further.”

Maulana Salman, a teacher in Deoband said the state of Muslims in the country would also figure prominently.

“I do not remember an earlier occasion where Muslims have felt so insecure,” he said.

This is the second time in about four decades that a meeting of this proportion attracting clerics, scholars and religious leaders will take place. A similar meeting took place in Lucknow in 1972.

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