New Delhi: Enough is enough, the Muslim community has started saying it finally. Discredited by the actions of fundamentalist hotheads elsewhere in the world, sections of it have decided to fight back. Even as the al-Qaeda chief Zayman al Zawahiri announced the formation of the outfit’s Indian wing — Jamaat Qaidat al-jihad fi’shibhi al-qarrat al-Hindiya — to ‘save’ Muslims in the country, followers of Islam have decided to organise a mass rally on 6 September to condemn Islamic terrorism.
Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad Naqvi, a prominent Shia Muslim cleric and scholar, and also a senior member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, has given a call for a mass rally against Islamic terrorism and the heinous acts of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or now Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. The intent is to give an image makeover to Muslims across the world, which the leader feels has got tarnished and maligned due to terror activities by Islamic extremists in the name of ‘Jihad’ in Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, including India
However, much before the rally at Imambada in Lucknow takes place, which is expected to witness a gathering of 2-3 lakh people from across the country, the organisers are allegedly facing threats from a particular Muslim sect and the local administration.
“On the one hand, Al-Qaeda has announced to open its branch in India and intensify its terror activities, while on the other leaders of a particular Muslim sect in UP have warned that they won’t let our rally to take place successfully. We’re told that the local administration has said it would stop the buses carrying participants from reaching our rally,” alleged Syed Kalbe Jawad Naqvi while speaking to Firstpost.
“These ISIS or al-Qaeda terrorists identify themselves as Muslims and claim to be followers of Islam, but their actions are just opposite to the tenets of Islam. Islam never advocates killing of innocents without any cause. Rather it says if you save a life, you save Islam,” said Naqvi, a revered figure amongst the Shiites.
The announcement made by the al-Qaeda has not only raised concerns for the country’s internal security, it has also put the Indian Muslims in an embarrassing situation. Moreover, the alleged warnings from a particular sect to destabilise the rally-cum-conference on 6 September has caused anger among the organisers.
“This announcement by al-Qaeda will encourage terrorism in India, and attract many youth to join the outfit, like some youngsters who left India to join the IS in Iraq. Moreover, a Muslim sect’s opposition and the local administration’s non-cooperating stance indirectly show that they support terrorism,” Naqvi further alleged.
“The rally is not limited to Shias; it’ll be attended by about 1000 Sunni, Hindu, Sikh and Christian religious leaders from across the country. We’re expecting a gathering of nearly three to four lakh people,” said Aslam Ali, representing Majlise Ulma-e-Hind. “The aim of the rally is to strongly condemn Islamic terrorism in every country in the name of Jihad, including in India, which is bringing a bad name to Islam, and will eventually see Muslims getting ostracised in every country,” he added. To keep the rally non-controversial, the organisers have made it clear it’s not against any individual, political party or nation but against growing global terrorism.
“It’s a good move by Muslim brethren and they have solicited participation of all the religions to condemn Islamic terrorism, which is becoming monstrous,” said Lucknow-based Inder Singh Ahluwalia, a member of UP Sikh Samaj, an association of Sikhs.