By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,
Moradabad: Hitting hard upon the Deoband school of thought, the All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) has accused Darul Uloom Deoband, the centuries-old seminary, of promoting and encouraging “Islamic extremism” in India.
This was one of the hard hitting statements by AIUMB, a Sufi group, which also demanded from the Union government, reservation for Muslims and madarsa reforms by bringing in Central Madarsa Board during a “Muslim Maha Panchayat” (rally) in Moradabad on October 16.
Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kicchowchwi addressing the conference organized by All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board on 16th Oct 2011 in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh
The rally by the alliance of Sufi groups, is clearly aimed to redefine agenda for Muslims and their politics in India. Its also being seen as coming of age of AIUMB, which was earlier not very exposed to media.
The top leadership of AIUMB alleged that Sufis have been there in India since centuries and Wahabi/Deoband ideology is a creation of only last century, which, with the help of petro-dollar, captured the political spaces meant for Indian Muslims, for instance all the Dargahs, Sufi Shrines, Waqf Boards.
So the priority of Sufi leadership, which claims that 80 percent of Muslims in India belongs to Sufi Sunni sect, is to fight what they call as their “due rights,” asking the government to provide the ownership of Sufi shrines and Waqf Boards which have these Sufi boards under them.
” This is a fight for our due right. We are going to show the government our real strength and ask it to hand us over the Sufi shrines and Waqf boards which wahabis and deobandis have captured,” said Maulana Ashraf Ashraf.
Importantly AIUMB leadership gave a call to its lakhs of followers to beware of terrorists who might try to make in roads among them.
” If somebody tries to reason out with you to support terrorist ideology, you pick up the person and hand him over to police,” said Ashraf while addressing the gathering.
Apparently, the Sufi group which organized a press conference, had seen Urdu media publically boycotting them after accusing them of dividing Muslims.
Deobandi madrasas & radicalization of youths
Speaking at the rally Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kicchowchwi, the General Secretary of AIUMB said, “we clearly want to tell this to everybody that, we won’t allow the Deobandis and Wahabis to grab the Indian soil by terror and violence being fostered through Petro-Dollars.”
“Madarsas, which are being run by Deoband school of thought, are radicalising and poisoning the minds of innocent Muslim boys,” he added.
AIUMB is a Sufi group formed by more than seventy eight Sufi Dargahs, including that of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer and Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi besides several other Sufi shrines across the country.
Wahabi ideology encouraging extremism
The speakers at the Maha Panchayat, categorically said that the terrorism which has affected the entire world, including India, is not Islamic, but is being sponsored and inspired by Wahabi ideology.
Maulana Mahmood Ashraf, president of AIUMB said that the only thing which could be a deterrent to ‘Wahabi terrorism’ is Sufi tradition of Islam.
When asked what was the single biggest harm done to India by the alleged Wahabi ideology, Maulana Asraf said that Wahabism with the aid of Petro-Dollar, has destroyed the secular fabric of India by propagating the worst form of puritanical version of Islam, which considers, Sufism as not only un-Islamic but worst as Shirk (unpardonable sin, comparing Allah with anybody else).
Several representatives of Sufi Dargahs, highlighted the fact that Sufism, which accommodates people from every religion, is much more inclusive than Wahabi Islam which doesn’t provide space for follower of other faiths.
Not only that, the rally was an initiative by the Sufi groups, which claim support of more than 80 percent population of Indian Muslims, in order to reclaim the political influence which the group once had in the country.
The rally which was attended by more than one lakh people, is also being seen as an effort by the Sufi groups to register their presence as a prominent representatives of Muslims, and thereby also as contender for power in various socio-political spheres.
When asked what he thinks of home grown terror, president, AIUMB, said that indeed there was some truth in the Home Minister’s claim of home grown terror in India and Wahabi ideology is responsible for that.
A section of the audience at the conference organized by All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board on 16th Oct 2011 in Moradabad, Uttar PradeshMadrasa Reform
Importantly the AIUMB leaders strongly supported madarsa reforms, demanding from the government to bring the Central Madarsa Board.
“We urgently want madarsa reforms in the country through the Central Madarsa Board,” said Maulana Ashraf.
The important thing to mention here is that AIUMB wants to use the idea of madarsa reforms by the Central Madarsa Board in order to check the Wahabi influence on the madarsa curriculum in the country.
Sufis soft on saffron terror
Interestingly the Sufi groups appeared soft on Hindutva terror. While talking about homegrown terror Maulana Ashraf didn’t use a word about saffron terror groups whose presence and involvement in several terror blasts in the country have been established by government agencies. Rather he went one step ahead and appeared ready to provide Narendra Modi a second chance if he apologizes for the pogrom of 2002.
“Narendra Modi might be acceptable to Muslims if he apologizes for the communal riot,” said Maulana Ashraf, the General Secretary of AIUMB.
In the context of coming UP elections, when asked about their political ambitions, the AIUMB leaders clearly didn’t want to limit their bargaining powers by openly showing their political cards, saying that at this stage their priority was to show their strength first.
On the issues of reservation for Muslims, AIUMB demanded for proportional reservation to the members of the community. It also asked the Congress led UPA II to implement the recommendations of Sachar and Ranganath Mishra Reports.
When this correspondent talked to the common Muslims who had come from different parts of Western Uttar Pradesh to attend the rally, they seem convinced that AIUMB will successfully change the current state of affairs.
“We will vote for whatever party they ask us to,” said a group of youngsters.