Manya Gugliani,TNN | Nov 27, 2011, 02.06 AM IST BAREILLY: The All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), a leading body of Sunni Sufi Muslim
Manya Gugliani,TNN | Nov 27, 2011, 02.06 AM IST
BAREILLY: The All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), a leading body of Sunni Sufi Muslims, urged Sunni Muslims to reject and rebuff hardline Wahabism so that Islam could return to its tolerant Sufi roots.
Speaking at a 2.5 lakh-strong gathering of Sunni Sufi Muslims on the Islamia Inter College grounds here on Saturday, AIUMB general secretary Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhouchhwi urged the government to “immediately pass legislation to set up a Central Madrassa Board so that their funding could be audited with a watch on the flow of Saudi petro dollars into madrassa education in India”.
The Maulana remarked: “The government listens only to the hardliners. It has handed over the wakf properties and madrassas, which belong to us, to these elements. The time has come for us to come out and claim our rights. Let us take a pledge that we will never support Wahabi extremism — not today, not tomorrow. Let us take a pledge that we will work for the unity and integrity of our motherland.”
The conference, coming close after the success of October 16 Moradabad Maha Panchayat, a rally of Muslims organised by the AIUMB, was attended by several prominent ulemas and mashaikhs belonging to the Sunni community. AIUMB claims to represent 80% of Sunni Muslims, thus accounting for the largest share of Indian Muslims.
Strongly condemning terrorism, the Maulana said, “According to Holy Quran, if you’ve killed one innocent person, then you have killed the whole of humanity.” He added, “As a resolution, our board has made a few demands and expect that the Central and the state governments would sincerely undertake all the necessary steps to fulfill the legitimate and rightful demands of Sunni Sufi community.”
“We’ve also sent a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, minister of home affairs P Chidambaram, minister of external affairs SM Krishna, vice-chairman of Planning Commission M S Ahluwalia, minister of law and minority affairs Salman Khurshid, minister of social justice and empowerment Mukul Vasnik, UP governor B L Joshi, UP chief minister Mayawati and Bareilly DM Subhash Chand Sharma,” he added.
Board secretary and convenor of the rally from Lucknow Syed Babar Ashraf also made a strong pitch for the Madrassa Board and memorandum and said: “Right now the madrassas are under the control of Wahabi-inspired organizations which run on Saudi money. The ideology they teach and spread is hardline Wahabism. These organizations have put pressure on the government not to enact the law. We want the funds to go to the really needy and poor.”
Maulana Ansar Raza of Delhi laid emphasis on the unity of Muslims to get their due rights. Many other speakers also emphasized the essentially inclusive nature of Sufism which did not differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims and allowed all communities to pray in their shrines.
In the memorandum, the AIUMB demanded 10% reservation for Muslims in jobs along with political reservation to ensure their due representation. Similarly, allocation of land for educational purpose to Muslim educational societies on a very subsidized rate/free of cost for establishing quality educational institutions with scholarships/stipends, passing of Central Madarssa Board Bill and Communal Violence Bill, etc., were some of the other demands.