India’s maulanas confusing Muslims over elections

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Jumada' al-Akhirah 14, 1435 2014-04-14

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The tragedy of Muslims in India is that they face two enemies: the fascist Hindus that closely follow the Nazi ideology, and their own religious leaders. The maulanas of India are a bunch of opportunists that issue statements to benefit themselves, not the broader Muslim community. Pity the Muslims as the Hindu Nazis of the BJP are poised to come to power in India with elections underway.

Delhi, Crescent-online
Monday April 14, 2014, 16:37 DST

India is holding one of the most divisive and nasty elections in its history. Spread over several weeks, most pundits predict that the Hindu fascist outfit, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win catapulting the Hindu Nazi, Narendra Modi into the prime minister’s chair.

India’s Muslims constitute about 15 percent of the population but they have been poorly led and have thus suffered grievously over the years. Anti-Muslim pogroms are common, often led by the BJP and its fascist allies in the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

In the current election, Muslim leaders, especially from the religious seminaries are causing much confusion. While theoretically, the religious seminaries shun politics but when it is election time, they jump into the fray with their simplistic advice.

Even Hindu writers have noticed the Muslim leaders’ contradictory statements. Sunita Aaron of the Hindustan Times has accused the maulanas of spreading confusion among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh (UP) where the Muslim vote can be decisive. In his analysis on Sunday April 13, Aaron said such confusion would inevitably help the BJP.

The Darul Uloom Deoband, one of the most conservative Muslim religious bodies in India, has added to this confusion through its contradictory fatwas. In 2008, for instance, it issued a statement saying India is a democratic and secular country whose electoral politics can’t be assessed on the basis of Islamic scriptures.

Why not, one wonders. It was basically a cop-out position by the Deoband madrassa. The learned luminaries added: “This method [of assessing India’s politics through Islamic injunctions] would bring nothing except disturbance and confusion.” Really; how would that be? Why can’t they take a clear stand and say whether such politics are permissible or not in Islam?

It went on to add: “However, one should vote for parties and leaders best suited for both Muslims and the country.” Give the maulanas credit for speaking from both sides of their mouths.

The Deobandi maulanas issue fatwas in response to questions posed by simple Muslims. One question was whether one should vote for a criminal politician, there being no shortage of such creatures in India. Another asked whether a Muslim would lose his faith if he voted for the fascist BJP.

Let us also state for the record that the Deobandi maulanas did not boycott last February’s visit to India by the Saudi Crown Prince Salman when a number of other organizations and seminaries rejected an invitation to meet him. Leading the boycott group was the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama based in Lucknow, UP. Its call was quickly joined by a number of other Islamic organizations and parties. They were protesting the Saudis’ declaration of Ikhwan al-Muslimoon as a terrorist organization.

The Deobandis receive large sums of money from Saudi Arabia as bakhsheesh. They are also much closer to the Wahhabi obscurantist ideology than other Islamic groups and seminaries. While other groups have also received money from Saudi Arabia, this may be curtailed now that they took a principled stand in condemning the Saudi decision to put the Ikhwan on their terrorist list.

Some maulanas have called for supporting the Congress Party seeing it as a lesser of the two evils. The Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari is one of them. He has urged voters to support the Congress Party in order to “strengthen secularism.”

Clerics at Lucknow’s Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, another internationally renowned centre of Islamic studies which receives politicians of all hues without rallying behind them, has also resisted voicing partisan opinions about elections.

His brother Syed Yahya Bukhari, however, has described Congress as a “hidden enemy” under whose rule Muslims had to suffer several riots.

At the other end of the spectrum, Shia maulana Kalbe Jawad, who is influential in his own community, declared that a vote for the Congress Party meant “betraying Islam”. Would he suggest Muslims rather vote for the BJP?

There are other so-called maulanas that habitually attend services at Hindu temples. They see nothing wrong in bowing before idols. Not surprisingly, the Indian government has showered them with medals and awards. Some Muslims have dubbed such maulanas as “neem Hindu, neem Muslim” (part Hindu, part Muslim). It is not a bad description!

The BJP’s Modi is a notorious criminal who was deeply involved in the slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 that resulted in the deaths of some 2,000 innocent Muslims. Some were burned alive while Modi prevented the police from protecting or rescuing them.

Modi has also declared that slaughtering animals is against India’s interests. This is a direct attack on Muslims because they consume meat. The Hindus claim to be so non-violent that they do not slaughter animals or eat meat but feel little or no compunction in slaughtering humans.

Should the BJP’s Modi win, Muslims would face even greater oppression than they have hitherto experienced.


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