Among the pamphlets and bills stuck on the building of Harun Mukati Islamic Centre (HMIC) in Aurangabad, some say: ‘ISIS se bachchon ko bachaiye, Lashkar-e-Toiba se bachhon ko bachaiye’ (save your children from ISIS, save your children from Lashkar-e-Toiba).
Others declare ‘jihaad against terrorism’.
Among the several initiatives this social organisation has taken up, one of them is to raise awareness among Muslim youths and their families to guard against extremist groups.
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Yusuf Mukati, who founded the organisation in the name of his father over a year ago, said, “The issue of terrorism has been haunting the nation. These days, every incident is given a Hindu-Muslim twist. Muslim youngsters are being misguided by extremist organisations. Many a times, they get carried away and join such groups. In a recent case nearly two months ago in Aurangabad, a youngster was caught by the police for being involved with the Islamic State. That’s why we felt the need to raise awareness about the issue, especially in the Muslim community.”
Around two weeks ago, HMIC organised a lecture on the topic ‘Fight against Terrorism’, which saw participation from six maulanas – three from sunni community and three from tablighi community, and an ATS official. Nearly 1,500 people attended the event, where the maulanas interacted with youngsters.
“They briefed them on how Islam does not preach bloodshed and terrorism; the prophet propagates the message of peace and love. They stressed that enemy countries, especially Pakistan, are spreading falsehoods about the Muslim community, such as their diminishing population and how we are unsafe in India. The maulanas told the youngsters that they should not believe such things and go astray. Besides, they should also stay alert on social media, which is widely being used to trap Muslim youngsters with vulnerable minds. The youth were advised against posting hurtful comments related to sensitive issues on social media,” said Mukati. He added that through posters, the organisation is also asking people to be careful while renting out their houses and to keep the police in the loop.
HMIC runs various skill development programmes for girls, where they learn stitching, computer operations, yoga, mehendi, aerobics, calligraphy etc free of cost. “The teachers at the Centre ask the girls to keep a watch on the men in their house, especially young brothers, and see that they do not fall prey to any terrorist group,” said Mukati.
Chai Pe Shaadi
In a spin-off of the PM’s ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ strategy, HMIC has begun ‘Chai Pe Shaadi’, an initiative seeking to render a social service. It reaches out to financially weak Muslims and helps them organise weddings by offering free-of-cost venues, services of a kaazi (priest) and tea for the guests. The initiative was started nearly two months ago and so far, seven weddings have take place. “Often, the financially weak have to approach money lenders and borrow money on a high interest to organise a wedding. We want to help them. Apart from arranging the venue and a kaazi for them, we also provide tea for nearly 800 people, free-of-cost,” said Mukati.