THE Friday sermon at Sunni Jama Masjid in Mumbra mentioned “the problem of ISIS”, for the first time from the pulpits, and how it was tarnishing the image of Islam. The pronouncement was eagerly awaited with everyone walking to the mosque to hear the cleric in his first Friday religious sermon after the arrest of Mudabbir Shaikh, who is from Mumbra, on January 22 on charges of links with ISIS.
The sermon was followed by a rally, “March against Terrorism”, organised by the Maharashtra Muslim Front — with help from Thane ATS — to ensure that “the arrest of one person does not sully the image of Mumbra.”
“Yeh ISIS namak cheez hamara naam kharab kar rahen hain. Thode din pehle ek arrest hua tha. Log gumrah ho rahein hain,” (ISIS is spoiling our name. A few days back there was an arrest from our area. People are being misled by ISIS), Kari Ataullah Saheb, leading the Friday prayers at the mosque for the past 15 years, said during the 20 minute sermon. He added, “Why don’t you go back to what the Prophet said. He kept emphasising it is the duty of every Muslim to live peacefully with other communities. He said even if you have to give your life to protect the country where you stay you shouldn’t flinch. Still people are getting brainwashed by these terrorists.”
Soon after the sermon, “March against Terrorism” rally was led by Maulana Syed Moinuddin Ashraf, popular as Moin Miya, from Sunni Jama Masjid located opposite Mumbra railway station to the Mumbra police station. The rally had several students from madrassas carrying anti-ISIS placards. At several streetlight poles, posters of “We hate ISIS” were put up. Before the rally began, amid chants of “ISIS murdabad” and “Hindustan zindabad”, Moin Miyan, addressing the gathered crowd said.
“We have always been against terrorism, be it Al Qaeda and its affiliates earlier or ISIS. Till Qayamat (day of judgement) we will keep opposing terrorism.”
Talking to The Indian Express later, Kari Ataullah Saheb said that while they have prayed for the youth to be guided away from ISIS, this was the first time he mentioned it at the sermon during Friday prayers. “After someone was whisked away from Mumbra on the charge of being linked to ISIS, it set alarm bells ringing,” the 58-year-old said. When asked if the police contacted them as part of their deradicalisation plan that includes getting religious heads to talk to youngsters, Kari said they were doing this on their own and no one had contacted them.
“Ek kharab machchi poore talab ko bura naam de sakti hain. Par sab machichiyon ko bigad nahin sakti,” (one rotten fish can give bad name to the entire pond. But it cannot spoil all other fishes), he says in context of Mumbra being associated with crime — a tag acquired over time it is fighting to get rid of — and how Mudabbir’s arrest has again named Mumbra for all the wrong reasons. “Waqt lagega thoda,” (It will take time for clean stain of the terror charge), he adds.
Talking about radicalisation in the name of religion, he says if you live by religion, you cannot be misguided. No religion can sanction it (violence).
Also parents should take care of their children. “I don’t know a lot about the internet but I hear that is being used to misguide youngsters. We will continue our fight from the pulpits,” he said.