January 14, 2007 12:08:13 am
The Madhya Pradesh government’s proposed en mass Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) programme on January 25 caused quite a flutter in the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board’s Chennai meeting when some members suggested that Muslims should send their children to schools and colleges but ask them to abstain from any activity.
But a large majority of the 250-odd members who attended the three-day session of the board felt that such a gesture would create animosity between Muslim students and teachers as also other students, Maulana Mehmood Madni, general secretary of Jamiat-e-Ulma Hind, told The Indian Express over phone on Saturday.
The board, instead, passed a resolution requesting the BJP government to cancel the programme. If that doesn’t happen, Muslims should not send their children to schools and colleges on January 25, read the resolution passed on Friday.
Minorities enjoy freedom of religion, and by extension, they can’t be forced to take part in activities not permitted by their religion. Islam does not permit its followers to bow before anyone but Allah, the resolution said. Madni said the board would write to the state government to convey the resolution passed at the end of the 19th session.
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The state government had recently announced that it would come out with its Yoga Policy on January 25 when Surya Namaskar sessions would be organised in educational institutions and all district headquarters. When Muslim organisations opposed it the government clarified that participation was not compulsory for students.
In Bhopal, MP Congress Committee’s minority department said by making participation voluntary, the government was asking Muslim students not to come to schools and colleges on that day and in a way creating a rift between them and other students. A few Muslim organisations have already called on the Governor and sought his intervention in the matter.
“Why should any state government organise programmes suited to a particular religion,’’ department chairman Haji Mohd Haroon said and requested the government to cancel the programme. He said the minority community was not against Yoga but Surya Namaskar because it amounts to worshipping the sun. “It seems the government does not want Muslims to join the mainstream and benefit from Yoga,’’ he said. Why does the government want to organise it only in the morning and not at other time of the day, he asked.
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