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‘Muslims increasingly under pressure’, Jamiat factions look to reunite

One of the largest bodies representing Indian Muslims, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind split in 2008 over a leadership divide.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi |
June 24, 2022 3:55:30 pm
Last month, the Mahmood Madani faction extended an invitation to Arshad Madani to attend its annual general body meeting in Deoband on May 28. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal/File)

Fourteen years after the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) split, the two factions of the influential Muslim religious organisation led by Deobandi clerics are working towards a merger.

The split happened in 2008 after members of its working committee objected to the way its president at the time Maulana Arshad Madani conducted the organisation’s operations. Arshad Madani had succeeded his brother Maulana Asad Madani, who had run the organisation for 41 years. The organisational trouble resulted in Arshad Madani forming his separate Jamiat organisation, calling it by the same name. Meanwhile, Asad Mandani’s son Maulana Mahmood Madani subsequently took the reins of the other faction of the JUH, first as its general secretary and later as its president.

But now, keeping in mind the growing intolerance against Muslims, the rival factions are working towards uniting to strengthen the organisation. The Jamiat is one of the largest Muslim bodies in India and claims to have 1.5 crore followers and members.

“The split took place because, at the time, the president’s functioning was not acceptable to the organisation. There had been objections made by members of the working committee. It was purely an organisational matter and not an ideological one,” said a source.

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Last month, the Mahmood Madani faction extended an invitation to Arshad Madani to attend its annual general body meeting in Deoband on May 28. The meeting was attended by 2,000 members from across the country. Sources said the objective behind the invitation was to see if there was any way that the organisation could be united and strengthened. The JUH plans to launch a massive campaign across India, with thousands of “Sadbhavna Sansads”.

“For this, the JUH plans to call leaders from other religious communities as well as non-religious leaders and thinkers. But if they call people from other communities, our community needs to be united and strengthened first. There should not be any rupture here,” said a source.

Arshad Madani said he received a roaring reception at the meeting. “When I spoke at the meeting, I had said that in the near future, there will come a day, when this Maidan will house all members from both factions unitedly. This statement received a tremendous welcome from the members. So, we felt, that the merger can happen. We held our working committee meeting on Saturday (June 18) and passed a resolution in favour of a merger,’’ he said.

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Arshad Madani said increasing Islamophobia in the country made it imperative for the factions to come together and “fight discrimination against Muslims, together”.

He went on to add, “The Jamiat has an over 100-year-old history. At a time when Partition was happening, and a section of Muslims propounded the idea that Hindus and Muslims could not live together, we remained. Our logic was that the two communities had lived together for thousands of years, so what was the reasoning behind a separate nation for Muslims? Today, a similar theory is being propounded by a section of Hindus who are spreading division and hatred. And this communal stance is being fostered by the present government. At this juncture, the Jamiat needs to come together so our voice can be stronger.”

In its resolution, the JUH pointed to the “anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic propaganda in the country’’.

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It read, “Nowadays hatred and religious bigotry has cast a shadow in our country. In the name of clothing, food, faith, festival or language and economy etc Indians are pitted against their own countrymen. Instead of engaging youths in constructive work, they are being used as a tool to wreak havoc in the country. And the most unfortunate part of this sad saga is that the government of the day is patronising these destructive activities. It has left no stone unturned in poisoning the minds and hearts of the members of the majority Community … India is our country. We are born and brought up in this country. Our forefathers have not only made this country strong and stable, but also sacrificed their lives for its security and survival etc. Therefore, we cannot condone injustice and discrimination against Muslims or any other class or community of the country.”

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First published on: 24-06-2022 at 03:55:30 pm

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