The Bold Voice of J&K

Imam’s ‘extra-territorial loyalty’ may boomerang

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Jammu:  Imam Syed Bukhari would have been within his rights, as he boasts so with expanded chest, to frame invite list for the so-called coronation of his son as Naib Imam Jamia Masjid on 22nd November, had it not been fraught with a mischief to provoke. He has crossed his religious precincts by jumping the demarcation line while inviting a Head of the State of a neighbouring country, which Indians consider as a rogue nation. He assumes a royal grandeur for himself by making a parallel with Prime Minister of 1.25 billion nation, he included. In a contemptuous note, he brags, “Modi claims to be the Prime Minister of 125 crore Indians but conveniently and deliberately avoids addressing Muslims. He has shown he doesn’t like us. He is the one who has been maintaining distance from the community. So, I too chose to maintain my distance.”
In the first instance, what the Imams, or for that matter heads of various religious organisations, think of themselves to call shots from places of worship, which essentially stand for bringing harmony, tranquility and peace in the society. The self-styled Imam has chosen to spread hatred and demonstrate intolerance, which has all the potential to boomerang.
Occupying a religious position, which most of the Muslim scholars and leaders like Assad-ud-Din Owasi and All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board member Kamal Farooqi refute vehemently, the Imam plays a worst type of a politician by resorting to lies. While saying his family has personal relations with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief, who tops the 200 odd guest list, he gets derailed after being grilled for his immature acts, saying the decision not to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been actually taken by a nine-member committee. This has dangerous ramifications. Ordinarily, Imam Bukhari’s contempt for the Prime Minister would have been taken as a sign of his frustration or desperation to make himself politically relevant in the backdrop of open challenge by his own community people to the institution he has been monopolising, but since he brings the nine-member committee into it, the message is clear that the managing committee of Delhi’s Jamia Masjid has consciously decided to provoke a strong segment of population. By holding Narendra Modi responsible for the Gujarat riots, the Imam tends to cast aspersions on the Indian judicial system which has exonerated him of his involvement.
Imam Bukhari has cheeks to say that Nawaz Sharief’s visit to Jamia Masjid may help in normalising relations between India and Pakistan. Does he assume a role of mediator?
The Imam does not stop here. He misses no opportunity to ridicule the Prime Minister by saying that he was willing to relent though and invite Modi if he “makes an open and frank declaration that he will look into injustice done to the community, promise jobs and development and assure that security agencies such as NIA will not be misused against us.” As if the Prime Minister is too anxious to join the coronation of a non-entity as Naib Imam.
By indulging in most irresponsible act, Syed Ahmed Bukhari has done no good to Indian Muslims. He has, in fact, given handle to those who have been questioning the loyalty of certain sections of population and suspecting their loyalty towards Pakistan. Lacking the minimum political sagacity, the Imam tends to ignore growing activism of some Hindu fanatics who are making their presence felt more pronouncedly by whipping up passions. Such elements have fanned across the nation and are getting acceptance by growing population with each passing day. The reactions to Imam’s immature uttering on social networking sites is a pointer of the public opinion framing against those seen as having extra territorial loyalties. It should not be forgotten that Hindu activists are getting inspiration from stalwarts like Veer Savarkar, who had candidly expressed his views on extra-territorial loyality during the 19th session of Hindu Mahasabha in 1937. He is reported to have said, “A Mohammaden is often found to cherish an extra-territorial allegiance, is moved more by events in Palestine than what concerns India as a nation, worries himself more about the well-being of the Arabs than the well- being of his Hindu neighbours and countrymen in India.” (Cited in V. D Savarkar, Samagara Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, Vol 6,  Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, p 287).
At a time when India is passing through a most delicate phase with hardliners changing their political discourse from politics of temples to development, the provocation from people like irresponsible Syed Bukhari will not be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere. Who knows the mischief behind the provocation of Imam Syed Bukhari is to destablise India by sowing the seeds of hatred between different communities. The compatriots better ponder and respond responsibly.

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