Muslim activists unite to shake off terror tag
10 Oct 2008, 0000 hrs IST, Mohammed Wajihuddin ,TNN
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MUMBAI: A section of Muslim NGOs and some intellectuals have rolled up sleeves to remove the terror tag increasingly being slapped on the communi
ty. The recent arrest of educated Muslim youths from Pune, Mumbai and other places across the country for allegedly running a terror module has deeply shocked the Muslim intelligentsia and social activists. To find out if the Muslim youth is really getting radicalised, two separate meetings are scheduled in the city on Friday and Saturday.
The talk on Friday, organised by Social Educational Welfare Association (SEWA), at Islam Gymkhana, Marine Lines, will see intellectuals and religious leaders from varied groups debate on ways out of the mess the Muslims find themselves in today.
"It will be a free and frank talk. The mandate is to gauge the feelings of the opinion makers in the community. The entire proceedings will be recorded and passed on to the governments, both in the Centre and the state," said Amin Parekh, general secretary, SEWA, an NGO which works for the educational and cultural advancement of the Muslims. Parekh clarified that the platform has nothing to do with any political party, though some of its office-bearers are also politicians.
Majlis-e-Shoora, another city-based socio-cultural organisation, has planned a day-long seminar at Saboo Siddique College near Nagpada police station on Saturday. Around 500 delegates from across Maharashtra will share their views on the issues of communalism and terrorism.
"It's to address the concern of the community on issues which are affecting them. Many former terror accused who have been let off by the courts will share their experiences. We want to discuss the issue of terrorism and the alleged
involvement of Muslim youth in the anti-national activities threadbare,'' said Farid Ahmed Khan, general secretary, Majlis-e-Shoora. Khan reiterated the resolve of the Muslim intelligentsia to co-operate with the police and intelligence agencies in isolating the "black sheep'' in the community. "This is no longer an isolated issue. This is a grave issue because, in almost every blast across the country, educated Muslim youngsters are accused of being the masterminds. Muslim professionals working in MNCs and other private firms are fearful of the agencies who, they think, are biased. They don't know who will be picked up when on charges of being a terrorist," explained Khan who recently launched a movement to put up sign boards of streets and shops in Urdu in Muslim pockets of Mandanpura and Jogeshwari.
Meanwhile, Urdu newspapers have strongly criticised the police for being biased in handling communal riots in Dhule. "Yeh andar ki baat hai, police Hindutva fasadiyon ke saath hai (This is an internal matter, the cops are with the Hindutva-backed rioters)'' read the headline of Saeed Hameed's news analysis in Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (October 10). In the same piece Hameed asked Muslim leaders to co-operate with only "secular" police officers and boycott the communalised ones.
He alleged that some police officers work to actually implement the agenda of Hindutva's hate brigade. "Muslim leaders and the ulema should now decide what kind of relationship they want to maintain with the police, especially in the backdrop of incidents in Dhule," commented Hameed.