Like father like son
Dr SK Pandey
Can we ever expect the Samajwadi Party Chief Minister of UP to welcome and receive a Hindu Shankaracharya at the airport? No. Certainly not. But we can see him on the airport to welcome and receive the Imam-e-Haram Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali al Ghamidi of Ka’ba, who was on a week’s trip to Lucknow recently. We have not forgotten how fondly Mulayam Singh Yadav loved to be called ‘Mullah Mulayam’ during the Ayodhya Movement.
The Imam was here for about a week, exhorting Muslims to get united, if at all they want to rule over the world. The Imam-e-Haram also urged the Muslims to follow religious teachings in letter and spirit, while keeping pace with the modern education.
The secular-minded people expected Imam-e-Haram Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali al Ghamidi of Ka’ba to make a call for Hindu-Muslim unity and respect for other religions in order to foster peace, co-existence and secularism in the state and in the country. They avoid saying that the verdicts of Koran need not be taken literally, and that the kafirs are not our Hindu brethren, but the Arab idol-worshippers. They also avoid talking about the concept of jihad elaborated in Koran every now and again.
Is it not quite surprising why these Muslim religious leaders are not seen stressing on these aspects during their speeches and religious discourses? Had these supreme Islamic leaders taken up these issues to clarify the doubts, their visits would certainly have paid dividends and consolidated peace and co-existence on our land.
The dinner hosted by the Chief Minister in Imam’s honour was attended by a large number of Muslim clerics and religious leaders and a number of cabinet ministers of UP also.
Muslims of Lucknow and surrounding districts thronged Islamic seminary Nadwatul Uloom for offering Namaz led by Imam-e-Haram Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali al Ghamidi on Friday during the visit of the Imam.
In an hour-long sermon, the cleric praised the seminary and its founders for its rich contribution to Islam. He said that its contributions are known not only in India but also across the world.
The organisers claimed that this was the largest religious congregation in the city in recent years. A similar gathering was witnessed 33 years ago when the then Imam-e-Haram led prayers in the same seminary.
Sheikh Ghamidi also went to the Integral University, an institution run by a Muslim body for interaction with the students and faculty members. He warned the Muslim youths that any modern education should not divert their belief in God, adding that Quran and Hadith (sayings of Prophet Mohammad) could serve as the best guide to any human being. The Imam-e-Haram, as he is called in Arabic, laid the foundation stone of the extension building of Integral Institute of Medical Science and Research on University campus. Later the Imam also led Zohar (afternoon) prayers attended by Muslims in large numbers.
We may recall that after assuming the charge of CM, Akhilesh Yadav asked the UP special task force (STF) and the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) to send their reports regarding the cases against two alleged Harkat-ul-jihad-e-Islami (HUJI) operatives — Tariq Kazmi of Azamgarh and Khalid Mujahid of Jaunpur — who are accused in the 2007 Lucknow and Faizabad court blast cases. He is taking legal advice for withdrawing the cases against them. The Samajwadi Party in its poll manifesto had promised that it would review the cases of terrorism against the Muslim youths.
If cases had been registered against innocent Muslim youths, then SP government would not only release them but also pay compensation, the party had promised. Not only that, action would be taken against the officers who registered fake case to harass youths, the party had promised.
The STF had arrested Tariq Kazmi and Khalid Mujahid from outside Barabanki railway station on December 20, 2007. The cops had seized 1.250 kg RDX, six detonators, three cellphones and two SIM cards from them. Later, the STF had also nabbed Sajjad-urRahman and Akhtar of J-K. The police had said that all the four were accused in the serial blasts in Lucknow and Faizabad district courts on November 23, 2007. Although no person had died in Lucknow, the Faizabad blast had claimed five lives. Both Kazmi and Mujahid are facing trials in Barabanki, Faizabad and Lucknow.
The Samajwadi Party is also working for the surrender of the youths, in the Delhi court, who escaped from Delhi after the Batla House encounter in September, 2008. Ariz Khan and Asadullah Khan of Azamgarh have been on the run for last three years. The family members of the alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists have contacted the Chief Minister for respite of their sons.