Probably for the first time in post-Independence India, a call has gone out to Muslims to congregate with an ‘Islam in Danger’ slogan.
Imarat Shariah (House of Shariah), which is headquartered in Phulwarisharief in Patna, and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) have jointly organized a mega protest titled Deen Bachao, Desh Bachao (Save Religion, Save Country) on April 15 at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan. A number of senior clerics and community leaders are expected to unambiguously vocalise the sentiment that under the BJP government, neither the Muslims’s deen (religion) nor the desh (country) is safe.
Having held a series of marches and demonstrations of burqa-clad women across the country against the triple talaq bill, the Muslim Board has teamed up with the Imarat Shariah to draw up a bigger action plan, clubbing the country’s law and order issue and threats to the Constitution with the perceived danger to Islam. Incidentally, Imarat Shariah was founded in 1921 to guide Muslims on Sharia-related issues in Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.
“We waited for four years, hoping the BJP would learn to run the country while upholding its constitutional obligations. Our personal laws which are part of the Muslim faith are under attack. We are forced to tell the countrymen that, along with the country, Muslims’s religion is also under threat,” said AIMPLB’s general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani.
Rahmani who is also ameer-e-shariat or chief of the Imarat Shariah added that ‘Deen Bachao, Desh Bacho’ meet is a wakeup call, especially for Muslims. “We want to convey the message that if you don’t wake up now, there will not be enough space and opportunity to act later. There are a number of issues on the RSS agenda which this government will try to implement. After the ban on triple talaq will come the Uniform Civil Code and ban on azaan through loudspeakers…They have a long list,” he explained.
To ensure that Muslims turn up in huge numbers, the vast networks of Imarat Shariah, AIMPLB, madrassas and masjids have been used. Most of the attendees—the organisers expect no less than three lakh—will come from different districts of Bihar and Jharkhand and some from Orissa as well. Bihar has been divided into different halqas (regions) under the supervision of a madrassa. “Each madrassa has been tasked to mobilise a crowd from over two dozen villages and each village has hired its own buses. Everyone is paying for their travel and food. Some donations have been sent to Imarat Shariah too to make arrangements in Patna,” said Maulana Muntazir Qasmi of Madrassa Arfia at village Sangram near Jhanjharpur in Madhubani district.
Imarat Shariah’s general secretary Maulana Aneesur Rahman Qasmi denied that any opposition party was backing the massive rally. “Leaders of political parties may come but no politician will speak. This time we will speak and political leaders will listen,” he said.
A Mumbai-based cleric recalled that around three decades ago, then president of the Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind, Maulana Asad Madni, had given a call to Mulk Bachao, Millat Bachao (Save Country, Save Community) rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. “Maulana Madni wanted to save the community and managed to get into Rajya Sabha after the meet. I don’t know if any of the organisers here have hopes of a Rajya Sabha nomination,” said the cleric.