Ummid Assistant

Applications open for Manmohan scholarship at Cambridge

IIM-Trichy to offer short courses too at Chennai centre

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Politics

Bohras won't back Modi: Asghar Ali Engineer

Monday November 26, 2012 03:33:58 PM, Rajat Ghai, IANS

Related Article

Gujarat's Dalits: Nobody's babies even in election time

As the poll battle intensifies in Gujarat, the tussle is on for support of the Dalit community, perceived to have moved from the Congress to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but neglected by both   

We will 'socially engineer' votes away from Modi: Gordhan Zadaphia

Congress, BJP in close contest for tribal votes in Gujarat

BJP's poll poser - how to net Gujarat's Muslim vote

Gujarat Elections: Survey predicts landslide win for BJP

Gujarat elections will not be a cakewalk for Modi: Veteran activist

Modi says BJP will sweep Gujarat elections

New Delhi: He is the liberal face of Indian Islam and the Bohra community. Author and activist Asghar Ali Engineer, who has dedicated his life to studying communalism in India and South Asia, believes that his community (Bohras) will not vote for the BJP in the Gujarat assembly elections in December.

"For too long, the Bohra leadership and the Gujarat government have been in cahoots. And there is a reason for this. The Dai (supreme leader of the Bohras), Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, has high stakes in Gujarat from where he gets crores of rupees as income from Bohra religious and community centres. He cannot do this without political collusion. So, the Bohra leadership keeps Narendra Modi in good humour. Modi in turn uses the Bohras and showcases them before the world to show that Muslims support him, as he knows that ordinary people cannot distinguish between the Ismaili Bohras and the other sects of Islam."

Engineer, who was in the city to attend a seminar, told IANS: "The Bohra leadership usually influences its flock to support the BJP. But this time, hopefully, they should vote against the BJP like other Muslims."

Speaking of the Gujarat elections, what, in Engineer's opinion, would be the outcome of the polls?

"I think Modi will win, but his margin will diminish considerably due to anti-incumbency, opposition from within the BJP, and the revolt by leaders like Keshubhai Patel," says Engineer.

Bohras are a mercantile Muslim community of the subcontinent, mainly found in Gujarat and Mumbai. They are Shia Muslims. The Bohras trace their belief system back to Yemen where they were persecuted due to their differences from mainstream Sunni Islam and Zaidi Shia Islam. This prompted the shift of Dawoodi Bohras to India, especially to Gujarat in the 11th century.

Engineer's struggle against the Bohra leadership is well known. He leads the progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement, which aims to challenge the absolute authority and hegemony of the Dai over the affairs of the Dawoodi Bohras who form the larger subsect among Bohras (the smaller one being the Sulaimanis).

"We are not reforming religion. We want to make the Dai accountable. Also, we want no interference from his office in our secular activities," clarifies Engineer, who has been physically attacked five times by the Dai's supporters for his beliefs.

Does he ever feel hopeless?

"Not at all. My struggle will go on as long as I am alive. Not everyone supports me or opposes me. I feel that the large, silent majority supports us but cannot empathise with us since there is the fear of community ostracisation."

The Bohra community has also become infamous for the medieval practice of female circumcision. "It is very sad but true. Tradition once established becomes impossible to eradicate. This practice of female circumcision goes back to Fatimid Egypt ( 969-1171). The Fatimid Caliphate was also Shia Ismaili and is hence held as a role model for the Bohra community. But nothing in the Koran mandates this practice. Even male circumcision, for that matter, is 'Sunnah' (tradition) but not 'Farz' (duty)," says Engineer.

And what is Engineer's opinion on the tide of rising Wahhabism in many parts of the Muslim world?

"The Wahhabi and Salafi strains of Islam are sectarian, purist and revivalist. They will be a danger to the Muslim world. We want tolerance and pluralism. We want to co-exist with other communities. Wahhabism will not allow all that," he says.



(Rajat Ghai can be contacted at rajat.g@ians.in ) 

 

 




 




 


 

Home | Top of the Page

Comments

Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com

Comments powered by DISQUS

i

I

More Headlines

Majority of 'disappeared persons' in Kashmir innocent: Study

India set to get first Muslim as Inelegance Bureau Chief

Sharjah Islamic Bank to host 6th National Carnival

Paramilitary deployed, Sirsa sealed after clashes

Aftab Ansari seeks political prisoner status

Controversy rages over Thackeray memorial

Taj city student claims making world's biggest envelope

Top British official held over child abuse images

Advantage England as India stagger at 117/7

SC raps Bihar for dragging teachers to courts

Daydream to be like Einstein, Newton: Researchers

 

Top Stories

Parliament disrupted over FDI, cap on subsidised gas cylinders

Proceedings in both houses of parliament were adjourned Monday as the opposition continued to protest for the third successive day the government's  

Differences among UPA alliance partners over FDI persist

Should it be no work, no pay for MPs?

 

  Most Read

India set to get first Muslim as Inelegance Bureau Chief

Ibarhim's appointment as IB chief is coming at a time when accusations against the Indian investigating agencies and police officials are rife that they are arresting "innocent" Muslim youths in terror  

Majority of 'disappeared persons' in Kashmir innocent: Study

The term 'DPs' is used to describe those people who were picked up from their homes or other places in the presence of witnesses, family members or friends, on suspicion of being militants by security forces or by separatists on suspicions of being police informers and were  

 

  News Pick

BJP suspends Ram Jethmalani

The BJP has suspended from party its leader Ram Jethmalani, who had earlier demanded party chief Nitin Gadkari's removal and also spoken against the party's line on the appointment of the new CBI chief, sources said Sunday. 

Paramilitary deployed, Sirsa sealed after clashes

Paramilitary forces were deployed in Sirsa Sunday to help Haryana Police maintain law and order in this Haryana town after violent clashes between followers of Dera Sacha Sauda sect and the Sikh community. The entire Sirsa town, around 300 km from state capital Chandigarh  

16-yr old becomes first Hijab wearing girl to speak in British parliament

Sumaiya Karim, a biology, chemistry, history and maths student, was speaking as the Youth Parliament held its annual session in the lower house's chamber, where  

Zoning of Western Ghats: Catholic Church up in arms over Madhav Gadgil report

The Syro Malabar Catholic Church has termed as a "conspiracy" the Madhav Gadgil-headed Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report which recommends zoning of 75 percent of the Western  

 

Picture of the Day

President Pranab Mukherjee at the National Education Day 2012 function to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, in New Delhi on November 11, 2012.

(Photo: Sanjiv Misra)

 

Recommend the story to your friends

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RSS  |  Contact us

 

| Quick links

News

 

Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant

 

National

Science & Technology

RSS

Scholarships

About us

International

Health

Twitter

Government Schemes

Feedback

Regional

History

Facebook

Education

Register

Politics

Opinion

Newsletter

Contact us

Business

The Funny Side

Education & Career

     

 

 

Ummid.com: Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange

Ummid.com is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.