[Protest rallies were organised in differnet parts of India after Kamlesh Tewari's blasphemous comment. During one such protest gathering at Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal. (PTI File)]
Mumbai: Eminent Muslim citizens on Thursday came out strongly against the violence that marred the protest rally called in West Bengal’s Malda district to denounce the blasphemous comments made by self-proclaimed Hindu Mahasbha leader Kamlesh Tiwari, terming the incident as insane and against the spirit of Islam.
“Any protest has to be absolutely non-violent. People resorting to any form of violence, even on a legitimate issue, are enemies of Islam”, Zafar Sareshwala, Chancellor of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) said in a conversation with ummid.com.
“By doing so, they are disregarding the very spirit of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Holy Quran which says “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is ‘Rehmat’ for the humanity”, he added.
While urging the Muslim community to maintain peace and restraint, Aleem Faizee, chairman of Noble Education & Welfare Society (NEWS) and convener of Citizens for Development and Peace (CDP) said Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the most respected and revered personality for every Muslim but what happened in Malda cannot be justified.
“Violence for any reason is condemnable. But, resorting to violence in the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who is known for his kindness and forgiveness, deserve strongest denunciation”, he said.
“Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested immediately after the protests in Deoband and other neighboring cities and towns. NASA is also slapped on him as demanded by some Muslim leaders. What is the logic behind organizing protest one month after his arrest?” he asked.
Aleem Faizee also called upon the Muslim leaders to ponder the circumstances under which Tewair had made the blasphemous comments and urged them to denounce the people who indulge in politics of hate to gain political mileage.
“Nothing can justify the blasphemous comments made by Kamlesh Tiwari. But, we should not forget that he made the comments in response to Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan’s provocation. This is why it is forbidden in Islam to abuse and disrespect leaders and personalities revered by other communities and religions”, he said.
“Doesn’t it necessary for us to deplore such leaders who for the sake of political benefits are providing fodder to anti-Muslim forces?” he asked.
Zafarul Islam Khan, Editor of The Milli Gazette, while condemning Kamlesh Tiwari’s blasphemous comments against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) expressed satisfaction over the action taken against him.
“While we unreservedly condemn Kamlesh Tiwari’s unprintable abuses hurled at one of the most revered personalities of history, we are satisfied that appropriate action is taken against him soon enough and, in good measure, NSA too is slapped on him”, he said in a published statement.
“Hence”, he added, “It is not appropriate to continue to agitate and demand for his hanging which is not possible under the Indian laws.”
“Muslims have made their point and forced the authorities to listen to them. Now we should move on and attend to more serious concerns to secure our rights and rightful place in the country”, he added.
Echoing similar views and refusing to support demand for death penalty, Shabnam Hashmi, renowned activist and chairperson of ANHAD, condemned the Malda violence and said there are laws in the country against hate speech and Kamlesh Tiwari has been booked and arrested under the applicable law.
“I wish the Muslim community shows the same unity when other issues of Muslims, both within and outside the community, are concerned”, she added.
More than 2.5 lakh people participated in the rally, called to protest the blasphemous comments made against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) by Kamlesh Tiwari, in West Bengal's Muslim dominated Malda district on Sunday.
The protest rally organised by local Muslim organisations in Malda was part of the countrywide rallies held in different parts of India since December 03, 2015 starting with the one called by the students of Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh.
However, unlike the peaceful rallies held in other parts of the country, violence broke out in Malda after the unruly crowd indulged in arson setting on fire at least two dozen police vehicles, including one belonging to India’s border-guarding agency Border Security Force (BSF).
Besides 10 Muslims, the police have also arrested local BJP MLA.
Interestingly, ummid.com tried to contact many leading Muslim organisations and community leaders after the protest rally in West Bengal’s Malda district took an ugly turn on Sunday. But, the organization and leaders, always quick in their response on every minor and major thing, declined to comment on the volatile situation.
Some of them even feared that talking on a ‘sensitive’ issue may invite trouble for them.