By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
Ahmedabad: Maulana Saiyed Muhammed Rabey Hasani Nadwi, president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Mohtamim Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow was in Ahmedabad for two days on January 23rd and 24th, 2016 to inaugurate three school building of Shama School and to lay foundation of ITI in Vatva area of the city. The Gujarat Sarvajnik Welfare Trust, a Muslim NGO, is brain behind all the projects to uplift education and employment in Muslims, which is run by its Founder-Trustee Afzal Memon. .On the sidelines of these functions, Ahmedabad-based GUJARAT SIYASAT Editor Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, who is also a regular contributor to India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper ‘IndianMuslimObserver.com’, talked to Mr. Nadwi on important issues confronting the Muslim community. Here are excerpts of his freewheeling interview.
Q: The Muslim community, it seems, is not going to take lightly the hints from the central BJP government to withdraw the minority status from Aligarh Muslim University. Modi government is trying to do away minority tag with these institutions. What is your view about these events?
Ans: Government’s attempt to remove the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a clear interference in the constitutional rights given to the minorities. “Aligarh University was not only started by Muslims, they have also made huge sacrifices to keep it running. The university is a symbol of those sacrifices and the government cannot take it away.but it also reflects the shaky commitment of the current dispensation towards the diversity of the Nation.It is part of saffron agenda. It is politically motivated. But we will fight against all odds.
Q: If Modi government continues these efforts and may not change its stand, what will be AIMPLB’s attitude?
Ans: As you know, AIMPLB is always focused on implementing Shariah based laws in the country, so this is a little different issue. it has legal and political parameters, so we will join hands with other Muslim organizations such as JUH, JIH, Mushawarat and Milli Council on this contentious issue to save AMU and Jamia Millia too under common platform.
Q: How do u see the present atmosphere of intolerance and fear among Muslims as communal popularization gets momentum after this new government came to power?
Ans: Yes, the situation is not good, but we are still keeping a close watch on every move of the government. Attempts are being made to make the minorities in the country feel unsafe. We observe all such activities and carefully analyse them. We have very strong constitution. It has given so many rights to Muslims. Secularism is essence of India. Saffron elements have raised their ugly head in the country, but i still hope that Indian Constitution is a cover for all minorities, Dalits and downtrodden people. Polarisation is enemy of progress and prosperity of the nation.
Q: Once again Ram Mandir issue is hotting up in the country as election in Uttar Pradesh Is to take place next year. What is your view about this controversy? BJP leader Subramanium Swamy has gone vicious on this issue?
Ans: The Ram Mandir-Babri Majid case is in the Supreme Court and a stay order is active. We don’t fear the extremist and hate-filled statements being made in this regard as we have full faith in our judiciary. Nobody can snatch justice or pressurize the judiciary. Swamy and other Hindu fringe elements now want to hijack judiciary, but it will not happen.
Q: You are here for educational functions, How do you see educational empowerment of Indian Muslims, particularly in the wake of Sachar Committee recommendations?
Ans: This 21st century is of Knowledge. Quran’s first word is IQRA. In past, Muslims had great knowledge in every sphere, but unfortunately we lost the way. But now once again we are trying to regain lost ground. Our religion gives utmost importance to education and it’s only through education that we can succeed and lead the world towards enlightenment. The people of this era have far greater responsibilities than those before them. “Allah has tasked us with mission of spreading the light of knowledge. Responsibility is given only to those who have the ability to perform it. We have the example of our Prophet from whom we can learn as to how we can spread education.”
Q: There were reports some months ago that a close source of PMO tried to arrange your meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is it correct? What happened then after?
Ans: it is not correct. No initiative was taken from any side. We are watching. At present, AIMPLB has no plan to meet any top leader of the government. Constitution and judiciary are cornerstone of our great country.
[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He regularly contributes to India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper “IndianMuslimObserver.com”. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell 09228746770]