A few days after media report that Muslim clerics ‘unanimously’ supported the demand for a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI) at an interfaith conference organised on Saturday by the All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council (AISSC) which was attended by NSA Ajit Doval, one of the leading clerics who attended that conference has executed a neat U-turn.
Maulana Syed Salman Husaini Nadwi – president of Jamiat Shabab-il-Islam and former Dean at the famous Islamic seminary Nadwatul Ulema at Lucknow, a premier institution of Islamic teaching ranking in the same class as Darul Uloom, Deoband – has now stated that he “wasn’t aware” about the conference resolution demanding a ban on PFI. Some years back, this same senior cleric had praised IS (Islamic State) chief Abu Bakr Baghdadi.
Sharing the video of Nadwi’s latest statement, counter-extremist Saudi-based Indian columnist Zahack Tanvir tweeted, “As expected #SalmanNadwi flips his opinion about #PFI, and compares it with #RSS. He says that he wasn’t aware about the demand for banning the org. beforehand. He also says that banning PFI isn’t a good idea. These #MuslimBrotherhood preachers are experts in changing colors.“
In the video, Nadwi says in chaste Urdu, “It is the work of every individual and organization that believes in Islam to unite the millat and ummat (Muslim community), to generate amity in the ummat using the foundation of the kalma (Islamic oath of allegiance) ‘la ilaha illallah muhammadur rasulullah’ (There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger). It is for this mission that I had taken part (in the conference). I did not know that any resolution on PFI was going to be passed. As far as I was concerned, I gave my statement which went viral.
“No resolution about banning PFI was shown to me. No signatures were taken, nothing like this brought in front of us. Many journalists interviewed me and asked what I thought of PFI. I told them that PFI is an organization which is working..if any member has done something illegal of which there is proof, then due action should be taken against those individuals based on existing laws and without any oppression.
“There are no grounds to ban the entire jamaat (group/organization). Whether it is Jamaat-e-Islami, Tablighi Jamaat, RSS and its shakhas, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad…if any members of these organizations do any atrocity, or say unlawful things, then should we demand that they should be banned, that RSS or VHP should be banned? Such demands are not right, because these organizations do good work too. If some members commit a mistake, the entire group should not be blamed for it. The same applies to PFI. It has lot of constructive goals – in fields of education, society, relief.”
After Saturday’s “inter-faith” conference, Nadwi was quoted as saying, “Islam stresses ‘religious tolerance’…there is no space for hate and agitation against any religion in India.” He called for steps against any misuse of social media to ‘promote hatred’.
Many believe that the conference was organized as a fire-fighting exercise by Islamic leaders after a wave of killings and attacks targeting Hindus over Nupur Sharma’s comments that were twisted by Md. Zubair had rocked the country.
“Some elements are trying to create an atmosphere that’s vitiating the progress of India. They’re creating acrimony and conflict in the name of religion and ideology, it’s affecting the entire country while spilling over outside the country too,” NSA Doval stated at the conference.
Apart from demanding a ban on PFI, the resolution passed at the conference also asked government to act against social media platforms being used for ‘promoting hatred against religions and its followers’, and condemned targeting any God/ goddesses / prophets in discussions/ debates by anyone.
AISSC Chairman Syed Naseruddin Chishty said, “There is a need to rein in and ban radical organisations. They should be banned if there is evidence against them.” Incidentally, as many as 45 religious leaders representing various faiths are said to have attended the meeting but no quotes from non-Muslim leaders have emerged as yet in media.
Support for IS and brazen anti-Hindu bigotry of this mainstream maulana
Many are in shock that Nadwi, a man who in 2014 had congratulated IS (Islamic State) founder Abu Bakr Baghdadi on being appointed as the caliph of Muslims and prayed for his well being and safety, was even invited to this conference attended by NSA Doval.
In an open letter written to Baghdadi, Maulana Nadwi showered praises on his ‘valour’ and religious zeal and addressed Baghdadi as ‘Ameerul Momineen’ (supreme leader of Islamic community), praising him for establishing the much desired Islamic Caliphate.
As the website newageislam.com had reported back then,
But Maulana Salman Nadwi’s brazen support to the ISIS is a reflection of a sharp turnaround in the attitude and approach of madrasa circle in India towards the ISIS and other militant outfits. In his letter, he says, “All the groups should be seen on one platform.” It may mean that Al Nusrah, Al Qaida, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabab etc should come on one platform. It will be okay for him and he does not see all these organisations as terrorist organisations, rather organisations that are fighting to achieve one goal: Islamic Caliphate. This attitude is dangerous.
But support for IS aside, there is something which should worry every Hindu and sensible citizen even more. It is the fact that such senior maulanas are allowed to occupy an esteemed position in society and are treated with respect by our secular state, while they indoctrinate the Muslim mind with venom against Hindus.
Here is a sample of the ‘religious tolerance’ which Nadwi preaches, and mainstream Muslim ‘secular’ outlets like Hyderabad-based siasat.com carry such views without batting an eyelid –
“Maulana Syed Salman Nadwi urges Muslims to teach everyone the meaning of ‘La ilaha illallah’. He says Vedas also talk about ‘Ishwar’ the one God. He maintains that if the pandits call for worshiping idols and other creators they are disrespecting their own religion. Islam is not limited to Muslims alone it is a universal religion, he claims. He further lamented that communal elements are destructive for the society. Maulana Nadwi says, Muslims have responsibility to call fellow citizens towards worship of one God and shun polytheism. He urges Muslims to spread the message of Islam to their fellow citizens saying to get acquainted with the truth is as essential to a humanbeing as they need air and water to survive.”
Actually, the above is a watered-down version of the maulana’s rant against Hindu Dharma. The You Tube video (archived here) titled ‘Kalme haq har ghar tak phonchega’ (the kalma shall reach every house) of Maulana Nadwi’s address shows him going into a sort of closed-eye trance as he brands pandits as ‘criminals’ who are making people stray from the ‘original’ Vedic Dharma and making them pray to ‘idols’ who represent ‘humans’ and ‘djinns’ (spirits in Arabic, often considered evil). He calls them ‘hidden enemies’, who are likely in cahoots with CIA and Mossad to harm the country.
He then repeats the Islamic exclusivist monotheist creed that Allah alone is God, Muhammad was his last messenger, the Quran is his last word…and this is a message for ‘all of humanity’. He then calls on the Rajasthan CM, police and all officials to pray to that one Ishwar, to submit before him. He exhorts every Muslim to proselytize this monotheist message to every Hindu neighbor, co-traveler in rickshaw, trains and planes, to every customer at their shop, to end shirk (‘idolatry’, polytheism, and the association of one God with other deities) from their schools and temples. He calls on Muslims to use every means – pen, hoardings, websites, tapes to ensure this ‘guidance’ of the final messenger is made available to all.
In 2014, Maulana Syed Salman Nadwi had also offered to send 5 lakh Indian Sunni Muslim youth to the Saudi government to be part of a powerful global Islamic army under a worldwide caliphate led by Saudi.
In 2018, the maulana had surprised many when he advocated a compromise to move the disputed Babri structure from Ayodhya after meeting Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bengaluru. Nadwi was sacked from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) board for this, but his motivation for suggesting this compromise will be better understood by reading this article by Tufail Ahmed titled ‘Jihadi cleric Syed Salman Husaini Nadvi’s reasons for shifting Babri Masjid are as complicated as his ideology’.
Welcoming the 2019 meeting between fellow Muslim hardliner Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Maulana Syed Arshad Madani (also head of Deoband seminary) and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat at RSS headquarters in Delhi, Nadwi said “Muslims must continue talking with hardcore Hindus…just like Prophet Mohammad had talks with Jews and mushriks (idolator, polytheist) during his times and entered into various agreements”. Early history of Islam recounts several tactical agreements wherein Muslims bided their time till they grew enough in strength to defeat the non-Muslims, conquer Mecca and destroy the ‘pagan idols’ of Kaaba.
Incidentally, 81-year-old Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, considered the most senior and influential teacher of the Deobandi school, has compared Afghanistan terror group Taliban to Bharat’s freedom fighters. Madani had welcomed Mohan Bhagwat’s “Hindu-Muslims share the same DNA” statement, although for ulterior motives that this article explains.
In one address, Maulana Nadwi exhorted Muslims that the future is theirs and that Islam’s prophet has prophesized that the next era will be of khilafat-e-Islamia. He claimed that the US and Israel will witness a downfall just like USSR, and that disappointed with the prevailing situation the non-believers (Hindus) of this country would ‘seek help’ from Muslims.
In 2019, Maulana Nadwi, his sons, son-in-law and other senior Muslim clerics had met UP CM Yogi Adityanath to discuss plans for a grand mosque, university and Islamic center at 5 acre land awarded to Muslims as part of the RJB judgement.
NSA Doval and Indian state’s confusion in recognizing Islamic fanaticism?
So what does the Indian state’s constant cozying up to such fundamentalist and supremacist Muslim clerics tell us?
Ever since the bloody partition triggered by Islamic demands for a separate state, a new Medina for the Muslim ummah, the secular Indian state has adopted an ostrich-like attitude towards the problem of Islamic fundamentalism. The very organizations which provided the theological and intellectual firepower for the Pakistan movement, have been allowed to continue unchanged, openly spreading the same ideas of Islamic supremacism and encouraging Muslims to proselytize their faith and bring Hindus on the ‘right path’.
Instead of tackling the ideology which led to the creation of Pakistan head on, our elites and polity have instead turned their attention to ‘reforming’ and ‘secularizing’ Hindus. When a Justice Chandrachud talks about the Constitution being a tool to deliver ‘deep-seated aspiration for transformation in Indian society’, he is not talking about transforming the faithful followers of top-down Abrahamic creeds like Islam and Christianity who are indoctrinated to convert everyone to their faith.
Our secular state treats these fundamentalist Islamic seminaries and intolerant religio-socio-political outfits like Jamaat-e-Islami, Tablighi Jamaat, AIMPLB, AIMIM as the spokespersons of the Muslim society, thereby further deepening their grip on Muslim polity. Most politicians, judges, police officers, babus – all seem terrified of the power these organizations have to unleash street violence, and thus they pander to them to ‘maintain the peace’. Hinduphobic media presents them as rational actors, and paints even the handful of outfits demanding equal rights for Hindus as ‘communal ogres’.
It may be too much to expect the government to tackle all these outfits at one go. But can we at least begin by tackling the more egregious ones, and sidelining openly jihad-supporting elements like Maulana Syed Salman Husaini Nadwi?
For that matter, even the resolution issued by the conference’s Sufi organizers AISSC is patently untrue –
“India has been the land of various religions and faiths since ages. We share the history of peaceful coexistence. All religions teach fundamentally to love our countrymen without any discrimination. Islam and Sufism have also endorsed this very idea in India since 12th century. There is no space for hate and agitation against any religion in India,” the resolution said.
Hiding ugly facts and forgetting inconvenient history is not the way to build a healthy society. Islam’s record in the subcontinent since the first Arab invasion in 712 CE is anything but one of peaceful coexistence. And the relentless attacks on Hindu and other Dharmics continue to this day with the same end goal – to ensure the kalma is heard in every household. Unless we face up to reality as it is, not like we would pretend it to be, communal harmony will remain a pipedream.
Hindus are finally refusing to buy this supremacist monotheist invective dressed up as ‘inter-faith dialogue’ or ‘religious tolerance’.