Scholars from Major Muslim Schools of Thought Join Hands
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
It came as a sudden surprise for majority of people to hear Darul Uloom holding an anti-terrorism conference, since they have always been familiar to watch and read madrasas as cradle of terrorists. The All India Anti-Terrorism Conference convened by Darul Uloom at Deoband on 25 February 2008 proved to be a landmark and timely decision taken by insightful and perceptive administration of Darul Uloom. Being an academic institution and avoiding any political engagement, Darul Uloom was following the tradition of remaining silent and busying itself with the main mission for which it was meant, except some cases when it condemned the terrorist activities and injustice done upon any community on human and moral grounds. But, when it felt the heat of war against terror approaching nearer and victimizing the innocents, when it saw the baseless propaganda against madrasas and madrasa people being translated into action, it felt it its obligation to rise against injustice and oppression that may lead to ruin the country. And, being the mother of all madrasas in the Indian Sub-continent and headquarter of Islamic renascence in India it had full right to take the initiative and lead the movement.
In this background, Darul Uloom Deoband convened the All India Anti-Terrorism Conference. As it was expected the anti-terrorism call met unprecedented success. It was attended by more than 20,000 people including leaders from major Muslim schools of thought, delegates of madrasas and Ulama. The conference was attended by delegates and representatives from Jamiat Ulama Hind, Jamat Islami Hind, Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband, Nadwatul Ulama Lucknow, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, Milli Council, Firangi Mahal, Jamiatul Falah Bilaria Ganj, Dargah of Ajmer Sharif and so on. Most prominent among those who addressed the Conference were Maulana Salim Qasmi (Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband), Maulana Arshad Madani (President Jamiat Ulama Hind), Maulana Jalaluddin Umri (Ex-President Jamat Islami Hind), Maulana Asghar Imam Salafi (President of Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith), Maulana Mahmood Madani, Maulana Salman Nadwi, Maulana Wali Rahmani. While Maulana Rabe Hasani Nadwi (President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Head of Nadwatul Ulama Lucknow) and Maulana Mufti Muhammad Mukarram (Shahi Imam of Fatahpuri Mosque Delhi) conveyed their messages in favour of the conference.
The much debated definition of terrorism was arrived at in the conference as: "Any action that targets innocents, whether by an individual or by any government and its agencies or by a private organisation constitutes an act of terrorism."
Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, Mohtamim Darul Uloom Deoband and President of Rabta Madris-e-Islamia (All India Madrasas Association) in his presidential address, which was read out on behalf of him by Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi, justified the need for such a conference: "Terrorism and its consequences make the most serious concern of our society today at large. However, for the Islamic madrasas this issue has become great challenge and threat."
Denouncing terrorism Maulana Marghoobur Rahman asserted: "We do not have any link or association with terrorism whatsoever." He condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whether by state, organizations or individuals: "We reject all forms of terrorism and do not allow any discrimination. Terrorism is completely wrong and unthoughtful act whoever commits, irrespective of his association to whatever religion, community and class he belongs to."
Pointing out to the origin of the terror he said: "Terrorism has not originated in our country, but the menace has been distributed to us by global powers whose ideologies are based on Zionism, and their single point agenda is Zion hegemony. They are the front runners in spreading disorder and violence on the earth."
He, in clear-cut terms, distanced madrasas and Islamic institutions from the accusations: "Islamic madrasas, which are the real flag-bearers of the Islamic teachings, hereby declare without mincing words that they do not have any truck with terrorism." He explicitly proclaimed Islam being a religion of love and peace: "Terrorism negates completely the teachings of Islam as it is the faith of love and peace and any terrorist activity which targets innocent people directly contradicts Islam's concept of peace."
Maulana Marghoobur Rahman blamed administration of playing partial and biased role as he said: "We watch helplessly the security and law and order agencies plying their role irresponsibly. Without applying their minds they target Muslims after any terrorist attack. They hide their shortcoming by making an escape goat of innocent people."
Maulana Marghooburt Rahman advised the government: "If you are really serious about combating the menace of terrorism, be determined to take every step firmly based on the demand of justice and keep off any discrimination based on religion." In case any individual of any particular religion is involved then also "the whole community can not be held responsible for the activity of any individual or a group of individuals", he said.
The conference was organized under the banner of Rabata Madaris Islamia (All India Madrasas Association) Darul Uloom Deoband. It started at 8:30 AM and continued till afternoon amid resounding slogans and waving hands with aged elders of Muslim community sitting throughout the programme at the splendid pucca dais.
Maulana Arshad Madani, President of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said: "The voice we raised here will not be confined to Deoband. We will oppose terrorism to every nook and corner of India. We will take this anti-terrorism initiative to every state, every city and every town of the country. Maulana Madani went to an extreme challenging the government to "Either change the constitution and declare the country a Hindu Rashtra or give us justice." He termed the conference beginning of a country-wide movement against terrorism and injustice.
Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasmi, Mohtamim Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband said: "The anti-Islam elements want to wipe off our history, but our history is so bright that this temporary turmoil cannot eclipse its beauty." Without naming America, he said that one country is labelling Muslims with terrorism only to divert the world attention from its state terrorism.
Maulana Jalaluddin Umri of Jamat Islami Hind said: "The Quran was revealed to establish peace in the world and these madrasas teach the same; therefore it is nonsense to link madrasas with terror. The Islamic madrasas are harbingers of peace." He added that the conference is a challenge to terrorism and it will turn the direction of the winds.
Maulana Salman Nadwi of Nadwatul Ulama Lucknow stated that this platform demands the scholars from all schools of thought to maintain the unity of Muslim Ummah. He added that the worst terrorism is state terrorism and the biggest terrorist is Bush and America.
Maulana Wali Rahmani of Jamia Rahmani Munger (Bihar) asserted: "In previous time we ardently wished the leaders of all Muslims schools of thought to join hands cutting across the lines of sects and thoughts. Now, the long cherished dream has come true today when towering personalities of all schools of thought are gathered at one platform to wage war against terrorism."
Maulana Mahmood Madani, General Secretary Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said that these madrasas teach peace, tranquility and have no link with terrorism. The Ulama of India have given sacrifices for the cause of this land so their descendants will not let their land to be ruined. He lashed out at the foreign policy of US and said that it is the mother of terrorists. He said: "We have always condemned terrorism and today we gathered here to affirm the same resolution of ours against terrorism. Terrorism, whether by a state, by groups or by individuals, is equally deplorable and condemnable."
Maulana Khalid Rasheed from Lucknow said that America is sowing the seeds of terrorism in the entire world and the anti-Islamic powers are afraid of Islam's widening circle; therefore they are maligning Islam in the name of terrorism. He said that there are terrorists who profess other religions but their terrorism is not linked with their religion. This is sheer injustice that if a few astray Muslim youths get involved in terror activities the whole community even Islam is blamed.
Maulana Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani of Lucknow said: "It is strange enough that Muslims are oppressed all across the world and they are blamed for terrorist activities. This multiple oppression against Muslims indicates to a new divine change in the world." He expressed his hope that this horrible chapter of tyranny shall come to an end one day.
Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Wustanvi said: The attitude (of the Government machinery) towards Muslims and madrasas in intolerable, we condemn this attitude, while Maulana Abdul Aleem Farooqi of Darul Muballigheen Lucknow stated that in order to maintain love, brotherhood and coexistence the Hindus are required to safeguard the mosques and Muslims are asked to protect the mandirs. Only this unity can take the country forward.
Maulana Ameeduz Zaman Kairanwi (Muslim Majlis Mushawarat Delhi) said that Islam presents this matchless philosophy which declares killing a human being tantamount to killing the entire humanity.
The All India Anti-Terrorism Conference adopted a historic declaration which is all set to be a create history in the fight against terrorism and injustice. The declaration explaining the stand of Islam about all kinds violence saying: "Islam is the religion of mercy for all humanity. It is the fountainhead of eternal peace, tranquillity, security. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism. It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murdering among severest sins and crimes." The conference condemned all kinds of violence and terrorism in the strongest possible terms and strongly demanded the Indian Government to curb those maligning the madrasas and Muslims. The administrative machinery was demanded to conduct impartial investigations in activities disturbing public peace in the country and to punish only those found guilty. The declaration expressed its deep concern on partiality of the government officials and reaffirmed its determination to continue its joint struggle for domination of law, justice and secular system. Finally, the declaration unfurled its programme of holding such conferences across the country.
The Conference came as ray of hope for Muslims who were swiftly losing their confidence as they once face this crisis when India was divided into two parts and their lot was thrown to a land which was burning with the fire of communalism, hatred and violence. By virtue of this conference they were once again revived and vitalize to see their leaders giving them courage to live as Indians with their heads high.