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Muslims denounce hijacking

There was an all-out denunciation of the hijacking episode of the Indian Airlines plane last month. Prominent Muslim personalities, organizations and societies openly denounced the act as criminal and barbaric. The Ulama of Deoband, Nadwatul Ulama, Jamat-e Islami Hind, especially the late Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Maulana As’ad Madni and Shahi Imam Ahmad Bukhari, were among those who severely condemned the hijacking. They all stood fully by the relatives of the hostages and by the government at the time of the crisis. Even the All-Party Hurriyet Conference came down heavily against this criminal act. 

During the crisis, the government of India sought the help and cooperation of Muslim religious scholars, especially those from Deoband since the Taliban, now ruling most of Afghanistan, also follow the Deobandi creed. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reportedly phoned Maulana As’ad Madani and sought his help to rope in Pakistan’s Maulana Fazlur Rahman to impress upon the Taliban government in Afghanistan. 

Muslim quarters expressed their deep misgivings that the government remembers Muslims only during a crisis of this kind. Instead, it should consider the Muslim community as a valuable asset which can play a serious role in enhancing the country’s image abroad and improving its relations with 52 Muslim countries around the world. 

Another development which irked many in the community was the Intelligence Bureau report leaked to the press from some official quarters that if the hijacking episode ended in the bloodshed of some innocent passengers it would adversely affect the Muslim community in India and may lead to riots. The country is mature enough to understand the nature of the criminal activities of some misguided ‘Muslims’ somewhere in the world. There was no justification to give the episode this twist, Muslim analysts felt.

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