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Personal Law Board to take up repair, rebuilding of Gujarat mosques

Lucknow: The Muslim Personal Law Board has decided to take over the responsibility of release and reconstruction of demolished places of worship in Gujarat .In this connection a high level delegation will soon meet the president and prime minister to prevail upon them need to rebuild these places of worship that were demolished during the Gujarat pogrom. More than 600 places of worships, about half of them mosques, have either been demolished or converted into temples. The board would leave no stone unturned to get them back and reconstruct them, said Maulana Abdul Raheem Quraishi, secretary and spokesman of the board who briefed the media after its executive committee meeting at Nadwatul Ulema here. 

Maulana Quraishi said many of these religious places had been restored but many still were in illegal possession and Gujarati Muslims, who had not yet recovered from the shock and were experiencing great difficulties in their restoration and reconstruction also needed to resettled. The Board was preparing a list of such places of worship, and once the list was ready the board's delegation would meet the president and prime minister to get back the possession of these buildings.

The executive committee meeting held under the presidentship of Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi took strong exception to the malicious propaganda against madrasahs and decided to counter it forcefully. The meeting was of the opinion that branding madrasahs as ISI dens was nothing but an attempt to tarnish their image, forgetting that these madrasas were rendering a great national service in imparting education to the poor. The madrasahs were minimising the burden of government in its Education to Al programme, he added. In this connection the Karnataka government came under special criticism for constituting a madrasah board. It decided to make a special request to Karnataka government to shelve this programme as it would jeoparadise the independence of madrasahs. 

This bill gave ample powers to bureaucracy to interfere in the working of madrasahs which would endanger their independence. That would be an infringement of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, Maualana Quraishi said. If the Karnataka government decided to go ahead with its plan of constituting a madrasah board the All India Muslim Personal Law Board would ask the madrasahs not to register themselves with this board, he asserted .

The proposed model nikahnama waiting to see the light of the day for the last so many years could not be produced at this meeting also. Maulana Quraishi explained that a five-member committee had been constituted at the board’s Hyderabad meeting and this committee was giving final touches to the nikahnama. A draft proposal for this nikahnama was presented by Begam Naseem Iqtedar Ali, a member of the board.

Zafaryab Jeelani briefed the committee on the progress in Babri Masjid title suit. Amazingly, neither Mayawati's refusal to issue fresh notification in Babri Masjid demolition case nor Mahant Dharam Das’s offer of providing an alternative site for Babri Masjid, nor Shankaracharya's efforts for an amicable settlement of the dispute was discussed at the meeting. The board also failed to suggest any other option to solve the dispute in a peaceful manner. It solely depended on court judgement as if immediately after the judgment the Babri Masjid would be constructed peacefully. It could not be said that the best brains of the community are not aware of the ground reality. What forbids them from coming out with alternative suggestions to solve the dispute to the satisfaction of both the communities is a mistery. 

Nobody would be in a position to reconstruct the Babri Masjid at the original site even after a Supreme Court judgment in favour of Mulims. This is the ground reality that everyone should realise and a way out must be found to save the country from further agony.

Unfortunately, the board has not yet decided to consider certain burning issues haunting the community, important among them being the issue to triple talaq. The board seems to be of the opinion that the model nikahnama that will highlight the responsibilites of husbands and wives as per the Shariah will be able to give a sense of responsibility to spouses to become responsible. The board has to realise that the triple talaq issue is haunting Muslim women and it is time this issue is addressed. Nothing short of doing away with triple talaq system prevalent among Hanafis would be of any use. 

Another issue is that of bank interest. Interest was prohibited in Islam to save the poor from the exploitation by money-lenders .Bank interests could not be kept in this category .For business and other commercial activities bank loans have become unavoidable. Muslims too are bound to take loan from banks as so many so-called Islamic funds have disappeared after looting the hard- earned small savings of common Muslims .The board should distinguish between bank interest for commercial activities and money-lender's interest to exploit the poor. The board is going to hold the meeting of its founder members at Munger (Bihar) in December.

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