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INTERVIEW: Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi
Pogroms harm India’s image, integrity and stability

Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi, President, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, talked to MG recently in Lucknow. Excerpts: 

What is your reaction to the bloodshed in Gujarat and recent statements made by Chief Minister Modi and some other Hindu communal leaders which are anti-minority?
Their statements greatly injure the feelings of Muslims; rather they are infuriating. However, thinking that such statements are not made by serious and sane persons, there is no need to reply but the cruelty and barbarism being perpetrated on Muslims does merit attention. It is however a matter of satisfaction that our Hindu brethren are themselves taking note of their activities and statements. They are strongly criticising and condemning whatever happened in Gujarat. I think that under the circumstances this is sufficient and worth consideration. Muslim leaders are keeping these things in mind and they will do whatever they deem fit in accordance with legal and constitutional means and their own capabilities. Presently, different committees and institutions of Muslims are working in their respective fields for assisting the uprooted people. Responsible people are also touring different places and investigations are being made into cases of cruelty and barbarism with a view to bringing these things to the notice of government and also to file cases in courts, if so needed.

How will these incidents and statements affect national interests of India?
People who indulged in bloodshed on the basis of religion and community in Gujarat did not, as a matter of fact, harm only one section of the country. They have rather weakened the country and tarnished the image of the country abroad.
The economy of the state has suffered enormously. In addition to negating the rights and privileges granted by the Constitution of India to the minorities, these incidents are also against the centuries-old traditions of tolerance and communal harmony. Such attitude is even against the principles of Hinduism. In this country religious differences have always been seen from a pleasant angle that celebrates diversity and because of this very reason Indian national leaders had opposed the demand for a separate country by the name of Pakistan. If India itself now transforms its religious diversity into mutual enmity, it in fact spreads the poison of mutual hatred and enmity among its people, which will enormously harm the solidarity and stability of this country.

These days rallies are being taken out in Gujarat in which the unfortunate incidents of violence there are being described as a matter of pride. What do you think about it?
What the chief minister and government of Gujarat are considering as a matter of pride are in fact a matter of shame and ill repute for India throughout the world, which the prime minister himself felt during his foreign tour and expressed his sense of shame. The rulers of Gujarat may well consider the massacres a matter of pride but the extent to which these incidents have affected the economy of the state, in addition to the world-wide disrepute to India, have harmed the majority community more than the minority. Gujarat has slipped back economically. Reports of economic losses emanating from the pogrom prove this.

To what extent have the events of Gujarat affected Muslims?
Muslims Ummah is no longer confined to a small place or region now. It is spread over an extensive area. Muslims command a majority in almost sixty countries. In addition to these countries they form a significant minority in almost fifty countries. In this way they are spread over more than two-thirds of the countries of the world. If they are oppressed even in a small country or region, the whole Ummah is affected. Moreover, if they are opposed, their religious feelings and emotions are awakened. What thousands of preachers and religious leaders could not do in spite of their efforts to instill religious feelings and habits among Muslims has been done by one-sided riots, barbarism and violence. They have become more careful and developed greater awakening in this country because of these events and their attachment to their religion has very much increased.

How is the threat to Iraq by US being viewed in the Arab world?
Among the countries I am familiar with, dislike and anger towards America has very much increased in all of them and the intelligentsia as well as common people who held a good opinion about it as a democratic and civilised country are now criticising it. Whether it is Saudi Arabia, Egypt or some other Arab country, Europe or the US, everywhere Arab journals and newspapers are full of news and articles describing American stand as aggressive and undemocratic. The US is increasing the number of its new opponents and losing its former supporters and friends. The statements made by responsible American authorities indicate that not only Iraq, the US intends to harm many other countries also. This is being felt by almost all countries disquietingly.

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