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COMMUNITY NEWS: 16-31 December 2001

Iftar diplomacy: PM AB Vajpayee (centre) and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi enjoy an iftar party hosted by J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah (left) in Delhi. Farooq’s grandson is seen attracting Sonia’s attention.

'Muhammaden' is discriminatory
New Delhi: Deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah has objected to the use of word ‘Mohammadan’ for Muslims and has called it derogatory coined by the British colonial imperialists. Heptullah expressed these sentiments when Law Minister Arun Jaitley was presenting a bill in the upper house of the Parliament on 3 December. While presenting the bill he used Mohammaden. The word is used in a law enacted in 1925. She immediately objected to the use of the word by the law minister and said that it has ceased to be used now. She said it was being used before the independence and added that it is a discriminatory word. Heptullah informed that now Muslim is being used instead of Mohammaden for Musalman. She also demanded that all such discriminatory words started by the Brits should be deleted. The minister assured her to consider her point. 

ABDURRAHMAN SAHIB REMEMBERED
A meeting in memory of the freedom fighter, and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, the late Muhammad Abdur Rahman Sahib was held in Calicut on November 23.
The meeting was organised by the Muhammad Abdur Rahman Memorial Committee. In his commemorative lecture, Prof.. Sukumar Azhikode, social critic and writer described the late Abdur Rahman Sahib as a role model for Muslims in Kerala, a true patriot who stood for all that was good and virtuous and a beacon for the young generation of Muslims who wanted to set in motion a process of reform and social rejuvenation in their community. He said the Muslim community needed rejuvenation as some of the poorest of the poor found in that community. 
Prof. Azhikode said, Abdur Rahman Sahib swam against the current refusing to be with the political party, which claimed to be working for the interest of his community in Malabar. Instead he remained a true socialist and nationalist spearheading the Muslims’ battle against the British for the independence of the country from British rule.Prof. Azhikode said Abdur Rahman Sahib was ‘a militant with a difference’. He battled fiercely for his ideals not with destructive weapons but through non-violent means.
He was a true Muslim who personified compassion, which was the true spirit of Islam. He added that in many respects, Abdur Rahman was the anti thesis of Osama bin Laden.The destruction of the World Trade Centre and killing of thousands in the towers was contrary to the Islamic spirit. NP Muhammad, chairman of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, presided over the function.

Demand for Urdu to be second language
Jaipur: Urdu Day coinciding with Allama Iqbal’s birthday was observed here under the auspices of United Muslim of India in cooperation with Urdu Academy Rajasthan at Information Centre. It was presided over by Prof.Qazi Ubaidur Rahman. Speakers accused the government of indifference and neglecting Urdu and hoped that this sweet language will prosper under the sponsorship of common people. Madrasas’ role was appreciated for survival of the language, but it was also added that in today’s world a language must have capability of expressing modern subjects like science and technology.
The state government was asked to give Urdu the status of second official language in the areas where 25 percent or more Urdu speaking people were found and to make arrangements for teaching of Urdu in all schools of the state and vacant pots for Urdu should be filled up.

BJP ready for communalism
Saharanpur: All India Secretary General of Samajwadi Party and senior journalist Shahid Siddiqi said that Samajwadi Party alone will form the next government in UP. Replying to a question, he said that, except for the groups that are included in the Lok Morcha, the party will not compromise with Congress or any other party before or after the elections. Referring to reports in some pro-BJP newspapers, he said that these newspapers are also admitting that Samajwadi will get majority in UP Assembly. Criticizing the government he said that UP did not become so backward in the last fifty years as in these five years of BJP government. BJP is avoiding to face UP Assembly elections and conspiring to come into power through spreading communal tension, he further said. He cited the forced entry of Ashok Singhal and VHP leaders in the prohibited area of Babri mosque as a proof. Whatever happened, was not a chance but was a result of a strategy. VHP is a terrorist outfit that respects neither Supreme Court directive nor the Indian Constitution, he further said. Condemning the statement of Imam Bukhari he said that in his opinion there is no difference in the present behavior of Imam Bukhari and Ashok Singhal. 

Maulana Azad Foundation should be extended
New Delhi: Maulana Azad Education Foundation is surving the community in an extraordinary manner. The scope of its work should be extended, a chair should be established in the name of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the great personality after whom this institution has been established for the educational and economic development of minorities. Dr Satya Narayan Jatya Central Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment expressed these views while presiding over Maulana Azad Education Foundation’s general body meeting. Dr Jatya stressed on the necessity of such research work that may bring out minorities problems and their possible solutions so that the Foundation may work in more useful manner. We should pay more attention to the educational plans specially professional and technical education so that their economic condition could be improved. He said that he would help in completion of such plans and shortage and resources would not be a barrier in the implementation. Assuring every possible cooperation to the minister , members of the general body meeting said that it is a matter of great satisfaction that the Foundation has so far helped 355 institutions all over the country. Expressing his happiness over the training programmes of teachers who were from the institutions which were aided by the Foundation, Dr Jatya said that such programmes should be organized on regional level throughout the country. The members stressed that Foundation should pay more attention to the regions where it has not worked as yet. Many people participated in the programme.

Waqf Committee visits Moradabad
Moradabad: A committee of Waqf Board including members of the Parliament Muhammad Azam Khan, Ram Dev Bhandari and Manje Lal surveyed Waqf properties in Moradabad with some officials and listened to complaints of common people regarding the department. A local leader of Samajwadi party was accused of illegal occupation of Waqf property. One Maulana Maroof complained to the members of the committee of illegal occupation on a Waqf property behind Naseem Cinema inquiry against which was demanded. Mufti Abdul Mannan and Naseemul Haque advocate complained that the committee of land No 311 contains the members of the same group since 1952 and accused members of the committee of defalcation and demanded to form a new committee. A local advocate accused the Board of indulging in corruption. Muhammad Azam Khan admitted that there is much corruption in the Waqf Board. He said that if policemen take the matter of Waqf properties seriously, these can be saved from illegal occupation.

Abdul Kareem Parekh’ appeal
Distinguished Islamic scholar Maulana Abdul Kareem Parekh said that India had been declared a secular country after independence. The followers of all religions live here, he said. He appealed to all Indians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains etc. to maintain peace, respect humanity, not to kill each other and not to pay attention to rumors. Some people should try to settle conflicts and disputes if they are among other communities. Common people should cooperate police and armed forces whenever they intervene and not to argue with them, because they are for our and country’s safety. Interfering with their work will only harm us. The whole world is plagued by war and bloodshed. If we do not maintain peace the entire world will be thrown into great difficulties.

Attack on Fatehpuri Naib Imam
New Delhi: Maulvi Muhammad Muazzam Ali, Naib Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid was attacked by anti-social elements. One Manghal Sen was beaten black and blue because he tried to save him. Thousands of people gathered on the spot. Policemen arrested three persons after reaching the spot and appealed to people to maintain peace and order. According to available sources the Imam was at his clinic. There was a marriage function at the local community centre. Anti-social elements tried to obstruct the marriage function. When the Naib Imam tried to intervene they abused him and called him the brother of Osama. Situation became tense after the event. DCP and ACP and other senior officials reached there and arrested three persons. They have been arrested under section 147, 149, 452, 506 and 333. The investigation is going on.

Religious education must: Madani
Saharanpur: The solution of the problems of Muslims lies in abiding by Islamic teachings. Islam is a complete system of life. Those who reject Islamic teachings always face troubles, Maulana Asad Madani, President of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said while addressing a gathering in a programme held at Madarsa Faizul Uloom in Mirzapur. Muslims should teach their children the Holy Qur'an. They can live in this world peacefully only by abiding by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. Today Muslim society is surrounded by every type of evil. Muslims have distorted Islam by adopting various customs, he added. He also distributed certificates to the students who completed Hifz-e-Qur’an. Many Ulama participated in the programme.

Madrasa Board accused 
Bhopal: All-India Shaikh Jamiat Al-Abbas accused the Madhya Pradesh Madarsa Board of neglecting backward Muslim groups and depriving them of the facilities to improve modern education in minority madarsas. A resolution had been passed in a meeting held by the Jamiat, in which the state government had been asked to ensure that the benefits of educational and other schemes are enjoyed by backward Muslims. Iftikhar Naseer, secretary general of the Jamiat said that eighty percent Muslim population of the state consists of backward poor people and majority of them is uneducated. Government launched several schemes and programmes in the state to remove poverty and improve education of Muslim through the Madarsa Board, but Muslim backward students have been deprived of these schemes by the Board. It is surprising and regretful that the Board is also neglecting madrasas and other institutions being run by Muslim backward communities. Ulama from Muslim backward communities have not been given any representation in the committees formed by the Board, he said. A group will meet CM Dig Vijay Singh and request him to pay attention to poor and backward communities so that they can derive benefits from these schemes.

Demand for Haj flights from Lucknow
Mumbai: All India Haj Sewa Samiti repeated the demand that Central Haj Committee should ensure 2002 Haj flights directly from Lucknow to Jeddah. National President of the Samiti, Hafiz Naushad Ahmad Azmi sent a memorandum to executive officer of the Central Haj Committee and said in a statement that if the Central Haj Committee takes interest in this problem, flight from Lucknow can be started for the convenience of Purvanchal Haj pilgrims. 

Shahi Imam censured by RS
New Delhi: While strongly condemning the outrageous remarks of the Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmad Bukhari regarding Rajya Sabha member Shabana Azmi, members of the Rajya Sabha have demanded an apology from the Imam. It should be noted that the Imam had used some derogatory words about Azmi during a television programme last month against the latter’s condemnation of his fatwa in favour of the Taliban. Azmi had remarked as to why he does not get air-dropped in Afghanistan and join the struggle from there. In response the Imam had called Shabana Azmi ‘naachne gaanewali twaif.’ 

Anti-social elements over Sikh shrine
New Delhi: Expressing sorrow on the recent desecration of Guru Granth Saheb, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee said in a meeting that some Sikh educational institutions or camps should be closed down because anti-social elements have overcome on them.
Avtar Sing Hatt, chief of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee said that those who have indulged in desecration of Guru Granth Saheb and created unrest will have to pay a heavy price for their misdeeds. They cannot escape from the legal proceeding that Badal government have started against them. According to Avtar Sing it is quite possible that anti social elements are using the camps to create such unrest and disorder as Pyara Singh created in the past. Therefore the persons running the camps should be sent to jail. SGPC said that one Onkar Singh tried to establish a religious group in Bhallar village of Punjab under Loyo police station and declared that he had got some spiritual power. But later he admitted his fallacy. Thus a new religious dispute ended. Avtar Singh who is also chief of Badal Akalidal in Delhi regretted that Congress tried to derive political advantage from the incident of desecration of Guru Granth Saheb. Punjab chief Captain Arvind Singh had accused the Akalidal of arranging the desecration of the Holy Book itself. 

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