Apropos of your editorial on "Orai Violence" (16 November, 2004), may I inform you that the AIMMM had taken immediate cognizance of the unfortunate and saddening incident. As President, I wrote a letter on 3 November, 2004 to nationally known Muslim organizations and prominent Ulema of various sects suggesting joint condemnation and consultation for long-term action. I regret to say that apart from a verbal positive response from the Jamaat-i-Islami Hind, we did not receive any response, not even acknowledgement from any other addressee. The letter reads:
"The violent struggle for the control of the local Jama Masjid in Orai, district headquarters of JALAUN, UP, resulting in the killing of two Khatibs (Imams) during the month of Ramzan, has agonized all the well-wishers of the Muslim community. The virus of sectarian fratricide which has reached an epidemic proportion in Pakistan, has now invaded our country. It is time for Muslim religious leaders to consider how to control the spread of the virus here.
Thankfully, the Shia-Sunni conflict stands abated. Also most Muslims have come to participate in Namaz under an Imam irrespective of the sect or sub-sect to which he may belong. There is also greater forbearance towards minor differences in performing the Namaz. But the sectarian rivalry among various sects, particularly the Deobandis, the Barelvis and the Ahl-e-Haddis seems to be on the rise, which often manifests itself in rivalry over possession and control of
To control the virus of sectarianism, we have to work at two levels:
1. Immediately to issue a joint appeal in the name of the acknowledged Ulema of all sects for mutual tolerance and for eschewing violence.
2. Holding a Dialogue among the representative personalities of various sects to evolve a universally acceptable procedure for the formation of Managing Committees of Masjids and the appointment of Imams.
All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), requests you to apply your mind to this vital problem, without any loss of time. We can jointly provide a common platform for holding the Dialogue among the leaders of various religious sects.
If you agree, you may like to suggest names of leaders and Ulma of national stature from each sect and to propose a suitable venue and date for holding the Dialogue."
Sectarian violence is an evil which needs to be curbed through sincere and united action by all sects. We must learn from what is happening in Pakistan. I still hope that our religious leaders shall take the situation seriously and regard it as a common menace and as the most negative projection of Islam before the country.
President, All Indian Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, New Delhi
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