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Published in the 16-30 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

JUH delegation goes to US 

Deoband : A delegation of Jamiat-e Ulama-e Hind (JUH), which had earlier been vocal against the American attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq and had declared President Bush as an enemy of Islam, reached America early this month at American invitation in the ongoing US efforts to woo Indian Muslims. The delegation is supposed to eventually lead to a campaign among Muslim organisations and influential personalities related to Deoband School of thought in favour of US after its reputation in Muslim eyes plummeted like never before in history. According to JUH, the delegation has gone there to explain its stands pertaining to the American policy regarding Islamic madrasas. 

Maulana Abdullatif Qasmi, teacher of Tafsir in Darul Uloom Waqf, said that the JUH had earlier welcomed RSS and BJP by opening the doors for negotiation and trying, unsuccessfully, to discard their present ‘untouchability’ among Muslims. Now it is making efforts to warm up its relations with America which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghani people. An internal source of JUH says, "This delegation is very secret and no one in our office is aware of the purposes of the delegation." Some of the leading names of the delegation members are Muhtamim (head) of Madrasa Aejazul Haq of Wait town, Ghaziabad, Hayatullah Bahraichi, president of JUH in UP and Niyaz Ahmad Farooqi, special adviser of Maulana Mahmood Madani, JUH secretary general. 

This is part of an American plan to appease angry Muslims following American attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. Representatives of America and its allies have been visiting Darul Uloom Deoband and other Madrasas for the last two years. 
Maulana Ahmad Khizr, general secretary of Tanzim Ulama-e-Hind said that it is a matter of worry if this information is true. We cannot make friends with a country like America because it offered its all-out support to Israel only to destroy the Arab countries, especially Palestine. If our eminent groups and organisations are to become tools of fascist and devil forces, the Muslim community is going to split apart, said Mufti Arshad Farooqi. 

JUH secretary general Maulana Mahmood Madani, talking to mediapersons in Deoband, denied that any delegation of JUH is visiting America to take part in the election campaign in favour of the Republican Party. He added that Niyaz Ahmad Farooqi has gone there as a representative of the JUH but so far as other office-bearers of JUH are concerned, they have gone in their individual capacity on behalf of their Madrasas. Maulana Madani further said that this is a mission of cultural exchanges and they have gone on the invitation of America’s ministry of cultural affairs. America had invited people from Darul Uloom Deoband too but it did not respond positively.

As soon as the news of this visit became public, Muslim scholars and organisations reacted harshly against it across the country. The president of Tanzim Ulama-e-Hind Shaikhul Hadith of Darul Uloom Waqf, said that those raising slogans in favour of the nation and country are playing with the honor and dignity of the Muslim community. He further said that it seems leaders of the Muslim community are gradually losing their sense of honour and Islamic spirit.

This is a new blow to the Muslim community which had yet to overcome JUH’s bargaining of Babri Masjid with RSS representatives, Shaikhul Hadith said in his statement adding that the Muslim community in general has already rejected the policies of JUH and now its time for those ulama who are always at the beck and call of JUH to see whether their attachment to it is a matter of pride or shame.

According to reports, Ulama in Panipat have expressed their concern over the matter. It is an inhuman act to accept the invitation of a country like America which is adamant, belligerent and responsible for the destruction of the Muslim world, said Maulana Bilal Bijrolwi in a press statement. Another ‘alim, Maulana Mohammad Umar, asked JUH, ‘why you are going there at a critical juncture like this in response to an invitation by Bush while even local Muslims there are against him?’

A meeting held in the office of the Darul Uloom Deoband Old Boys Association, chaired by its president Maulana Mohammad Afzaalul Haq, the matters related to Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine were discussed and it was observed that in such a critical situation such a visit will only strengthen the anti-Muslim policies of Bush. The meeting condemned these activities, whether official or individual, and said that such visits, disregarding the Muslim public opinion, are tantamount to helping the aggressor.

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