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Muslims of India cannot prosper without leadership transformation, says journalist

M. Zakir Azmi Nadvi

RIYADH - Addressing a huge gathering of Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) in Riyadh, an eminent journalist and author said Muslims in his country cannot prosper without leadership transformation.

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, editor-in-chief of Milli Gazette newspaper, also accused the present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of vigorously working to “saffronize” the secular fabric of the country.

“Prime Minister Modi is not ready to give anything to the minorities, particularly the Muslims, as it is evident from his consistent silence on the anti-Muslim statements relayed by his close party aides from time to time,” he said.

Referring to the growing incidents of communal violence in the name of ghar wapsi, love jihad and gau raksha, Khan said since Modi came to power aggressive Hidutva fascism has been at its peak and is ruling the country.

The prevailing situation demands that Indian Muslims also wake up from their slumber and start to review, scrutinize and take account of their 70-year-long political impotence and start taking account of their ineffective policies.

Muslims of India cannot prosper without leadership transformation, says journalistResponding to a question by Akhtarul Islam Siddiqui about ineffectiveness of the Muslim leadership in India in tackling the problems that the Indian Muslims have been facing, Khan said the current leadership “is somehow not capable of addressing our concerns effectively due to the fact that they do not want to rise above their vested interests”.

“Our problems cannot be resolved without transforming the existing leadership at large. The talented youth must be given their due representation in Muslim organizations as they are more relevant to the present and are capable of understanding the challenges that the community is facing,” he added.

While highlighting the importance of education in the development of a community, Khan urged the privileged NRIs living in Saudi Arabia to vigorously support their deprived brothers back home so that they can acquire education and knowledge in tranquility and with dignity.

Khan went on to say that education has a multidimensional impact on communities, and it is widely recognized as one of the building blocks for sustainable development.

Condemning the mainstream media’s prejudice against Muslims, Khan stated that even though large sections of the media are not against Muslims or Islam as such, contrary to what some people might think, the point many people in the media are influenced by the general social climate, and so, like everyone else, they are not free of anti-Muslim biases. “We need to consider developing alternate media of our own, as well as working with the alternate media run by non-Muslims, who are sometimes more willing than the ‘mainstream’ media to seriously take up Muslim issues and concerns,” he said.

Lamenting the role of Muslim organizations in handling the media affairs, Khan said, “At a time when the majority in the mainstream media aggressively portrays Muslims as anti-national and label them as terrorists, the Muslim organizations merely release a statement in Urdu and when they see it published in some Urdu paper the next day they feel that they have done their duty. Obviously, this does not at all serve to bring Muslim views or concerns before non-Muslims because hardly any non-Muslim reads Urdu newspapers.”

Khan also condemned the government’s illegal action against Dr. Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and appealed all Muslim organizations, irrespective of their sectarian affiliations, to come forward and stand by Dr. Naik. “If we do not take up this matter seriously, then no one will remain safe. Today Dr. Zakir is being victimized, who knows who will be the next target,” he said.

The program, organized by Indian Friends Circle (IFC), was conducted by Hafeezullah. Prominent members of the Indian community including Dr. Nadeem Tarin, Husain Zulqarnain, Murshid Kamal Jamayee, Mohammad Qaiser, Mohammad Akram and Shabbir Nadvi.

Dr. Hafeezur Rahaman Falahi, president of IFC, presided over the proceedings. In his address Dr. Falahi urged Muslims to demonstrate and uphold the spirit of Islamic unity. (saudigazette.com.sa -- 8 Dec., 2016)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2016 on page no. 7

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