Concerned over increasing radicalization in India, the top Muslim leadership from all across the nation met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express their “apprehensions” regarding “the emerging threat of terrorism”.
Apart from this, other issues highlighted in the meeting related to properties of Muslim shrines, Masjids and Madrassas, and the need for the government to provide better facilities to the Muslim youth, especially in the field of education.
The prime minister assured the leaders of full support of the government. He promised to work for strengthening harmony and national unity, emphasising the need for empowering the Muslim youth to enable them to play a larger role in nation building.
The Muslim leadership too reiterated complete support to the prime minister in meeting his objectives of speedy economic growth and promoting communal harmony and national security, as per the government press release.
The BJP government has often been accused of religious conservatism and of being partial to the interests of the Hindu majority, given the party’s close affiliation with the RSS. This issue was most recently raised during the spate of attacks on curches in Delhi and the controversy regarding banning beef in Maharashtra. The government has always maintained the need for inclusive growth for all sections as being its primary concern. Muslims, though a substantial minority, accounting for 14.2% of the population (2011 Census), are grossly underrepresented in white collar jobs and higher education. Noting the plight of the Muslim community, the Sachar Committee Report of 2006 had given several means to help in ‘mainstreaming’ the community, several of which remain unimplemented. At a time of heightened violence of extremist groups as ISIS, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram across the world, the radicalisation of Indian Muslim youth poses a real and serious threat. However, lauding the negligible impact of extremist ideology on Indian Muslims, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Indian Muslims were well integrated in the mainstream society and were “patriotic”.
The delegation of Muslim leaders who met Mr Modi were from political and religious organizations across the country. They included Syed Sultan-Ul-Hasan Chishti Misbahi (Sajjada Nashin, Ajmer Sharif), Hazrat Ghulam Yasin Sahib (Shahar Kazi, Varanasi), Sheikh Wasim Ashrafi (Imam Tanzeem, Mumbai), Mohd Hamid (national president, Imam Tanzeem, Nagpur) and Allama Tasleem Raaza Sahib (Dargah Barelvi Sharif, UP), Syed Abdul Rashid Ali (Syed Shahid Dargah Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh), Maulana Abu Bakr Basani (Nagori Sharif Dargah, Rajasthan), Syed Ali Akbar (Taajpura Sharif, Chennai) and Haji Abdul Hafiz Khan (Imam, Tanzeem Balaghat, MP).
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