Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman of Delhi minorities panel chief’s irresponsible statement on 28 Apr 2020 – implying an avalanche if and when Indian Muslims complain to ‘Arab world’ for perceived ‘persecution of Indian Muslims’ in India – amounts to blackmail, unacceptable to any self-respecting nation, and casts aspersions on law abiding, non-political Indian Muslims and has the potential to damage Hindu-Muslim harmony in secular India.
It is regrettable that the large Indian Muslim minority community has lacked modern, forward looking, truly secular leadership – with a few honorable exceptions – since independence! Mr Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman of Delhi minorities panel is no ordinary run of the mill Muslim leader to be taken lightly! Son of a highly respected Islamic scholar Wahiduddin Khan, Mr Zafurul Islam is influential being the editor and publisher of the Milli Gazette which focuses on issues concerning the Muslim community. He is also the founder and chairman of Charity Alliance, an organization involved in relief and welfare work in India and wields considerable influence among the Muslim minority population in India!
The implications (problem areas) in his controversial statement are—
(A) Muslims are “persecuted’ in India!
(B) Muslims (in India) are subjected to ‘hate campaigns, lynching and riots!
(C) He thanks Kuwait for standing with Indian Muslims!
(D)‘Hindutva bigots’ miscalculated, that because of the huge economic stakes involved, the Arab world will not care about ongoing ‘Muslim persecution’ in India, but were proved wrong!
(E) The “Hindu bigots” forgot that Indian Muslims enjoy huge goodwill in the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world” for their services (rendered) over centuries to Islamic causes, excellence in Islamic and Arabic scholarship, cultural and civilizational gifts to world heritage.
(F) Among prominent Indian Muslim leaders, he counted Zakir Naik, who, according to him was (among) the “respected household names in the Arab and Muslim world.”
(G) He ends with a chilling warning amounting to blackmail when he states “Mind you bigots, Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arab and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynching and riots! The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche”!
I wonder whether he realizes the dangerous implications of his highly controversial comments- casting unnecessary unwarranted and needless doubts about the loyalty of the entire Indian Muslim community – when he implies about Indian Muslims enjoying Arab support for their services over centuries to “Islamic causes”. Questions are likely to be raised as to what were the ‘services rendered over centuries to Islamic causes by Indian Muslims in secular India, to Arabs? Equally disturbing is the ‘warning’ about Hindutva bigots facing an avalanche the day they ‘complain’ to the Arab world. This was totally needless and controversial comment on entire Muslim minority community, especially during the present corona crisis and the unrest due to Tableeghi Jamat’s recent misadventure.
There have been earlier instances of Muslim leaders making such irresponsible statements in the past as well- when the Shahi imam of Delhi called on Arab countries to impose economic sanctions on India if a Ram temple is constructed in Ayodhya – or for fighting with Osama-Bin-Laden. Religious leaders should realize the immense harm caused by such needless provocations, to communal harmony.
Are Muslims persecuted in India?
In the fifties, a talented Muslim actor (Yusuf Khan) still felt it necessary to assume a Hindu name (Dilip Kumar) to survive/ succeed in Hindi movies! So was the case with another talented Muslim actress Mahjabeen Bano, assuming a Hindu screen name as Meenakumari! Today there are more than a dozen plus Khans/ Muslim actors flaunting their Muslim name and identity and are doing well, with a large (mostly Hindu) fan following in a highly visible, competitive medium like Cinema! This is a clear indication of their confidence that today’s India does not discriminate them for their Muslim origin- confidence, that was absent in the Muslim artists of 1940s – Yet the myth is perpetuated by some vested interests that Muslims are persecuted in India! Whatever be their motives in persisting with this myth, these people do a great disservice to India in the eyes of world community!
Some Indian Muslims go to great lengths to deny their ancient Indian origin! ANWAR SHEIKH describes them the best- “The Indian Muslims may class themselves as the children of foreign invaders to nurse their inferiority complex but the truth is that 95% of them have the same Indian blood in their veins as all other Indians such as Hindus, Sikhs or Christians. The remaining 5% have certainly become Indians by the long domicile in this country. Have they got anywhere else to go? Never mind other Islamic countries, even Pakistan, which was created for all Muslims of the subcontinent, shall not take them in. It is high time that they sober up to the reality, and being Indians, start living as Indians”.
Zafarulla Khan may well pay heed to his scholarly father Wahiduddin Khan’s views on the subject, available easily on internet.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan was questioned in an interview on OCTOBER 12, 2016 on Anti-Muslim Sentiments– “What do you think are the reasons for these growing anti-Muslim sentiments”(world over)?. He replied “The answer to this question can be found by studying a verse in the Quran. In this verse, the Quran says: “And beware of an affliction that will not smite exclusively those among you who have done wrong.” (8:25). If we study this Quranic verse and objectively apply it to the present situation of Muslims, we realize that what is happening in the world today is not due to “anti-Muslim sentiment”. Rather it is a reaction to Muslims’ own negative activities.
“Muslims say that instances of terrorism are perpetrated only by some Muslims, and not the whole Muslim community. This claim of Muslims could be right, but another serious aspect of this matter is that Muslims to this day have not unequivocally disowned Muslim terrorism. I don’t know of a single person in the entire Muslim world who openly condemns Muslims’ negative activities. If any person does speak on this topic, he would speak with twists. For example, some would say, ‘It is true that Muslims are involved in terrorist activities, but this action of theirs is a reaction: they are reacting to others’ discriminatory behavior towards them.’ This kind of condemnation is certainly not condemnation. Rather, it is akin to indirectly justifying the violent actions of Muslims. Objective analysis tells us that such instances that you cite are certainly not discrimination. Rather, they are a result of Muslims’ own doubtful behaviors. Muslims are themselves responsible for this discrimination. According to a hadith, the Prophet said: Save yourself from being regarded as objectionable. Because Muslims do no outrightly disown the actions of those Muslims who are engaged in wrong actions, others in the community will also face ‘discrimination’. If Muslims were to clearly condemn the actions of those who are doing wrong, then only those specific persons who are guilty of the wrong would face the above kind response, which is termed ‘discrimination’ or ‘anti-Muslim sentiment’.
It will also help if Zafarul Islam khan remembers that he is the Chairman of (ALL) Delhi minorities panel, and not only of Muslims