Thursday, December 22, 2011

Darul Uloom Deoband urges Hindus, Muslims to unite on Gita

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Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband issued a statement on Wednesday defending the Hindu religious text Bhagwad Gita. Deoband vice-chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani condemned the "Russian diktat against the Hindu holy scripture" and urged Hindus and Muslims to unite to drive home the point. Nomani also pitched for a joint approach against anti-Islamic bans Muslims face in the West.

But, many in the Deoband campus were surprised by his statement. They viewed it as a tactical move by the V-C to shed his ultraconservative image for wider acceptability. The appeal to Hindu religious heads to extend similar support to Muslims pointed to his cautious approach lest he was misunderstood and misinterpreted, sources said.

"Allegation portraying Gita as extreme literature are totally baseless and highly objectionable," Nomani told TOI. No religion in the world promotes violence and terrorism.

"This ban amounts to violation of the freedom to practise religion of choice enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The Russian highhandedness deserves to be staunchly countered," he said.

The Maulana in turn expected a similar support for Muslims from Hindu gurus on ban on hijab in several nations. " Affront to religion from foreign shores needs to be opposed by both communities together for maximum impact," he said.

Maulana Khalid Rashid, head of Lucknow's Firangimahal, also denounced "Russian arrogance" and said Muslims must offer their unflinching support to Hindus in what he called a direct attack on their private space. "We appeal to the government to take a firm stance so that such blasphemous interference is not attempted in future," he said.

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