Indian Muslims disapprove of Iraq violence

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 24, 2014 10:08 hrs

It is always interesting to see the ramifications of an international event in India, no matter how geographically remote it might be.

The war in Iraq has had reverberations back home. In Lucknow's Nakkhas, discussions, some informed, some not so informed, are being held at every street corner.

Lucknow has over 8 lakh Muslims, of which nearly 40% are Shias. Iraq houses Shiite pilgrimage places including the holy Karbala, which the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, who are said to be Sunnis, have threatened to destroy.

The ISIS has waged a war to establish an Islamic state in Iraq.

Because tension between Shias and Sunnis can break out at the drop of a hat, clerics are counselling peace.

At a joint meeting the most prominent Shia cleric of Lucknow, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq was quoted in Lucknow Urdu and Hindi newspapers as saying: "The fight is between terrorism and a democratically elected government.

The crisis should not be seen as Shia-Sunni conflict or something related to Islam but as a battle between civilised world and terrorists who do not have any religion. As an Indian, I would like India and the other civilised countries in UN to curb terrorism."

Sunni religious leader Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said that Iraq crisis was a purely political matter and had nothing to do with religion. However, he did not ask for intervention by the UN. He said India should appeal to the Arab countries to intervene and resolve the issue.

"India is already battling with internal security problem. Direct intervention may invite more trouble," he said.

People who are returning from Iraq are being interviewed by local television channels and are almost unanimously saying ISIS is nothing more than a terrorist organisation.

?What can you say about people who kill unarmed women and children? I have seen with my own eye, militants shooting small children at point blank range.

How can this be a holy war by any stretch of imagination ?? said a middle-aged man who had to flee with his family midway through 'ziarat' to Iraq.

The administration is watching the situation anxiously. ?You need one stabbing and the place can go up in flames? said a former state Home Secretary.

Of course the additional anxiety is about those whose family members are working in Iraq and have been abducted.

Most of them are non-Muslims but Muslims are also praying that they return safe. ?That boy? said Amira bi who was having tea in Nakkhas, pointing to the TV screen showing relatives of those abducted ?is also someone's son?.

It is chance encounters like this that reinforce faith in Indian-ness. It is not all about Muzaffarnagar.

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