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NOVEMBER 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-11 No:167    *   NOVEMBER 2000 / SHABAN 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

COMMUNITY ROUNDUP


Board to Monitor Statutes Review Panel
PMO Scuttles Arrest of Bukhari
Ahmed Bukhari is now Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid
Discrimination, Marxist Style
Shifting of Haj Hqrs. to Delhi Opposed
Indian Muslims in UK Urge Repeal of UP Bill
30% Posts for Unani, Ayurved Doctors
Moily, Hegde Share Al-Ameen Award
Neuro-ICU at Owaisi Hospital
16th Branch of Pune Muslim Bank
Allana Management Institute
'Handbook of Muslim Education'
Urdu Varsity Centres in the Gulf States
IT Seminar
Quran Week
People....

Muslim Personal Law

Board to Monitor Statutes Review Panel

Azmathulla Shariff

Bangalore: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has set up a 4-member Committee to monitor the constitutional Review Panel's proceedings. The committee will present the objections and concerns of the committee to the Review Panel headed by Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah. It also set up a 4-member committee to monitor the work of Justice Liberhan Commission which is probing the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 9, 1992. The committee has Shabbir Nooruddin, Moulana Sajjad R. Nomani, Habib Basha and Zafaryab Jeelani.

The Board which held its 14th national convention here issued a declaration which said that the rulers of the country were playing into the hands of imperial powers and compromising the interests of the people and the country. " Consequently, poverty and unemployment were increasing," it added. It said the slogan of Indianisation of Christianity and Islam were bogeys being raised to deflect the attention of the people and raising communal temperature.

Nikhanama Deferred

There was considerable dismay in a section of Board member on postponing the adoption of standard Nikahnama. According to the Board press release the Nikahnama prepared by a 4-member committee did not fully achieve the objective of the marriage contract. It was decided to return the Nikahnama to the committee to introduce necessary changes and safeguards and present it for further debate.

Board President Qazi Mujahidul Islam personally disapproved the postponment of the debate on Nikahnama and said he would expedite its reconsideration.

A public meeting addressed by the board leaders in Eidgah grounds witnessed a large turnout of Bangaloreans.

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PMO Scuttles Arrest of Bukhari

A. B. Masoud

New Delhi: The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Union Home Ministry which were locking horns on the issue of directing Delhi Police to arrest the former 'Shahi' Imam Syed Abdullah Bukhari of Delhi's historic Jama Masjid for over a month, have now come to terms and decided to keep the matter in abeyance. Delhi Police had sought permission to detain Imam for his alleged provocative remarks during a rally here last April. The Imam recently abdicated the pulpit in favour of his son Syed Ahmed Bukhari.

According to informed sources, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee personally came to the rescue of the Imam recently and prevented the Union Home Ministry from giving its nod fearing that the arrest of Bukhari would trigger communal clashes in the walled city. It is to be noted that Delhi Police that functions directly under the Central government had sought permission from the Union Home Ministry to arrest and prosecute the high-profile Imam.

Taking cognizance of Shahi Imam's speech at the 'Mazhab Bachau Rally' at Ramlila ground in Delhi. Delhi Police had filed a case against him under the charges of treason and sedition. In his alleged inflammatory speech, Bukhari had lambasted the official agencies for branding Indian Muslims as ISI agents. He declared at the rally that he was the biggest ISI agent and dared the government to arrest him.

Delhi Police also wanted to teach Imam a lesson seeking permission to book him in another case of treason for his remarks on Jammu and Kashmir. In an interview to a local Urdu daily, Imam had termed the Chattisingpura Sikh massacre on the eve of American President Bill Clinton's visit, as the handiwork of official agencies hatched at the behest of the Prime Minister. He went on further to say that the massacre was aimed to tarnish the image of Muslims and Islam in the eyes of visiting dignitary and to create chasm between Sikhs and Muslims.

Thereafter, Union Home Ministry officials held several meetings with Delhi police officials to discuss the repercussions of Imam's arrest. Following the high-profile drama enacted in Mumbai recently leading Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray to appear in the court, Union Home Minister L. K. Advani is believed to have told his officials that there was need to show Imam his right place. Sources said Advani was particular to enact part-II of Thackeray drama in Delhi and creating an ellusion that nobody was above law.

But, the PMO swung into action soon and held back Advani's proposal. One argument stemmed out of the PMO was that by arresting high-profile Imam who is in twilight of his life and was soon to abdicate his throne would provide grist to the mill of opponents longing to label the government as of Hindu zealots. Already there had been attacks against the government for being too soft to Hindu extremists. The Home Ministry had to finally give in to the PMO's argument.

Furthermore, according to legal experts, the case against the Imam was full of holes and could not stand for trial in the court of law for a minute. They say that Bukhari pronounced the controversial remarks in the context of a particular situation.

It is also said that Imam Bukhari had even himself contacted the Prime Minister through an emissary to thwart his arrest. Imam is facing a dozen cases in different courts across the country. Whenever, any of these courts in past issued arrest warrants against him, Delhi Police complied with the unusual reply that "Imam is presently out of Delhi." (ends)

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Fanfare at Succession

Ahmed Bukhari is now Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid

By A Staff Writer

New Delhi: The succession ceremony of the Naib Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari to the post of Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid has evoked bitter reaction among capital’s Muslims.

The elaborate ceremony on October 14 amid fireworks, clappings and sloganeering smacked of coronation ceremony of a king. The whole area had been decked up with lights and the din raised by the “Dastarbandi” (tying of turban) sent ripples of vibrations through the premises of the historic Shahjehani Mosque.

Ahmed Bukhari is the 13th direct line descendent of the first Imam Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari who had been called from Bukhara in Central Asia. Ahmed’s father Abdullah Bukhari had been anointed the Shahi Imam in 1973. According to Mughal traditions, the first son of the presiding Imam succeeds the father.

Most of the Old Delhi residents are critical of the ways of Syed Ahmed Bukhari and feel that the new Shahi Imam will politicise the post and provide the grist to the mill of Hindutva activists. Said Dr. Sultan Ahmed the new Imam will feel no qualims in abusing his position and use the pulpit for his political objectives.

All the imams so far were either Qari or Hafiz but the new imam is neither a Qari nor Hafiz. Shopkeepers of the area pointed out that Ahmed employs a number of gangsters who extorted the money from the area’s shopkeepers for the ceremony.

The ceremony was attended by a number of Muslim diplomats. A diplomat who refused to be identified objected to the way the ceremony was organised. However some participants even defended the imam. Khaja Rais Mian Faridi, Sajjada Nashin of Dargah Saleem Chisti of Fatehpur Sikri said it was necessary in the current context of the country. Jamia Millia professor Akhtarul Wasey too felt that the ceremony was necessary as the Jama Masjid was symbol of the glory of Indian Muslims.

The anointing of Syed Ahmed Bukhari has rendered the choice of naib imam (Deputy Imam) a ticklish issue. While Abdullah Bukhari’s second son is a claimant to the post, Ahmad Bukhari’s eldest son from his divorced wife, now a student at Darul Uloom, Deoband, too is in the race. Syed Ahmed Bukhari has time and again hinted at floating an all-India party. In the past he had set up Adam Sena, a volunteer organisation.

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Discrimination, Marxist Style

Marxists may brag about their secular bona fides, but when it comes to economic justice, Muslims get far less than their due

Mohammad Ashfaque in Calcutta

Unemployment is a major problem in West Bengal and it is most acute among the Muslims in the State as the community is a victim of unfortunate discrimination in matters of submission of names to the employers by the employment exchanges and placements in jobs in the private and public sectors. Despite the fact that during the past few years large number of frustrated unemployed Muslim youths have not renewed their registrations and, in sheer disgust, have even allowed their registrations to lapse, there were still 7,31,357 Muslim job seekers on the live registers of employment exchanges in the State at the end of the year 1999. Out of these unemployed Muslims, only 717 (0.098 %) were placed in employment through the employment exchanges during 1999.

In order to promote self employment a "Self Employment Scheme for the Registered Unemployed" (SESRU) is implemented in West Bengal through the 71 employment exchanges in the State. More than 3,000 branches of nationalised banks and other financial institutions like West Bengal Financial Corporation and West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board give loans for SESRU projects which are deemed to be viable. 25 per cent of the sanctioned project costs is made available by the State Government as subsidy. For screening the beneficiaries and for monitoring the scheme the State Government has formed Committees at the district and block levels.

The quantum of financial assistance under the above scheme are as follows :

  1. Upto Rs 25,000 for projects in trade/ business,
  2. Upto Rs 35,000 for projects in industries/service
  3. Upto Rs 48,000, Rs 49,000, Rs 50,000 for projects in autorickshaw, auto pick-up vans and auto delivery vans

Information furnished by the State Government in its own publication - Labour in West Bengal 1999 - reveals that the registered unemployed Muslims of West Bengal are not receiving proper justice even in the matter of Sponsor, Sanction and Disbursement of assistance/loans under this SESRU.

During the period from April 1, 1985 to December 31, 1999 (about 15 years) total number of 3,24,268 projects were sponsored by the employment exchanges in the State for the above self employment promotion scheme. Out of these, 37,411 (11.53 %) projects involved Muslim entrepreneurs.
West Bengal Government publication speaks for the anti-Muslim discrimination. The community's share in loans, projects and financial allocations is around 10 per cent while it constitutes almost a quarter of the state population

During this period out of these 3,24,268 sponsored projects only 1,34,914 projects were sanctioned by the banks and financial institutions. The number of Muslim beneficiaries of such sanctions was only 13,688 (10.14 %). The percentage of sanction in relation to sponsoring in the case of projects of the Muslims was only 36.90 per cent compared to 41.60 per cent of sanctions for all categories.

During the 15-year period loans were actually disbursed by the banks and financial institutions for 1,12,151 projects. The number of Muslims in these beneficiaries was only 10,290 (9.18%). The percentage of disbursement in relation to sponsoring in the case of projects of the Muslims was only 27.50 per cent compared to 34.58 per cent in all categories.

During the period 1,12,151 unemployed persons had received finance amounting to Rs 201 crore (including 25 % subsidy from the State Government). Out of this, Muslims received only 18 crores (8.98 % of the total disbursement). Average disbursement of financial assistance during this period was Rs 16,600 per unit, which included a subsidy of Rs 4,150 paid by the State Government). It is estimated that each unit of SESRU generates employment of 1.6 persons. The Rs 210 crore had generated employment for 1,79,440 persons which included 16,464 Muslims.

Muslims constitute 24 per cent of the population of West Bengal Share of their benefits in the above Self Employment Promotion Scheme, SESRU during the 1985 and 1999 , was as follows:
Sponsored Projects : 11.53 %
Sanction : 10.14 %
Disbursement : 9.18 %
Amount Disbursed : 8.98 % 

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Shifting of Haj Hqrs. to Delhi Opposed

Mumbai Muslims oppose shifting of Haj Committee out of the City

M. H. Lakdawala

Mumbai: With Rs. 70 crore in its coffers, and Rs. 4 crore flowing every year, the sharks are fighting amongst themselves to control the Central Haj Committee (CHC) whose headquarters is in Mumbai. There is a proposal before the parliament to shift the Central Hajj Committee (CHC) from Mumbai to Delhi. If the pending draft of the new Haj Act is passed during its next session, the CHC would soon move out of Mumbai which has been its headquarters for more than 40 years.
Much of the Haj-related infrastructure built in Mumbai will be rendered a waste if the Haj headquarters is moved out to Delhi

The CHC and state Hajj committees help pilgrims to get passports, tickets and foreign exchange. They provide subsidized travel to pilgrims and set government approved quotas on the number of Hajis. The current quota allows 1,20,000 persons to perform Haj.

The present Hajj Act was constituted in 1959, prior to which there were Haj committees in Mumbai and Calcutta. Since Mumbai was the major port from where most pilgrims set out on their journey, it became the Headquarters of the CHC. However, today all pilgrims fly to Saudi Arabia from different embarkation points and thereby avoid a cumbersome visit to Mumbai.

Congress Member of Parliament from Pondicherry MOH Farook has moved the bill for the new Hajj Act. The arguments forwarded is that the principal secretaries of four central ministries, the finance, aviation, home and external affairs Ministries- with whom the committees has to interact are based in Delhi. According to the new Act these secretaries would also be part of the new CHC.

Could these self-proclaimed leaders let us know for whose benefit Haj Committees are formed? Nearly 22,000 Hajj pilgrims leave annually from Mumbai compared to 8,000 from Delhi. In the age of the information technology, where distance has shrunk it is insignificant where the CHC is located.

Besides what would happen to the CHC infrastructure in shape of 19 storeyed Haj House. It has 800-seat auditorium and also 80-seat conference hall. It has a state-of-art acoustic system. Besides Saudi Arabian Consulate and the Reserve Bank of India, two of the agencies with which CHC has to regularly interact are also in Mumbai.

Mr. Amin Khandwani, former chairman of CHC, under whose leadership, the current CHC headquarters building was constructed said, CHC is the hen laying golden eggs. While speaking to Islamic Voice, he said, "Politicians of all hues aspire to control CHC for status and all the perks that goes with its membership."

State labour minister Hussain Dalwai opposing the proposal said, "they are planning to shift a well organized system only because the present chairman of the committee is from North India." The current set of CHC members have majority of politicians from councillors to members of legislative assembly to retired bureaucrats. Instead of serving the cause of pilgrims most of these members are busy enjoying the perks.

It's no wonder that nine to ten members of CHC go to perform Hajj with the pilgrims in the name of serving them. A visit to CHC building in Mumbai suffices to gauge the efficiency of CHC. Smelling toilets to leaking ceiling to poor maintenance of the building speaks about the efficiency of the CHC. It is not that shifting CHC to Delhi would improve the service provided to Hajis. The only change would be the different set of politician based in North India taking over. Advocate Saeed Ahkter of Maharashtra Muslim Advocate Forum opines that it is high time CHC should be freed from the clutches of self-seeking politicians. "People from all walks of life such as academicians, economist, industrialists etc. should be appointed to CHC, so that proper services are provided to Hajj Pilgrims", he said. 

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Indian Muslims in UK Urge Repeal of UP Bill

By A Staff Writer

Bangalore : The London based Indian Muslim Federation (UK) has sent a memorandum signed by 13,000 UK Indians protesting against the passing of the UP Regulation of Public Religious Buildings and Places Bill 2000. It urged the President K. R. Narayanan to withhold his assent to the Bill. The delegation met the Indian High Commissioner Nareshwar Dayal. Among the members of the delegation were President of the Federation Shamsuddin Agha, general secretary Irfan Mustafa, and treasurer A. K. Malek and Mohammad Ghazalie Khan.

This was disclosed here by Mr. Anwar Sharif, coordinator of the Federation. Mr. Sharif who was general secretary of the Federation for nearly 21 years and was here recently told Islamic Voice that the Federation represents the concerns of the Indian Muslims in Britain. He said there were nearly three lakh Muslims from India in Britain and they maintained close relations with the Indian missions in the UK. He said the Federation celebrates Independence Day and the Republic Day and liaises on issues of common concern. He said the Federation has raised donations on several occasions and sent them through the Indian High commissioner to Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

Mr. Sharif said Federation President Shamsuddin Agha led a delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva this year and presented a paper on Indian Muslims. The Federation also observes December 6 every year and urges the Government of India to reconstruct the Babri Masjid at its original site.

Mr. Sharif favoured the retention of Jammu and Kashmir within India to strengthen the secular character of the country.

Mr. Sharif , a former executive officer with the British Social Security Department, informed that the Federation had its offices in its own building in Trinity Close area of East London and conducted Urdu classes for the children of Indian origin. He said the Federation also runs Raahat Elderly Day Care Centre where 60 aged persons of South Asian origin were currently being looked after. The British government was assisting the centre monetarily. The Federation has an NGO consultative status with the ECOSOC, United Nations. The Federation can be contacted at : Coordinator Indian Muslim Federation Hall, Trinity Close, London E11 4RP, Ph.: 0181-5586399, Fax: 0181-5394129, e.mail: indianmuslimuk@hotmail.com.

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Entrance Test in Urdu Too

30% Posts for Unani, Ayurved Doctors

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has approved Urdu, Hindi and Marathi as the medium for examination for the common entrance test for admission to MBBS and Be in the test. So far the tests were held in English alone.

The Cabinet sub-committee that met in second week of October also decided to allow all applicants for Urdu medium schools to set up new schools. It also decided to reserve 30 per cent medical posting for the Ayurveda and Unani doctors.

The sub-committee also decided to allow Wakf Boards to prepare graveyards wherever such facility does not exist. It said the application for the same should be sent through collector or tahsildar. It also decided to compensate the Wakf Board for all such properties or land that were in Government use but belonged to the Waqfs.

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Moily, Hegde Share Al-Ameen Award

Bangalore: Former Chief ministers Veerappa Moily and Ramakrishna Hegde were jointly given the Al-Ameen National Integration Award 2000 at a function held here on October 9. The awards were presented by Al-Ameen Education society Syed Sadaqath Peeran respectively. In the address presented at the ceremony Al-Ameen listed the sanctioning of Al-Aman Medical College at Bijapur and constitution of Minority Commission in the state among Mr. Hegde's achievements. Mr. Veerappa Moily was louded for his government's in granting 4 per cent reservation in government jobs and education in Karnataka.

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Neuro-ICU at Owaisi Hospital

Hyderabad: The Neuro-Intensive Care Unit was inaugurated here at the Owaisi Hospital and Research Centre on October 10 by Hyderabad member of Parliament Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi. With 40 beds, this is considered to be the biggest Neuro-Intensive Care Unit in India. Owaisi also commissioned the ICU at Paediatric department and operation theatre on the third floor. The Owaisi Hospital is attached to Deccan College of Medical Sciences at Kanchan Bagh, Zafargadh in the outskirts of Hyderabad.

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16th Branch of Pune Muslim Bank

Pune: The Muslim Cooperative Bank here opened its 16th branch at Sangamner. Union Minister for Investment Balasaheb Vikhe Patil inaugurated the branch while state minister Balasaheb Thorat presided over the function. Managing Director of the 69-year old Muslim Cooperative Bank, Mr. P.A. Inamdar said Muslims must gain a solid foothold in the education and economic field. "Only then they can assert in the political field; he added.

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Allana Management Institute

Mumbai: The Anjuman Islam Allana Institute of Management Studies was inaugurated here on October 4 by Mumbai University vice chancellor Bhalchand Mongekar. Located in South Mumbai, the Institute is the first of such institution to be set up by a Muslim educational body. Dr. Mongekar said Muslim were the most educationally backward community and remedy of their ills lay in education. Dr. Badhwai is the director of the Institute.

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'Handbook of Muslim Education'

Bangalore: The Islamic Voice will publish a 'Handbook of Muslim Education', a directory of Muslim managed institutions in the South Indian states. It will carry names, addresses and other particulars of colleges, polytechnics, ITIs, and professional educational institutions. Muslim educational institutions in South India are requested to send their prospectus at the earliest for the current year to Islamic Voice, No.3, Palmgrove Road, Victoria Layout, Bangalore-560047, Ph: 5574815, 5544483.

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Urdu Varsity Centres in the Gulf States

Hyderabad : The Maulana Azad National Urdu University here will open study centres in Gulf states, for the benefit of Indians to study Urdu courses through distance education, vice-chancellor Professor M Shamim Jairajpuri has said.

He said study centres would be opened soon in Jeddah, Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar. The proposal for opening study centres abroad, as per the University Act, has been cleared in principle by university chancellor and former prime minister I. K. Gujral . However, a formal clearance by the Union Resource Development Ministry was awaited.

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IT Seminar

Bangalore: The Al-Ameen Education Society will organise a seminar on Information Technology during the month of November (dates are yet to be fixed) at Bangalore. The interactive seminar will discuss career prospects, knowledge base, experience required and practical steps needed to get into the IT field etc. IT experts from the Silicon Valley Vaseem Anjum, Najmul Huq, former UNESCO Adviser A.R. Kamaruddin etc. are likely to participate. For more details contact: Imran Khan, 080-2212393. Email:"abdulrahman kamaruddin"

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Quran Week

Bangalore: The Jamaat-e- Islami Hind will mark November 17-24 as Quran week for promotion of the Quranic message. Jamaat activists will approach officials and common masses with the message, address public gatherings. Radio and TV talks will be organised and non-Muslim intellectuals will be invited to talk on "Quran in my View". A special addition of the meaning of the Quran in Kannada will also be brought out synchronising the occasion.

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People....

Washington: Fareed Zakaria 35 has been appointed the new editor of Newsweek International. Son of Indian Islamic scholar Dr. Rafiq Zakaria, Fareed was eitherto editor of Foreign Affairs the most reputed foreign policy journal in the US for the last seven years. He will also contribute a piece to the Washington Past, a sister publication of the Newsweek. During Fareed's editorship, Foreign Affairs gained wider readership. It was during his tenure, that the magazine featured the 'Clash of Civilization' theory by Samuel P. Huntington.

Died: Prof. Mohammad Murtuza Siddiqui, noted Islamic scholar and teacher at Riyadh University died after a brief illness in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 4. Holding a doctorate from Osamnia University, Dr. Siddiqui had done post-doctoral studies at California University. He had done research on works of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jeelani and educational philosophy of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He was 58. He is survived by his widow, a son and a daughter.

Died Anwar Azeem: Noted Urdu journalist Anwar Azeem died in a Noida (near Delhi) hospital on October 20. He was 76. A leftist, Azeem had won the Society Land Nehru Award. He had served as editor of daily Istiqlal, Calcutta, Urdu Blitz, Mumbai and editor-in-charge of Soviet Land, the mouthpiece of Soviet Union. He also worked as a A grade translator at Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow for four years. He wrote nearly 250 short stories. He is survived by his widow Khadija Azeem, TV actress daughter Neelima Azeema and a son. He was born in Nawadeh in Bihar's Marxist citadel.

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