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Yet another Unity Conference but with Collective Efforts

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New Delhi: Prominent community and religious leaders of different hues held a closed-door meeting on 8 August 10, 2021, at a hotel in Jamia Nagar here. The meeting’s primary purpose was to explore the common ground for Ittehad-e-Millat, or ‘Unity among the community.’ A 5-point charter was passed following the day-long deliberations, and a committee of 22-diverse members was formed to carry forward the agenda adopted in the conference.
A resolution adopted at the conference called for the adoption of all possible means to promote unity and consensus and refrain from engaging in any discourse that would offend those belonging to any sect or school of thought.
In his online address from Lucknow, Maulana Syed Rabe Husaini Nadwi, President, All India Muslim Personal Laaw Board (AIMPLB), has set the deliberations in motion. Welcoming the effort, he said it is the need of the hour that all kinds of people should sit together to solve the issues of the community.
Urging Islamic scholars, experts, and community leaders to come on a platform, noted Islamic scholar Nadawi said they need to guide the community confronting socio, economic and security problems in the light of Quran and Hadees.
He added that whatever hurdles come in the way of Muslim unity should be removed, and Islamic scholars should arrive at one platform.
In his welcome address, Fiqh Academy general secretary Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, who presided over all the three sessions, explained in detail the primary purpose of the Ittehad Millat conference and its mission. He also read out a 9-point pledge for forging unity in the community.
Syed Sadatullah Husaini, Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said that most of the unity efforts have been on defense.
“We now need to take a proactive position instead of a defensive one. It needs to be encouraged, and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind India will be part of any such efforts.
The resolution also stated that the meeting reminded the Muslims of India to fight Hindu extremist and anti-social elements with full courage and to exercise their right to defend their lives, property, and honor under the laws of the land. All these steps should be done within the ambit of the law.
Apart from focusing on unity, the resolution says that Muslims should develop better relations with non-Muslims.
The attention of Muslim students should be drawn to the knowledge which benefits the community. The oppressed should be helped, and Muslims should play their role in the development of the country.
The conference was addressed by well-known leaders including Arshad Madani and Mahmood Madani, Presidents of their respective factions of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind; Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat; Maulana Khaleelurrahman Sajjad Noumani; Professor Akhtarul Wasey, chief of Jamiat Al-hadees Maulana Asghar Imam Mahdi Salfi, rector of Darul Uloom Deoband Mufti Abul Qasim; President Ulema and Mashaikh Board Maulana Ashraf Kachhochuvi; Dr. Aziz, younger brother of Syed Na Tahir Fakhr-ud-Din, leader of Bohra community and others. Because of pandemic fear, most of the leaders were not physically present in the conclave, and they took the help of a video conferencing tool to deliver their speeches.
Speaking with Islamic Voice, Dr. Mohammed Manzoor Alam, general secretary of All India Milli Council, said four fundamental goals behind the meeting. First, appreciation. It is necessary to appreciate people working in any area; second, coordination among those working in any field as they are assets for the community; third, cooperation. Those active in any area should be helped; and fourth, a collaboration between different people.
Dr. Alam, who is believed to be the leading spirit behind this unity show, said unlike the past, it was not a person or organization’s efforts but of 17 top community leaders who head their respective organizations.
He added that my son and Ajmal Farooq Nadwi criss-crossed the country for the last year and met all leading personalities who welcomed the idea of meeting and emphasized the need for it.
Although, past efforts in this regard did not yield any result prompting critics to term such deliberation as “favourite pastime for some leaders.
It is to recall that All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat had organized three such meetings in the last four years to find the solutions of the problems, but nothing concrete has happened so far.
Dr. Alam said that we had learned lessons from past mistakes, and we are committed to taking forward this move to its logical conclusion. He emphasized that the present atmosphere and the rise of communal and fascist forces in the country do not allow such sectarian bickering in the community.
A committee consisting of 22 members from different sects and schools of thought was formed, keeping in mind the present situation in the country,. The committee will hold a ‘Wahdat-e-Millat Conference’ (Muslim Unity Conference) every year and prepare people from different institutions for this goal so that Muslim unity is achieved.
However, Ittehad-e-Millat is a complex issue that cannot be solved in a few hours meeting as sectarian differences are the biggest hurdle for unity within the community.
Apart from religious leaders, it needs the involvement of intelligentsia from different streams of social sciences and media.
There could be various reasons for keeping the event out of the reach of the media. It is said that “some of the participants” cannot face the public other than their “ghettos” as “some endorsed CAA, some remained reluctant and nonchalant” in the nationwide protest against the citizenship regime.
Maulana Mustafa Rifai Jilani presented a vote of thanks who said the participants are determined to carry forward this noble mission of unity.