The last time the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH) hit the headlines was in November 2009 when it reiterated an old fatwa against singing Vande Matram. And now the supposedly nationalist organization is at it again — last week, at its managing committee's meeting in Delhi, JUH ( Mahmood Madani faction) cautioned Muslims against "vices" such as television, cinema and condoms.
Couched in purple Urdu prose, the organization's tajaweez (resolutions) are coterminus with the Taliban's tyrannical social agenda. "The Taliban too chooses the gullible masses to preach puritanical Islam to. Conservatism is only a step behind fanaticism and JUH's programme does resemble the initial social agenda of the Taliban," says political scientist Zaheer Ali who, like many others, is appaled that JUH, a nationalist body of clerics, should conduct itself like the Jamaat-e-Islami, a peddler of fundamentalist Islam.
Unlike the Jamaat-e-Islami which advocates the establishment of Nizame-e-Mustafa (Rule of the Prophet) on earth, by violent methods if need be, JUH, launched in 1919, traces its origins to the non-violent, anti-imperialism of the Mahatma. It is its stellar service to Indian nationhood and Indian Muslims that makes the organization's present priorities so depressing.
"By asking Muslims to boycott television and films, they are Islamizing non-Islamic issues," remarks Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.
But JUH leaders want to start their social reforms from the other extreme end. "Watching television and cinema are haram. They are the tools of Satan and must be buried as soon as possible," declares Mahmood Madani, who is bent on carrying out the proposed anti-television campaign. Madani blames the media for selectively choosing to highlight a few issues discussed in the nine-point resolution at JUH's Delhi meet while ignoring other "important" points like the demand for Muslim reservation in education and jobs.
However, the task of purging Muslims of "Satanic tools" like television is likely to be difficult. That Muslims, like other Indians, are enticed by television is borne out by a recent survey. "As many as 50 per cent of Muslim households in Maharashtra own television sets while only 26 per cent own cooking gas connections," reports Dr Abdul Shaban of the Centre for Development Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Shaban, who will soon submit the survey's report to the state government, adds that denying Muslims the benefits of mass communication will further marginalize the community.
Why do muslim leaders always try to push their society back in stone age??
What can be the reasons??