“We will bear oppression and pain, but never spoil the name of the country,” said Maulana Mahmood Madani, the President of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the top organization of the Islamic scholars and clerics in India. Historically this organisation had rejected the idea of Hindus and Muslims being non-compatible as a nation, an idea that led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Madani, a former Rajya Sabha member, was addressing the national convention of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind at Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. The focus of the convention was the ever-rising disputes on the ownership of mosques and other Islamic places.
He said the Jamait will take a decision on the issue on Sunday and also warned that "the decision will be irrevocable.”
“There will be no relenting after taking a decision,” he sent a subtle warning to those indulging in hate-mongering.
While addressing the gathering of about 5,000 ulemas, Maulana Madani’s voice turned hoarse and he had tears in his eyes.
Mahmood Madani said that others should learn from Muslims how to remain composed and be tolerant of the insults being heaped on them. “We will put up with all this and also bear the trouble, but never let the country's get a bad name,” he said.
Sending a message across the country, he said the campaign of Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind to promote peace and ignore hatred should not be taken as its weakness. “It is not our weakness, it’s our strength.”
“What do they want from us? The hate mongers are more vocal and visible; if we start speaking in their tone and stoop to their level, it would help only their cause,” he said.
Rejecting a tit-for-tat policy toward those spreading hatred of Muslims, Madani said “Fire cannot be put out with fire.”
Madani said Muslims can compromise on everything except their faith.
Hitting at the ruling dispensation, Madani said, “They talk about making the country a united India but on the ground, the Muslims are not allowed free movement.” Such persons, he said, are enemies of the country.
The convention is also discussing a proposal regarding Islamophobia that mentions increasing incidents of hatred against Muslims. The proposal says that “Islamophobia is not just aimed at creating enmity in the name of religion, but its practitioners are also working to create fear and hatred against Islam in the hearts and minds of common people.”.
He, however, told the Muslims that the “situation may be difficult but there is no need for despair.”
Maulana Madani also announced that Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind will hold “Sadbhavna sansad” at 1,000 places across the country to foster unity and people among the people of all religions. He however did not elaborate on this.