A copy of a report in Roznama Sahafat
In India, U.S. outreach to Indian Muslims has been rejected by leading Islamic clerics, who have accused the U.S. and Israel of working in tandem to weaken Muslim countries. In recent meetings with officials of the U.S. Embassy in India, clerics of leading Islamic seminaries – Darul Uloom Deoband and Jamia Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur – questioned the American role in the Islamic world and accused the U.S. of conspiring to blow up the two holiest mosques of Islam, in Mecca and Medina. In recent sermons and protest meetings, Sunni and Shi'ite clerics also questioned U.S. and Israeli policies towards Palestinians and the Arab countries, and went on to allege American-Jewish conspiracies against the Islamic world.
According to a report in the Urdu-language daily Roznama Sahafat, prominent Islamic cleric Mufti Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali, who is the qazi (Islamic shari'a judge) for Lucknow, capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, strongly condemned the U.S. and Israel in his sermon before Friday prayers, urging Muslims to be ready to defend the sacred places of Islam.
According to another Roznama Sahafat report, Shi'ite cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad told an anti-U.S. protest meeting that U.S. and Israeli agents are conspiring against him because he is the only Shi'ite cleric at the forefront of protest against the U.S. and Israel.
Another report, in Dnaindia.com, stated that U.S. outreach to Muslims was rejected by leading Islamic seminaries Darul Uloom Deoband and Jamia Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur, with the clerics calling U.S. policy towards Muslims and Islam unjust. It also noted that James Plasman, an official of the U.S. Embassy in India, visited the seminaries as part of a goodwill exercise launched by U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell, but encountered severe criticism.
Below are excerpts of Indian media reports on statements by Sunni and Shi'ite clerics in India with regard to their positions on the U.S. role in the Islamic world, as well as antisemitic allegations that the Jews and Christians are working to spread hatred among Muslims in India, and coverage of the U.S. officials' visits. The reports were published by Roznama Sahafat and dnaindia.com.
Roznama Sahafat, May 26: Report On Qazi Mufti Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali
"American and Israeli Agents… Are Sowing the Seeds of Hatred in This Country Through Their Lovely Faces"
"[Lucknow] Qazi Mufti Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali led Friday prayers at Mashahidi mosque at Khadra [Lucknow], briefing the people about recent events, in the presence of ulema [Islamic clerics], imams [prayer leaders] of various mosques, teachers and students of Madaris [religious schools].
"Mufti Sahib said, 'We all strongly condemn the U.S. and Israel, and we are ready to safeguard the sacred places [of Mecca and Medina] at all times.'
"Mufti sahib asked the Muslims to grasp the rope of Allah with piety and honesty, and to be steadfast with one Allah, one Prophet [Muhammad] and one Book [i.e. the Koran], one Kalimah [the belief that 'There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger'], and to join it with the life of the Khwaja of India [referring to the 12th-13th century sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, considered the first great preacher of Islam in India].
"He asked the people to beware of those who are trying to create hatred and dishonesty among Muslims in the garb of preaching and peace, and by becoming the contractors of religion, and who are turning religious places into the centers of trade and politics. By hoodwinking Muslims, [he said,] they are destroying their prayers and acquiring wealth and property for themselves and are buying this world by selling out the Hereafter.
"He urged the government of UP [Uttar Pradesh] to help them in keeping vigil over the American and Israeli agents who are sowing the seeds of hatred in this country through their lovely faces. He asked them not to let their designs succeed, and not to let terrorism prosper.
"He wanted to tell the Congress government [of India] through the UP government to stop enmity with Islam and to expel the Israeli agents from the country, as they are a cause of concern for India itself."
"Today, the Arab Kings Are Operating Under the Tutelage of Jews and Christians, Who Are the Source of Destruction There"
"He said that once India had sympathy for the Palestinians, but that now America and Israel are gaining importance, and their agents are working everywhere. Mufti sahib said that the Koran had made a pious person [i.e. the Saudi king] custodian of the Kaaba but that [it is doubtful] whether there is piety and piousness in Saudi Arabia along the lines of Koran, or whether it is occupied by the kings of Rome and Caesar.
"The prophet had come to end their rule and Sahaba (RA) [companions of the Prophet] did the same. Mufti sahib recited Verse 51-55 of Surah Maedah [in the Koran], saying, 'Do not make Jews and Christians your patron, else you will also become one among them.'
"But today, the Arab kings are operating under the tutelage of Jews and Christians, who are the source of destruction there. Their armies are occupying. The Saudis do not have their own army that could safeguard the two sacred places [i.e. the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina]… He asked all Muslims to raise banners with 'Down with the U.S. and Israel' on them over their houses.
"He also asked the Muslims to unite for the sake of God and the Prophet, and to become a lead wall against the enemies, and to beware of those spreading hatred and enmity.
"The protest concluded with the passionate dua [prayer] of Mufti Sahib, and the memorandum meant for the Prime Minister [of Indian Manmohan Singh was handed to [a local government official].…"
Roznama Sahafat, May 26: Report On Shi'ite Cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad
Shi'ite Cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad: "American And Israeli Agents Are Conspiring Against Me"; "Lucknow Is Becoming The Center Of American And Israeli Conspiracies"
"Throwing light on contemporary events, Maulana [Kalbe Jawwad] said that those who desecrated the mosque of Asifi [at Lucknow] and the prayers are being taken to meet the Chief Minister [of Uttar Pradesh], which is a humiliation to the Shi'ites. He said that Lucknow is becoming the center of American and Israeli conspiracies. He said that he is the only Shi'ite who has been keeping the protest flag raised against the U.S. and Israel, and that this is why the agents of those countries are busy hatching conspiracies against him.
"He [said that he] has always strived for Shi'a-Sunni unity, but that the agents of the anti-Muslim forces and the people with RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a radical Hindu party] mentality in the government cannot stand him; such people [he said] have always been his enemies, whatever the government [of any political party].
"He said that the instigators of riots during Chehlum [40 days after Ashura, the 10th day of the Islamic calendar] and Bara Wafat [the birth and death anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad] are still present in the district administration [of Lucknow] and threaten the peace in the city….
"Our most important protest is against the U.S. and Israeli conspiracies against Mecca and Medina, [he said, and added that] that is why Shi'a and Sunni both should participate.
"After the Friday prayer, slogans were raised against America and Israel, on the call of Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali, the Qazi of the city."
Dnaindia.com, May 26: Special Report On U.S. Officials' Visits
Islamic Cleric Maulana Mohammad Salman: "Your Country Is Threatening Iran, But [Is] Shielding Israel"; "Even An Illiterate Muslim Would Not Believe" Statements By U.S. Officials
"The delegation [led by James Plasman] visited both the madrassas quietly. They had asked local authorities to keep their visit under wraps. It is generally believed that the Taliban [in Pakistan] had learned their interpretation of Islam while studying at Deobandi seminaries in Pakistan [i.e. the Pakistani seminaries that owe their theological leaning to the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary in India].
"At their first destination, at Jamia Mazahir Uloom [in the town of] Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh, chief cleric Maulana Mohammad Salman told the delegation that American policies were unjust and would lead to anarchy. 'Your country is threatening Iran, but [is] shielding Israel,' the Maulana said.
"He… mentioned how the U.S. administration let off an American priest [sic] who had allegedly burned the Holy Koran, and also issued warrants against Sudan's General Umar-al-Bashir for acting against Christians.
"He even interrupted James Plasman, who was trying to explain that the U.S. was as pluralistic as India and was not against Islam. The chief cleric told the delegation that 'America by its actions, evident from desecration of the Holy Koran [in Afghanistan as well as in the U.S. by Florida-based pastor Terry Jones], the recent revelations of curricula being taught to U.S. soldiers [about Islam, referring to New York police being briefed on radical Islam], and urinating on dead bodies [of the Taliban by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan] has only highlighted how much America hates Muslims.'
"At their second destination at Deoband, rector Mufti Abul Qasim Noamani and his deputy Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrassi raised the issues of Palestine, in addition to discrimination and profiling of Muslims. They told the U.S. officers that even an illiterate Muslim would not believe their statements."
Roznama Sahafat, May 25: Report On U.S. Delegates' Visit To Deoband
Maulana Khaliq Madrasi: "Deoband Does Not Like Any Damage-Control Efforts By the U.S. And Condemns It In Every Way"; Report: "Darul Uloom [Deoband] Called the U.S. Plan To Blow Up Mecca and Medina With An Atom Bomb Extremely Condemnable"
"James Plasman, a political affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy suddenly called on the responsible persons [Rector Mufti Abul Qasim Noamani and his deputy Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrassi] of Darul Uloom Deoband. The responsible persons at the [Darul Uloom Deoband's] Guest House openly criticized and condemned the U.S.'s anti-Islam and anti-Muslim policies. They said that the U.S. has torn its own claims of spreading democracy, peace and justice into pieces through its policies on the ground.
"On one hand it attacks Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden, and there it massacres innocent people besides destroying hospitals and schools. On the other hand, it is destroying Iraq, and trying to weaken and do away with other Muslim countries. Beside that, the U.S. not only openly supports Israeli anti-Muslim policy, but it also provides them aid. Israel is committing open tyranny over the Palestinians and is hell-bent on destroying Masjid-e-Aqsa [Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem] and is digging trenches and vigorously preparing to turn Masjid-e-Aqsa into the Temple Mount, as the U.S. plays the pipes of peace.
"Criticizing further, the responsible persons at Darul Uloom said that a Christian pastor [Terry Jones] had burned the sacred Koran, and that the U.S., the standard-bearer of peace, had maintained silence over it, and provided him with protection – so much so that now the U.S. wants to destroy Mecca and Medina too as per latest reports. Darul Uloom [Deoband] called the U.S. plan to blow up Mecca and Medina with an atom bomb extremely condemnable, and expressed grief and rage over it, and said that U.S. foreign policy is based on Muslim enmity.
"Also, they asked James Plasman to surely send these feelings [back to the U.S.]. The deputy VC [vice chancellor] of Darul Uloom Maulana Khaliq Madrasi, expressing Muslim feelings, told James Plasman, especially on the behalf of the Darul Uloom administration, that Deoband does not like any damage-control efforts of the U.S. and condemns it in every way…."
Roznama Sahafat, May 26: Report On U.S. Official's Visit and Reactions By Jamia Mazahirul Uloom Cleric
"All U.S. Policy Is Based On Enmity With Islam and Hurts Muslim Sentiments – And Because Of This Terrorism Is Growing Throughout The World"
"James Plasman called on the authorities at Jamia Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh where he was briefed about the history of Jamia. Replying to a question about what was the real need of Muslims in this country, Maulana Mohammad Shahid, secretary of the Jamia Mazahir Uloom, said: 'We are associated with education and are running educational institutions; therefore, we believe that education is the greatest need. Therefore, Muslims should associate themselves with education and be a good citizen to play their role in the progress and development of the country….'
"Maulana Mohammad Shahid and Maulana Salman [rector of Jamia Mazahir Uloom] told Mr. James [Plasman] that the U.S. should suspend its anti-Islam policies. On this, Mr. James [Plasman] told them about the U.S. policy that it is a democratic country and there is no ban on Islam in that country and that Muslims are not hated. To this, the authorities of the madrassa replied that the U.S. only makes verbal claims of democracy and respect to all religions, while in their country the Koran is burned formally by religious leaders, after announcing it in advance, and no action is taken by the government – but in India, if there is any disrespect against any a sacred book, the government takes immediate action.
"Expressing their grief and rage the madrassa authorities asked the guests [James and his colleague Dinesh Dubey] whether they would call what the U.S. is doing with Iraq, Palestine and other countries 'democracy' and 'civilized society.' [They asked whether] the obnoxious way that the U.S. treats war prisoners and the beyond-description attitude they show towards them was also democracy. Expressing the emotion and feelings of Muslims around the world, Maulana Mohammad Shahid said that the U.S. should stop hating Islam and Muslims and adopt a unified policy for all. It should not adopt one policy for Palestine and another for Israel.
"When Mr. James tried to emphasize the U.S. policies, Maulana Shahid told him in clear words: Let the U.S. follow its own policy, which will bear no result except that that hatred against the U.S. would increase among Muslims. Maulana Shahid said emphatically that if the U.S. thinks that it would eradicate Islam from the world, then [it is mistaken, and] this will never happen, and the greatest proof of that is that the number of people embracing Islam has increased in the U.S. and in Europe.
"He said categorically that all U.S. policy is based on enmity with Islam and hurts Muslim sentiments, and that because of this, terrorism is growing throughout the world. If the U.S. treats everyone with justice, [he said,]... terrorism will end in the world.
"[He asked,] 'What is the reason that the U.S. puts sanctions on Iran if it wants nuclear weapon for peaceful purposes, but … it does not say anything if Israel is hoarding nuclear weapons? This is dual policy which is hypocrisy and tyranny.
"The secretary of the madrassa asked Mr. James whether terrorism ended after the U.S. spent billions of dollars to wipe out terrorism. It got defeated by a few Mullahs [clerics], although [the U.S. is] the superpower.…"