Shia and Sunni leaders are deriding the Tablighi Jamaat for its ‘irresponsible’ behavior though the tone and tenor of the attack varies and the reason for this are the personal equations of the religious leaders.
For instance, UP Shia Central Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi accused the Tablighi Jamaat of deliberately getting its followers infected with coronavirus and sending them to India so that maximum people get infected.
“Such a mentality deserves death and nothing less. The organization should be banned,” he stated.
Maulana Kalbe Jawaad who shares an uneasy equation with Rizvi, has maintained a silence on the issue though when asked, he did say, “The Tablighi Jamaat should not have organized the congregation and action must be taken against those responsible.”
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, also a Shia leader, tweeted, “Talibani Crime by Tablighi Jamaat. This is not a negligence. It’s a serious criminal act. When the entire country is fighting united against corona, such a sin is unpardonable.”
UP Minister Mohsin Raza, also a Shia, described Tablighi Jamaat as an extremist organization and demanded a ban on such organizations for alleged involvement in anti-national activities.
Sunni cleric Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, who normally stays away from controversies, said, “The incident if unfortunate. It is endangering the lives of many. Action should be taken against those responsible for it.”
He further said that those who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting should get themselves tested.
The Dargah Ala Hazrat in Bareilly has already demanded a ban on the Jamaat.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, arguably the largest organization of Muslims in the country, said the Tablighi Jamaat should not have held such a meeting at a time when the whole world is fighting the epidemic.
Jamiat’s general secretary and former MP in Rajya Sabha, Maulana Mahmood Madani was quoted as having said that the guilty should be punished.
“But it should not be done through a media trial. Governments and legal systems should decide the punishment. Their version should also be heard. Lakhs of people were on the roads after the lockdown. This is one reason why some hundreds of people were stuck in their office. The mismanagement in carrying out the lockdown is also to be blamed for what happened,” Madani was quoted as having said.
Madani said there are ten lakh mosques in the country. “We all decided to accept the governments’ orders and closed down the mosques. But if four or five mosques opened during the lockdown, the entire community should not be blamed. Already, there is Islamophobia in the country. Such incidents should not add to this problem,” he said.
Jamiat spokesperson Niaz Farooqui added that the community should not get a feeling of witch-hunting. “The gravity of the problem is large. Instead of addressing this problem, we are engaging in blame-game. Positivity is needed,” he said.