Being A Muslim These Days

If you happen to have a Muslim sounding name then you better be careful. You might be strip searched anywhere. Your 22 years of service might be ignored and you might be shunned out. And if your appearance also resembles to that of a Muslim then you better hibernate for some time; let the recent furor, caused by your so called brother in Islam, settle down. It’s becoming increasingly tough to be a Muslim these days. I was hoping that the Islamophobia caused after the Mumbai train bombing is sent to oblivion soon but alas it seems to get worse each day. A newspaper article blatantly carried the headline “20 suspects, all Muslim”. What else were they expecting!

Recently an assistant foreman was transferred from BARC.

Mohammed Farooquddin has been transferred in “public interest” to the Tarapur atomic power station. The assistant foreman was given three days to move. The reason given in his July 25 transfer order was “exigencies of work”.

After his transfer, Farooquddin was picked up by Trombay police and taken on August 5 to his Phulwarisharif village, 8 km from Patna, to identify his brother, Mohammed Ziauddin, who the police said was an activist of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The police returned to Mumbai on August 7 with the duo. While Farooquddin was released, Ziauddin has been under detention since, without any formal charges against him.

Information pieced together by HT from Farooquddin’s colleagues and BARC sources point to Ziauddin being a SIMI member and having worked as a temporary hand at the Mazgaon docks for about four months.

Scientists and Farooquddin’s colleagues confirmed that about 2 per cent of BARC’s employees are Muslims.

As a practice, these employees are under IB surveillance and their personal dossier is updated every two years, sources said.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi, however, denied there were any Muslim-specific internal checks.

The government denial has to substance. Here is another report which talks about a help line being setup for especially for minorities (read Muslims)

The Maharashtra government has decided to institute a 24-hours helpline at the State Minorities Commission for citizens, who may feel targeted or victimised in the wake of the recent terror attacks.

The panel will soon have district-level committees in all 33 districts of the state, as means of interacting with minorities and addressing their problems.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Thursday met the State Minorities Commission chairman Nassem Siddiqi and gave the go-ahead to the long-pending demands.

Siddiqi pointed out that the help-line would be under the charge of one IPS officer and additional staff could provide relief to complainants after checking their antecedents.

“In the wake of recent terror attacks there is fear among minorities that could fuel anti-establishment sentiments,” said Deshmukh, adding that the committees could be able to bridge the distance between communities and the state.

The district welfare committees would have 14 members headed by the collector and government officials including CEO of Zilla Parishad, education officer. “We have been keen on decentralizing the commission since 2004. There is no need for some one from Nanded to come to Mumbai for redressal,” pointed out Siddiqi.

The committees, headed by Collector, will have 14 members, including government officials and six prominent residents. The commission has sought to up its funding from Rs 2 crore to Rs 10 crore annually for the same.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLC from Marathwada, Fauziya Khan, welcomed the state move, and said it would prove to have a “soothing effect”.

More recently Tabligh Jamaat has been brought under the scanner. An organization which has its base in India.

AN ULTRA-ORTHODOX religious movement that originated in India — the Tablighi Jamaat — has been found to have links with the plot to blow up transatlantic flights. Some of the key figures, arrested last week, are part of a terrorism cell linked through the movement.

Friends and family of the suspects have said they were followers of Tablighi Jamaat that came under the scanner in India after the 11/7 Mumbai blasts.

Soon after the blasts, 11 Tablighis were detained in Tripura on suspicion. They were released after a week but their ordeal thrust the otherwise media-shy Jamaat into the spotlight.

Deobandi cleric and scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi launched the Tablighi Jamaat in 1924 in Meerut. Former Indian president Zakir Hussain and freedom fighter Maulana Mahmood ul Hassan are among the more famous personalities associated with it.

The Jamaat’s main impetus was to counter inroads being made by Hindu missionaries. However, members in Mumbai maintain that they have simply “revived the efforts of prophets, saints and rishi-munis”.

Tabligh means ‘to give a message’.

The Tablighis insist that it’s not a ‘group’ or ‘organisation’ or ‘movement’. They call it an effort that makes practical human beings and ‘purifies’ those who have gone astray.

India is the seat of this effort — the headquarters for the Jamaat (known as a Markaz) is in Nizamuddin, New Delhi — which has now spread as far as Europe and the US.

These incidents have caused a sense of uneasiness and terror in minds of a Muslim like me. I feel as if my freedom has been curtailed. I should think twice before becoming a member of any Islamic organization or even writing here! Who knows I might be already under surveillance. These are minor incidents but they can have far reaching consequences if not given the proper attention they deserve.

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