Muslim Umbrella Organization: Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan-led Mushawarat Asserts Official Status, Unveils New Leadership

0
96
Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan (fourth from left) addresses mediapersons at the Hotel River View in Abul Fazal Enclave, Okhla, New Delhi, on July 1, 2024.

By Anwarulhaq Baig

NEW DELHI—In a significant move for India’s Muslim community, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, former chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, announced key office bearers for the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (Registered). He asserted that his faction is the legitimate, government-registered entity with broad support from Muslim organizations and leaders previously affiliated with the umbrella platform.

Dr. Khan, a renowned Islamic scholar, was unanimously elected chairman of his faction of the Mushawarat in a general body meeting held last month at the New Horizon Public School here. At a press conference held at the Hotel River View in Abul Fazal Enclave, Okhla, New Delhi, he announced the office-bearers for the term June 2024-June 2026. The newly appointed officials include:

  • Vice Presidents: Prof. Mohammad Sulaiman, Maulana Jinan Asghar Moulai, and Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi
  • General Secretary: Masoom Moradabadi
  • Working General Secretary: Syed Tahsin Ahmad
  • Secretary: Dr. Jawed Ahmad
  • Treasurer: Shamsuz Zoha
  • Executive Member: Abrar Ahmad Makki

A 21-member Governing Body was also announced. Their names are: Mr Feroz Khan Ghazi (Advocate), Mr Shabbir Ahmad Ansari, Dr Anwarul Islam, Dr Basir Ahmad Khan, Mr Manzoor Ahmad IPS (retd), Hafiz Rashid Ahmad Choudhary, Mr Kamal Faruqui, Maulana Jalal Haider Naqvi, Grp. Capt. Mohammad Anwar, Prof. Arshi Khan, Dr S. Maharul Hasan, Mr Suhail Anjum, Mr Shahid Sharif Shaikh, Mrs Uzma Naheed, Mr Abdul Rashid Agwan, Hafiz Manzoor Khan, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, Maulana Mohammad Sufiyan Qasmi, Dr Qazi Zainussajideen Qasmi, Mr Aamir Edresy, Dr Kausar Usman.

Dr. Khan claimed strong community support, stating that their faction has 135 members, surpassing the 90 members present when the two Mushawarat factions merged in 2013. He criticized the old Mushawarat, known as the Mushawarat (Navaid Faction) faction having Adv Feroze Ansari as its president, for inactivity and silence on crucial community issues, expressing concern over increasing incidents of violence against Muslims, citing recent lynching cases in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat. He also highlighted the issue of Muslim homes being demolished, despite residents having documentation and paying land taxes.

He emphasized the need for concrete efforts at all levels to address these challenges. He vowed that this united platform would take collective and sincere steps to address the community’s concerns. He stressed the pressing need for unified Muslim representation in India, which has driven the efforts to revive the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM).

Dr. Khan, the newly elected president of Mushawarat (Regd.), stated that the AIMMM, originally established in 1964, has been facing internal turmoil for the past few years. According to Dr. Khan, the organization fell into the hands of “non-serious people” who made several controversial decisions, including the expulsion of nearly 70 prominent long-standing members and the imposition of a new constitution through allegedly undemocratic means.

“The situation had reached a point where the old Mushawarat had lost its standing in the country and among the community. Even on crucial issues, the old Mushawarat preferred to remain silent,” Dr. Zafarul Islam said. This state of affairs, he noted, caused great distress among serious-minded members of the Muslim community, who repeatedly urged him to take action.

Dr. Khan revealed that he reluctantly accepted the responsibility to revive the organization. He emphasized that his current role is temporary, stating, “I took this responsibility saying that since my name is written as president in the registration documents, I will fulfill this responsibility until the organization is revived and elections are held, but I will not become the next president. I still stand by this opinion.”

The revival efforts are rooted in the fact that the AIMMM (Registered) under Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan’s name with the Registrar of Societies in New Delhi remains legally valid. This registration, originally made in 2003 during the time of the late Maulana Mohammad Salim Qasmi, was transferred to Dr. Zafarul Islam’s name. Dr. Khan asserts that only their organization is officially and legally recognized, while the other faction operates as an unregistered entity without legal status.

The governing body of the revived AIMMM (Registered) consists of nine members, most of whom actively participated in the revival efforts. Several informal and formal meetings have been held over the past few months, resulting in important decisions, including the expansion of the governing body as per the constitution and a general body meeting held on June 9, 2024, in Delhi. This general body meeting addressed the revival of the original Mushawarat, made crucial decisions for the future, and conducted elections for the next term in which Dr.  Khan was elected its president.

“In accordance with the AIMMM (Registered) constitution, the governing body can have up to 21 members. Now 12 more members have been added to join the existing nine,” Dr. Khan emphasized.

The revived AIMMM (Registered) aims to be inclusive, retaining all members from before late 2016 and reinstating those who were allegedly expelled illegally during the tenure of Navaid Hamid as old Mushawarat’s president. Dr. Khan asserts that the AIMMM (Registered) is also reaching out to prominent individuals and organizations to join as new members, with the goal of establishing AIMMM as a truly representative body for Indian Muslims.

Dr. Khan pointed out the serious challenges facing the Muslim community in India and warned, “There are concerns that the problems may take an even more frightening shape in the next few years. To face these challenges, unity within the community and a strong, credible voice for the community is extremely necessary.”

The revival efforts, however, are not without controversy. The AIMMM faction currently led by Feroze Ansari, continues to operate. Dr. Zafarul Islam revealed that recent attempts at reconciliation between the two factions have not yielded results. He mentioned a meeting with the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) leaders, in which JIH leaders told him that representatives of the Navaid Hamid faction expressed willingness to resolve issues and make constitutional amendments.

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan recounted, “On May 31, 2024, I received a call from JIH Vice President Malik Motasim Khan, informing me that Feroze Ansari, the president of Mushawarat (Navaid Hamid faction), Maulana Asghar Imam Mehdi Amir of Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, and Mr. Mansoor Agha had come to say that they want to resolve all issues and are ready to do so. Therefore, they requested a meeting with our group, and the JIH president wanted to meet some people from our group.”

Consequently, Dr. Zafarul Islam and Dr. Basheer Ahmad Khan met with the JIH president Syed Sadatullah Husaini the next morning. JIH Vice Presidents Malik Motasim Khan and Prof. Salim Engineer were also present at the meeting.

Dr. Zafarul Islam said, “The JIH president informed us that the people from Mushawarat (Navaid Hamid faction) want to resolve the issues and are ready to make constitutional amendments and reinstate the expelled members, but they want a meeting. I said that Feroze Ansari has been president for 14 months but hasn’t thought about this until now, and they’re talking about a meeting just when our group is scheduled to meet on June 9, 2024. If they wanted to do something, they could have done it in these fourteen months. And if they still want to do it, they can – who’s stopping them? Everyone participating in the meeting agrees with them. Still, the JIH president and especially Prof. Salim insisted that there’s no harm in having a meeting. I sought advice from the colleagues of the Governing Body on the same day via WhatsApp message. The vast majority of respondents did not agree with this proposal. Their opinion was that the time for such understanding has passed. If they really wanted to do this, they would have done it much earlier. The majority of the Governing Body also opined that understanding can still happen after our June 9, 2024 meeting, and the path of reconciliation will always remain open, but on those points which Mr. Malik Moatasim Khan himself had identified two years ago.”

However, Dr. Khan and his colleagues remained skeptical of these overtures.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has clarified its stance against factionalism, emphasizing the importance of unity between the two factions of the Mushawarat for the greater good of the community and the nation. Despite the factions operating independently, JIH has maintained a neutral stance towards both groups while actively working to foster unity between them.

During the meeting with JIH leaders, they also discussed a letter issued a few days ago with Manzoor Sheikh’s signature on behalf of Mushawarat (Navaid Hamid) against him (Dr Khan) and Mushawarat (Regd.). “The JIH president also called the letter very inappropriate and had told the same thing to the Mushawarat (Navaid group) earlier, to which Feroze Ansari, the current president of Mushawarat (Navaid group), claimed that the letter was not issued with his consent,” Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan added.

Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan concluded his address with a prayer for the success of the revived AIMMM, expressing hope that in the coming days, the office-bearers and members of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (Registered) will fulfill the expectations that the community has from this historically significant organization.

Addressing the media, newly elected Vice President of Mushawarat (Regd.) Prof. Mohammad Sulaiman mentioned his more than 50 years of association with the AIMMM. Reiterating the inactiveness of the Mushawarat in recent years on many crucial issues concerning the community, Prof. Sulaiman questioned that if leaders of the community don’t not stand against the plight of the Muslims, issues will rise further. He emphasized making collective and strong efforts in resolving the issues of the community.

Prominent Shia leader Maulana Jinan Asghar Moulai, who is also the vice president of Mushawarat (Regd.), explained the reason behind the revival of the Mushawarat. He stated that due to the current degrading situations in the country affecting the community, they have taken this initiative to make strong and collective efforts for the community. He also emphasized the need to be united in raising voices against atrocities and injustice being done to the community. He noted that the atmosphere of the country has become vicious for the community after very organized and planned efforts from anti-Muslim forces, so to counter these situations, they have to work in an equally organized way.

Maulana Jinan Asghar Moulai noted that the community is facing rising lynching incidents, demolition of their houses, and hate speeches in India, while abroad, Palestinians are facing genocide in Gaza by Israel with about 40,000 Palestinians martyred by Israeli forces. He lamented that now no one is ready to make sincere efforts very strongly in this regard. Therefore, he added, they have taken this initiative to collectively make strong steps.

Narrating the historical factors behind forming AIMMM in the 1960s, Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi clarified that now there is no need to talk about the differences related to Mushawarat; instead, there is a need to work very strongly for the community in this difficult situation.

Renowned Urdu journalist Masoom Moradabadi also emphasized the need to make a collective struggle to resolve the issues of the community in this volatile situation.

Syed Tahseen, sharing his experiences when he was made general secretary of the Mushawarat (Navaid Hamid), narrated, “When I became general secretary, it was decided that we would do only constructive and positive works and would make efforts to reduce the differences within the organization and would solve the issue of mass expulsion of members from the Mushawarat.” Blaming the Navaid Hamid faction, he added that their intention was not good, and they never wanted constructive and positive works, nor did they want to resolve the differences within the organization.

Dr. Basheer Ahmed Khan reminded that AIMMM in its initial years successfully took up the movement to restore the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University in the 1960s. He suggested that Mushawarat should take up the AMU minority status issue in the same powerful manner, as the Supreme Court has reserved its order in this regard.

In response to a question, Dr. Zafarul Islam replied that they have the support of all 14 Muslim organizations which were already registered with Mushawarat across the country, except Jamiat Ahle Hadees and Jamaat Islami Hind. He informed that JIH leaders promised they would join this faction when all other Muslim organizations join.

Terming the other faction as “illegitimate” and non-functioning, Dr. Zafarul Islam clarified that they have all the documents related to Mushawarat (Regd.). However, he clarified that doors are open for merging the factions but with certain already stated conditions, including restoration of expelled members, correcting constitutional changes, and reversing other wrong decisions taken by the Navaid faction.

At its general body meeting, AIMMM (registered) passed several resolution concerning the nation and the Muslim community. AIMMM expressed satisfaction with the recent general election outcomes, praising Indian voters for rejecting divisive politics. The organization emphasized that the election results reaffirmed India’s secular majority and the supremacy of the Constitution.

Resolutions adopted during the meeting condemned the marginalization of Indian Muslims and urged secular parties to take a firm stance on their issues. AIMMM also denounced Israeli actions in Gaza, criticizing the tepid responses from Muslim-majority nations and calling on justice-minded citizens to vocally oppose the atrocities. AIMMM urged Muslims to seek legal recourse against injustices and demanded government intervention to halt the crisis in Gaza, stressing the importance of international support through UN channels. The resolutions underscored AIMMM’s commitment to upholding democratic values and advocating for the rights of Muslims in India and abroad.

The coming months will be crucial in determining whether the revived AIMMM can fill this role and effectively address the concerns of India’s large and diverse Muslim population.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here