Indian Muslim scholars accuse LT of conspiring against Islam


By Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: Indian Ahl-e-Hadees scholars accused their ideological peers in Pakistan on Wednesday – the banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LT) group and its parent body, Markaz Dawa al-Irshad – of being part of a global conspiracy against Islam. “We believe Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the LT chief, is a khawarij (rebel) and needs to be punished under the law,” declared Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salfi, secretary general of the Markazi Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadees.

The Ahl-e-Hadees sect is often criticised for sharing its ideology with the LT or Dawa al Irshad, headed by Hafiz Saeed. Clarifying his stance, Maulana Salfi said both Hafiz Saeed and the Taliban were part of an international conspiracy. He called these groups marauders and said their struggle was nowhere near jihad. He questioned why these groups did not oppress America when they had aligned with it to fight against the Soviet Union?

Claiming that a majority of Ahl-e-Hadees followers in Pakistan were also “up in arms” against Hafiz Saeed for taking over their mosques and establishments, Maulana Salfi said Islam does not endorse extremism. Maintaining that bomb blasts and suicide attacks were forbidden in Islam, he said there was no justification whatsoever for such acts of terrorism and wanton killings.

Quoting a mutual edict of 36 Ahl-e-Hadees scholars, Maulana Salfi said such acts of violence were more critical than robbery. He, however, said a full and fair investigation was imperative under judicial supervision to ensure that innocent people were not punished in the name of terrorism.

Maulana Salfi said the khawarij, who first emerged in the late seventh century AD, also observed all Islamic tenants strictly, but actually created waywardness and rebellion. “Islam does not believe in extremes,” he added.

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