Muslim leaders unanimous in criticizing Justice Katju’s comments

By Manzar Bilal,,

Patna : Recently a 16-year old Muslim student Mohammad Saleem of a Christian minority school in Madhya Pradesh has moved to the Supreme Court against an order of the MP High Court rejecting his petition challenging the decision of his school to throw him out for refusing to shave his beard.

On March 30, a Supreme Court Judge Justice Katju rejected the plea of Mohammad Saleem and passed a remark saying, “We don’t want to have Talibans in the country. Tomorrow a girl student may come and say that she wants to wear a burqa, can we allow it,” Justice Markandeya Katju said speaking for a bench headed by Justice Raveendran.

The comment of Justice Markandeya Katju angered Muslims community. Muslim leaders condemned it strongly and called it unfortunate for a democratic country.

Talking to Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi nazim of Imarat-e- Sharia Bihar, Jharkhand and Orisa, said: “This comment is because of narrow-mindedness and also because of insufficient study of religions while to have knowledge of religious obligations is necessary for a judge especially a Supreme Court judge”.

He further said that if keeping beard is against secularism then Justice Markandeya Katju should give a verdict to remove prime minister of India from his office who keeps beard along with turban because one who does not follow the secularism, has no right to be PM of secular India.

“Such kind of remark by communal elements and political parties is not new but surprisingly it is first time by a Supreme Court judge which is not a good sign for the future of the country” said Maulana Syed Nizamuddin, the Genral Secratry of Muslim Personal Law Board while talking to

Maulana Syed Nizamuddin who is also Ameere Shariat of Imarat Sharia of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orisa, also told TCN: “When a Sikh is allowed to sport beard then why Muslim is not, why this double standard in the same country?”

“It is really very sorrowful matter that a Supreme Court judge stops to follow the religious obligation which is given by the constitution of the country. The use of word “Talibanism” indicates anti-Muslim view of the judge. This is an immoral and immature statement” Maulana Waris Mazhari, the editor of Tarjaman-e-Deoband” told TCN.

“Government is responsible for such kind of statement because it is the government which said first that beard is not necessary for Muslims. At that time we also said that government is not Mufti and we filed a case against it in Supreme Court” told Hasan Ahmad Qadri, Genral Secratry of Bihar Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. “Now this condemnable comment by a Supreme Court judge and has created anxiety among Muslims” he said.

Syed Sanaullah, Nazim of Idara-e-Sharia Bihar said that such kind of person does not fit to be a judge of Supreme Court at all who tries to spread communalism in a democratic country by his hate remark. “We will protest against this decision at the national level” he told TCN.

Siddiqulla Chaudhry, the president of PDCI and Genral Secratry of WB Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, said: “This verdict of Supreme Court is against religious right and SC does not have power to take a decision which goes against any religious faith. So, SC should reconsider this verdict” said he to TCN.

Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, the spokesperson of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, called it a personal remark and not a verdict of SC.

“It is not a verdict of Supreme Court But it is personal remark of Justice Markandeya Katju because it would be decision when it was said after hearing the plea. But justice Katju rejected it before hearing so, how it could be a verdict?” he told TCN adding “ Yes it is a matter of concern that even a Supreme Court judge is influenced by anti-Muslim factors so much that he gives an unconstitutional comment. Secularism means that government does not have any particular religion but it can not stop any one to follow his religion on the contrary it has to protect all the religions so, it is not only against Muslim’s faith but also against the laws of our country.”

Criticizing on the remark of Mr. Markandeya Katju that he would not allow a girl to come school wearing burqa, Maulana Abdul Hameed said: “When a girl comes nude or half-nude to school or public places then Markandeya Katju does not stop her but when a girl comes to school wearing burqa, it is not acceptable to him.”

Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari, the Imam of Jama Masjid of Delhi, expressed his sorrow on this behavior of Justice Markandeya Katju and said that instead of linking beard to Islam he has linked it with Taliban which is objectionable. “Beard and burqa are parts of Muslim Laws in which interference of any one can not be accepted. When beard and burqa are allowed in Western countries then why in a democratic country these would not be permitted?” he told Media persons.

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the AIMMM, said that it is very unfortunate that a Supreme Court judge should nurse such biased and communal ideas and hide behind his claim that he is “a secularist to the core”. Our idea of secularism does not deny religious people their right to abide by their religion in a peaceful way which does not hurt anyone else in any way. Rather, true secularism means that the State will not have an official religion and that it will not interfere in the religious beliefs of its citizens.

“Islam is the religion of peace and beard is an important part of Islamic Shariah while Taliban is the name of fundamentalist organization. Therefore to link beard with Taliban is wrong” said Maulana Arshad Madni, the president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, in a statement. “We have informed the government Islamic opinion about beard. Supreme Court’s duty is to protect laws not to break laws while this decision is totally against Indian law” Maulana mMadni further stated who is on a trip to Britain.

Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, general secretary of All Indian Ulama Council, while talking to called the decision ‘sorrowful’ and said, ‘The verdict is the result of the judges being influenced by the propaganda of communal elements against Islam. No one has the right to interfere in religious affairs. Muslims are duty bound to grow beard and therefore those not doing so consider themselves to be sinful.’ He asked if there was no objection on namaz (prayers) then why on beard.

AIMMM is planning an appeal against the judgment.

(with inputs from Abdul Hameed in Mumbai)