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Muslims condemn SC verdict on beard

By Abdul Hameed, TwoCircles.net

Mumbai: That Supreme Court rejected the plea of a student who sought permission for sporting beard in his school has sent a wave of anger among the Muslims. The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) has expressed its dismay at the observation of the judge.

Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi, general secretary of All Indian Ulama Council, while talking to TwoCircles.net 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.

Supreme Court judge Markandeya Katju speaking for a bench headed by justice Raveendran on Monday rejected the petition filed by Saleem Ahmad, student of a minority school in Madhya Pradesh and said that SC can not allow Talibanism in the country. He added can SC allow if tomorrow a girl student comes and seeks permission for putting on burqa?

In a statement Mushawarat strongly objected to the use of the world ‘talibanisation’ by the judge. “A Muslim’s request to be allowed to grow beard cannot be equated as “Talibanisation” of the country,” read the statement by Muslim umbrella body.

Markandeya claimed that he is secular to its core but he said that religious beliefs should not be overstretched.

The advocate of Mohammed Saleem, B A Khan had said that the student be allowed to grow beard as it was mandatory upon every Muslim as per their religion.

But Markandeya said that as per the section 30 of Indian Constitution every minority institution is entitled to make laws and run heir institutions accordingly. Every student of the institute must abide by its regulations.

‘The rule of the institution contradicts the Constitution that provides complete freedom to ever citizen to practice his religion. To grow beard is religious obligations upon Muslims. Why there is no objection on Sikhs keeping beard? This should not be an issue rather Muslims should be given complete freedom in a secular country,’ said Haroon Mozawala, general secretary of Khair-e-Ummat Trust.

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.

The media spokesperson of Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Maharashtra Gulzar Ahmad Azmi said, ‘The decision is utterly wrong. The organizations taking care of Muslim issues especially All India Muslims Personal Law Board should be concerned about it. We should challenge the decision issued by the two-member bench before a three-member of five-member bench of judges because it directly harms our basic rights.’

AIMMM is planning an appeal against the judgment.