‘Deoband Declaration’ Divides Kashmir
25 February 2008
Srinagar: Darul Uloom’s landmark ‘Deoband Declaration’ branding terror “un-Islamic” has divided moderate and hardline Islamic scholars in Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state in the country. Bashir-ud-Din, the grand mufti of Kashmir, supported the declaration saying there was no place for terrorism in Islam, a religion of peace and harmony. “Terrorism is strongly prohibited in Islam. However, jehad, which is a genuine struggle, is allowed (but) only when Islam is under threat. Islam believes in tableegh (propagation) through peaceful means. We have an example of the great saint Mir Syed Ali Hamdani who came to Kashmir from central Asia to spread Islam. Such was his divinity, that over 35,000 people converted,” the mufti said. He also noted that killing innocent people was not allowed in Islam and those who killed innocents could not be Muslims. “Islam does not permit killing of innocent people,” he said. Noted Islamic scholar Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, however, advised Darul Uloom to try and distinguish between state-sponsored terrorism and resistance movements. “Muslims across the globe are suffering because of state-sponsored terrorism. Be it in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine or Chechnya, people have launched resistance movements against state-sponsored terrorism by imperialist powers. Muslims are being killed for no fault of theirs. These killers should be declared terrorists,” he said. The Hurriyat hawk, though, maintained that Islam was a peaceful religion that denounced terrorism in all its manifestations. “Those who kill innocents should be punished. There should be checks and balances in the ranks of fighters too,” he said. Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, president of Jamaat-e-Ahle Hadees Kashmir, blamed the West for linking Muslims with terrorism. “There is no place for terrorism in Islam. The West usually tries to dub Muslims terrorists. Islam is a religion of peace but Muslims have a right to protect themselves against forces that perpetuate violence against them,” he said.