Darul Uloom’s Anti-terror Conference 2008
On February 25, 2008, Darul Uloom Deoband (DUD), the second largest centre of Islamic learning in the world after Cairo’s Al-Azhar, held an “All India Anti-Terrorism Conference” in Deoband. The clarion call given against terror by one of world’s most orthodox, nationalist and revivalist movements of India struck global headlines. Apart from 16,000 participants, mostly madrasa administrators or DUD alumni, on the stage on 25th February were some 200 prominent scholars from all major Muslim denominations and institutions of India.
Jamiat Ulama-e Hind is a leading Muslim organization and has genuine support base in all corners of the country and has mass pulling ability, credited to its historic virtues, and these are the facts which inspire a peasant from as far as Assam to volunteer it. Last month Mahmood Madni group tested Jamiat’s popularity and moved an ocean of humanity to Delhi’s historic Ramlila Ground. More than 300,000 Muslims lent their voices to terrorism condemnation along with a few other inter-religious and intra-religious leaders.
The large gathering can best be interpreted as a creative innovation by Muslim religious leadership in democratic engagement within the mainstream Indian society. But following the division of the Jami`at, and public airing of differences, the executive body (Shoura) of DUD on 15th June asked its office bearers who also hold positions in both fractions of Jamiat to choose either of the two to keep DUD away from Jamiat fiasco. The Shoura asked Maulana Arshad Madani and Qari Usman both presidents in the two disputing groups in Jamiat to choose one – either a post in Jamiat or at DUD.
(The author, M. Burhanuddin Qasmi, is editor of Eastern Crescent, a Deoband alumnus and Director of Mumbai-based Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre. He can be contacted at email@example.com)