GUWAHATI: AN appeal made by a group of 46 Muslim leaders to locals, misconstrued on the social media by people, including Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and a section of the media, as a “fatwa” against Indian Idol runner-up Nahid Afrin, evoked widespread outrage on Wednesday.
By the time the issue was clarified, the damage was already done as condemnations poured in, not just from across Assam but also from beyond the State.
In a leaflet, Muslim leaders, including clerics, appealed to people not to attend a musical night, scheduled for March 25 at the Udali Sonai Bibi College in central Assam’s Nagaon district. The leaflet was distributed in Hojai and Nagaon districts. The 16-year-old Afrin is the star attraction of the programme.
The leaflet viewed the event as “against the Sharia” but nowhere did it mention Afrin’s name.
“If anti-Sharia act like a musical night is held at a place surrounded by mosques, madrassas, graveyards, schools and colleges, our future generations will attract the wrath of Allah,” the leaflet read.
“If we don’t keep our children away from such things, Allah will not spare any of us,” it further read.The general secretary of Assam State Jamiat Ulema, Md. Abdur Rashid Kashimi, who is among the 46 Muslim leaders, alleged that the “appeal” was deliberately viewed as a “fatwa”.
“We did not issue any threat to her (Afrin). We said organising such a programme at a Muslim area that is surrounded by mosques, madrassas, graveyard, schools and colleges, was against the Sharia. We perceived that such a programme would vitiate the peaceful atmosphere. But some elements, we don’t know who tried to give it a different colour. We sniff politics in it,” he told The New Indian Express.
“It was not a fatwa but an appeal. The leaflet didn’t bear the name of any, including the singer,” Kashimi clarified.