Hopes of Sunni unification rekindled

The outcry over the Panakkad scions’ decision to attend the Mujahid conference had brought the growing hostility of Sunni groups towards Salafis and the IUML to the fore.

Published: 08th January 2018 01:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2018 07:16 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

MALAPPURAM: The outcry over the Panakkad scions’ decision to attend the Mujahid conference had brought the growing hostility of Sunni groups towards Salafis and the IUML to the fore. However, a slew of incidents and alleged favouritism by the IUML towards Salafi outfits seem to be paving the way for the unification of EK and AP factions of the Sunnis.

Rumour has it that the the two factions of the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama are looking to appoint a four-member committee, which will come up with a plan after holding talks with the leadership of the two factions.

“There has been a strong demand for unification. There is a strong feeling within the Samastha that the IUML is becoming more Salafi-appeasing. The feeling has taken the efforts for the same to an active turn,” said a leader of the feeder organisation of the Samastha EK faction.

The Samastha will discuss the matter at a meeting on Wednesday. “The meeting will appoint certain persons to take up the cause. Further details can’t be revealed,” said Samastha general secretary K Ali Kutty Musliyar.

The Samastha suffered a split in the late 1980s after 10 supreme council members led by Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musliyar left the organisation. The split occurred due to differences in the approach towards Salafis and the IUML.

“There is no ideological difference between the two groups. They can unite if proper talks are held,” said a former functionary of the Sunni Students Federation (SSF), the students’ outfit of the AP faction.
Leaders of the two factions believe that they can easily unite, citing the the recent merger of two Mujahid factions as an example. “Why can’t Sunnis unite if Mujahids can? Sunnis follow the same ideology and customs,” said a young leader of the Samastha EK faction.

Following the merger of the Mujahid groups last year, EK faction leader Musthafa Mundupara had called for unity in a Facebook post. Besides, Darshana TV, which is controlled by the EK faction, had organised a discussion about Sunni unification.

To add to this, students and academics in the educational institutions of the two groups have started to cooperate and attend programmes organised by rival factions. Besides, preachers of the two groups have been abstaining from criticising the other in public meetings and conferences.
“Though they are not happening officially, these developments are indications of a possible unification,” the SSF leader said.

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