MALAPPURAM: In an unprecedented incident, leaders of two Sunni factions took part in a programme held at Venniyur on Thursday. Named Al Mawaddah Sadath meet, the programme was attended by Samastha Kerala Jameyyathul Ulama (E K faction) president Sayyid Jifri Muthukkoya Thangal and Samastha (A P faction) supreme council member and Kerala Muslim Jamath state general secretary Sayyid Ibrahim Khaleel Bukhari Thangal.
The programme was organised as a friendly meet of Sayyids (descendants of Prophet Mohammed).
The participation of the high profile leaders of the rival groups assumes significance at a time when discussion on Sunni unification is taking an active turn. Since the split occurred in the late 1980s, leaders of the two groups had been abstaining from sharing the dais. Jifri Thangal inaugurated the meet while Khaleel Bukhari Thangal presided over the meet. In addition to the two leaders, the event was also attended by Sayyid Ali Bafaqi Thangal of the AP faction. A section of the two Sunni groups believes Thursday’s incident will fuel the reunion.
“For sure, this is a good indication. And this will ease the rivalry and will strengthen the efforts for unification,” said a second level leader of Samastha E K faction. A former state-level functionary of Sunni Students Federation (SSF) said the participation of the top leaders will quicken the reunion attempts. “Though it’s a meet of Sayyids, it lends a ray of hope for the two factions,” he said.Each of the two factions has already decided to appoint a four-member delegation to discuss the possibilities of a reunion. Meanwhile, organisers said the conference was an exclusive meet of Sayyids and it had nothing to do with the reunion.