HYDERABAD: Wading into the debate on "intolerance" post Aamir Khan's remarks, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi today said that Muslims will not leave India under any circumstances as they are Indians "not only by birth but by choice."
Owaisi's statement came against the backdrop of the storm created by the Bollywood superstar with his remarks that his wife Kiran Rao had suggested that they should probably leave the country over growing incidents of tolerance and Assam Governor P B Acharya's reported remarks that Muslims are free to go to Pakistan or Bangladesh.
He also said that Muslims will not "succumb" to the kind of politics being played by Sangh Parivar.
Reacting to a query on Khan's remarks on intolerance, Owaisi said "I cannot speak for a film star (Aamir Khan)...I can only speak as a proud Indian Muslim that...I will never succumb...we will not succumb to the dog whistle politics of Sangh Parivar and fascist organisations and their statements".
"...Come what may, they cannot create fear in our hearts and minds because this is my country. So long as the planet earth survives, Muslims will live in India as proud Indians.
And will definitely struggle for our due share and our rightful position. And no one can deny me that because that is what the Constitution has guaranteed me and I will get through democratic ways," Owaisi told reporters here.
The Hyderabad MP said that Muslims are Indians not only by birth but by choice.
"A general atmosphere which is being created in the country about issues which have happened and statements emanating from ruling party government ministers, ruling party sister organisations and both Governors of North East who have stated certain things...So, I wanted to give my view that Muslims will not leave the country come what may. Because, we are not only Indians by birth but by choice," he said.
Owaisi said Muslims will not "succumb" to "fear" being created by certain political parties and fascist organisations.
"It will be a great dishonesty and disservice to those freedom fighters who fought for this country. Their dream was Muslims should live as proud Indians and definitely we will continue to live...we are living as proud Indians."
He said Muslims are being meted out "injustice" and that justice has not been done to them in terms of political representation and economic upliftment.
"Yes, our grievance has always been with parties in power. They have not given those rights which the Constitution has given us. But this is our country and we will continue to fight and continue to struggle and we will definitely get our due share and our position," Owaisi said.
Reacting to a query on IS, the Hyderabad MP said "out of 17 crore Muslims in India, we have 23 misguided boys who have gone to Syria...this is what the media reports say, which is a very very small number. But definitely, my message to all those young Muslims is if you want to strive in the path of Allah, the best way of doing it is to join politics, is to ensure that illiteracy is eradicated in localities, cities and states you live in."
He appealed to members of his community to come forward and impart education.
"If you are educated Muslim come forward and educate. That is the best way to strive in the path of Allah. We have many issues in our country and let us solve those issues. Why should we worry about an organisation which is only Islamic in name and their activities have nothing do with Islam," Owaisi said referring to IS.