In this backdated image used for representational purpose, Muslims leave a riot-affected area at Khajuri Khas area in New Delhi. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav/EPS)
In this backdated image used for representational purpose, Muslims leave a riot-affected area at Khajuri Khas area in New Delhi. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav/EPS)

Jama’at-e-Islami and the space of dialogue

The issues raised by the RSS and the Muslim organisations in the discussion are too complex to be solved in one go.

Jama’at-e-Islami and other Muslim organisations, which engaged the RSS in a dialogue in New Delhi last month, have risked a lot for establishing an atmosphere of mutual trust and co-existence in the country. Soon after the news about the meeting came out, the detractors of the Jama’at went after it hammer and tongs, alleging that the organisation had surrendered before ‘fascist forces’ while some of its sympathisers argued that the deliberations should have been avoided, especially in the present circumstances. But it is heartening to see that the emotional outbursts have not deterred the Jama’at leadership from pursuing its well-thought-out plan. In fact, such interventions are not new to the organisation. Its leaders in Kerala rushed to Marad, a coastal region in Kozhikode, when nine persons were massacred on May 2, 2003, braving the hostile environment in the communally volatile area.

The move from Jama’at and like-minded organisations is a welcome gesture when the chasm between communities is widening day by day, posing a serious threat to the country’s peace and tranquility. The hate agenda of hawks, who are not in shortage on either side, can only thrive by keeping the communal cauldron boiling. There were some posts on social media that branded the Jama’at as a ‘traitor’. But Jama’at has chosen to ignore such insinuations and has asserted that the dialogues will continue. Its national general secretary T Arif Ali has said it is unwise to take a position that there will be no discussions with an organisation that is controlling the Central government. No one expects any miracle from the dialogue between the two groups that are at opposite poles, but talks have an important role to play in any democratic, pluralistic setup. The issues raised by the RSS and the Muslim organisations in the discussion are too complex to be solved in one go. They have legal, administrative and religious ramifications. But, sitting together across a table would be the first step towards creating a favourable atmosphere.

To build on the goodwill achieved by the dialogue, it is imperative to rein in the hatemongers and rabble-rousers, who could spoil the entire process. It would be difficult for the Jama’at to convince the community of the need for continuing the talks if the naysayers continue to be belligerent and aggressive.

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The New Indian Express
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