KOZHIKODE: How to deal with the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulema, the body of Sunni scholars?’ That will be the toughest question before Panakkad Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, the newly-elected state president of the IUML.
His predecessor, Syed Hyder Ali Shihab Thangal was the vice-president of Samastha and a member of its central mushawara (consultative body.) But Sadiq Ali Thangal is unlikely to be elevated to the vice-president’s post immediately as he is not even a member of the mushawara. Moreover, there are other senior leaders in Samastha who can be considered for the post.
Sadiq Ali Thangal is the vice-president of the Sunni Yuvajana Sangam (SYS), the feeder organisation of Samastha. Sadiq Ali Thangal is the vice-president of the Sunni Yuvajana Sangam (SYS), the feeder organisation of Samastha. He is also the member of the executive committee of the Samastha Matha Vidyabhyasa Board.
He also holds the posts of the vice-president of the Mounathul Islam Sabha, Ponnani, president of Noorul Huda Islamic College and chairman of Islamic Centre, Kozhikode.Sadiq Ali Thangal was recently elected as the qazi of Panakkad after the death of Hyder Ali Thangal. Sadiq Ali Thangal helms the IUML at a time when Samastha president Syed Muhammad Jiffiri Muthukoya Thangal’s popularity is steadily increasing in the community. It is a known fact that both these leaders have different priorities.
Jiffiri Thangal has made it amply clear that he wants Samastha to take an independent path and not toe IUML’s political line. Jiffiri Thangal had publicly declared, in the presence of Sadiq Ali Thangal, that Samastha was not in favour of staging protests on the Waqf Board inside mosques. The IUML was forced to follow the Samastha line over agitations inside mosques.
Later, the party decided to launch agitations on its own in the Waqf Board issue and staged two round of protests. But Jiffiri Thangal made it clear that Samastha is no longer part of the Muslim Coordination Committee that was formed to spearhead the agitation because the organisation is waiting for a response from the Chief Minister, who had promised to find a solution.
Moreover, Jiffiri Thangal had unequivocally asserted that fighting ‘deviant sects’ such as Wahhabis and Jama’at-e-Islami are the prime concerns of Samastha because the organisation was formed to resist such forces. But Sadiq Ali Thangal had declared that communism was the ‘forbidden fruit’ for believers and had vowed to fight forces of atheism.
The difference in the perceptions of these two leaders is likely to be a point of discussion in the coming days. But Sadiq Ali Thangal discounted the speculations saying that he has never been alien to Samastha. In an interview of a television channel, Thangal said he was active in Samastha’s students’ organisation for almost two decades. He said there exists a ‘guru-disciple’ relationship between he and Samastha.