Muslim Intellectuals Now Plan to Meet PM Modi

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The panel of top-drawer Muslim intellectuals including former Member of Parliament Shahid Siddiqui, former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, educationists, Sayeed Sherwani noted that “Muslims are living in fear due to recent communal incidents and are keen to find a way out of this situation through dialogue.”

Syed Khaled Shahbaaz | Clarion India

HYDERABAD — A panel of Muslim intellectuals may soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the current state of Muslims in the country.

The panel noted that “Muslims are living in fear due to recent communal incidents and are keen to find a way out of this situation through dialogue.”

The panel comprising top Muslim intellectuals including former Member of Parliament Shahid Siddiqui, former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, educationists, Sayeed Sherwani recently met RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat in an attempt to bridge the gap between Hindus, the country’s majority, and Muslims, the largest minority.

“We want to dispel the tensions between the communities,” said India’s former Chief election commissioner S Y Qureshi.

In an interaction with Muslim educationists, intellectuals, and academicians at the Masjid al Hassan in Hyderabad organised by Alliance for Education and Economic Empowerment of the Underprivileged (AEEDU) in collaboration with Shaheen Group of Institutions and Shining Stars Education Foundation, Qureshi said “This is the first step. We had an hour-long discussion with Mr Mohan Bhagwat on issues like Hindu Rashtra, cow slaughter, and the myth of Muslim population explosion.”

Mr Bhagwat, he said assured that Hindu Rashtra cannot be imagined without Muslims, and an amicable solution concerning cow slaughter in states where it is not banned by law can be reached.

Parrying a query of a journalist as to whether a solution could be reached through dialogue with Prime Minister Modi, Mr. Qureshi simply said, “We are planning to meet Mr Modi to discuss many sensitive issues concerning the Muslim community.”

The meeting of Muslim intellectuals with the RSS Chief led to mixed reactions from different corners although the panel clarified that the meeting was not under the aegis of AEEDU.  The same panel, under the aegis of AEEDU, is currently visiting different states in southern India to understand the gaps and study the model. They are currently meeting academicians and educationists from different states with the intent to replicate the best.

“The organisation’s focus is on modernisation of madrassas,” said Shahid Siddiqui. As part of this learning drive, the panel visited Masjid al Hassan at Shadnagar town in Telangana where Madrassa students showcased their ‘modern schooling’ skills. Several students who had no prior schooling demonstrated excellent oratory skills in English, Urdu, and Arabic which they had learned during a year and a half of the Covid-19 lockdown at this mosque. They are learning mathematics, science, computer skills, and even sports like Karate, cricket, and football.

The panel and its team visited Shaheen Group of Institutions in Bidar, Karnataka to ‘absorb the best from their Hifz Plus programs’ where Madrassa students with zilch schooling are taught mathematics, science, and English among other disciplines through bridge courses that allow them to enroll in mainstream professional courses such as medicine, engineering or civil services.

Ms. Khair ull Nissa Sheikh, Executive Director of World Trade Center Services (India) said ‘amplification of such exemplary work is the need of the hour. Such education must also focus on not just educating boys and must also focus on girl education in equal measure.

Secretary TMREIS Mr. B Shafiullah IFS presented the Telangana model of education for empowerment through which the government has established 204 schools in a span of 18 months where 1.25 lakh students are receiving a quality education.

Mr Qureshi also presented his book Population Myth to Mohan Bhagwath which presents the true picture of Muslim population growth in India. He said “it is a myth that the Muslim population is exploding. The more educated the community is becoming, the lesser they procreate”, he said.

The distinguished guests who have held key positions in different top-notch organisations within India and abroad have now dedicated their time towards the cause of madrassa modernisation and carry out exchange programs for teachers, students and for digital know-how to help bridge the gap between education gap between the underprivileged and other communities under the aegis of AEEDU.

They said modernisation of Madrassas is important as these are places where one can receive holistic education including both modern and religious. He said globally coveted institutions like “the Oxford University, Columbia University, and Xavier University started out as seminaries, but they also gradually provided modern education, and are now renowned educational institutions”. Such connect between religious and modern education can bring about the much needed thrust, and also bridge the knowledge.

According to Mr. Shahid Siddiqui, the organisation will focus on synergy among different educational groups and their key focus will be underprivileged communities, the most underprivileged of which is Muslims. Education and economic emancipation will be our priorities, he said.

Maulana Azad Educational Trust Director Farhat Jamaal warned that without education, the next ten years will be very difficult. The biggest challenge for any community is irrelevance. We must identify, leverage, and capture the creative talent of the community to help it stay relevant to the changing times.

Muslim intellectuals at the interactive meet in Hyderabad.

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