The Hindutva-aligned former head of Shia Waqf Board faces several cases of corruption
Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — Waseem Rizvi, a Lucknow-based leader considered close to the Hindu right-wing, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court demanding removal of 26 verses of the holy Quran. This is perhaps the most provocative move which even the fanatics of Hindutva brigades have not made in the recent past.
Rizvi claims that these verses “promote terrorism, violence and jihad”. They were “inserted” in the holy book by the first three caliphs of Islam, namely Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman “to widen the influence of Islam by force”. Rizvi has also claimed that these verses are being used by terrorists to justify their acts.
A video clip of Rizvi’s interview to Aaj Tak Hindi channel is doing rounds on social media. In the video, he is making allegations against Muslims, specially Madrassas, but refusing to spell out any verse that he finds objectionable. He also links the verses to India’s national security.
By making wild allegation against the first three caliphs of Islam, Rizvi has sought to create Shia-Sunni division. Rizvi, a Shia, has got first response from his own sect. Spokesperson of the All India Shia Personal Law Board Maulana Yasub Abbas has rejected his claim and said his organisation is opposed to his petition. He said not even a single word or coma or full stop can be removed from the Quran. Zee News quoted Maulana Yasub as saying that the Quran is a divine book and no Shia Imam has ever sought the removal of any verses from it. He said people like Waseem Rizvi are maligning Islam by claiming that Quran was inviting terror. Instead it gives a message of peace, he added.
Another response to Rizvi has come from a reputed Sunni institution. Darul Uloom Firangi Mahal said that people should not waste their time in such useless talks. Its spokesperson Maulana Sufian Nizami told Zee News that Rizvi is known for making irresponsible statements just to grab headlines. Even mighty emperors in the past failed in their attempts to make any change in the Quran. They vanished but Quran remained intact, Maulana Nizami said.
Yet another reaction has come from Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state which has been converted into a Union territory. According to Kashmir News Service, Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Forum has demanded that the petition be rejected promptly “before it ignites any bad tensions”.
Rizvi’s PIL, whether accepted or rejected by the Supreme Court, has been made with malicious intention. This is an attempt to provoke Muslims and also give Hindutva bigots an opportunity to create further hostility against Muslims.
It is also going to further isolate India internationally. The Muslim world specially may react sharply.
Rizvi is a former Chairman of the Shia Waqf Board. He is currently facing several cases of corruption. In November 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered cases against him for alleged illegal sale, purchase and transfer of Waqf properties in Uttar Pradesh. According to NDTV, the state government had ordered a CBI probe in 2019 into the alleged illegal sale and transfer of Waqf properties by UP Shia Central Waqf Board and UP Sunni Central Waqf Board.
According to Sabrang India, when he was still heading the UP Shia Central Waqf Board, Rizvi had welcomed the Supreme Court verdict that cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. He had announced that he was donating Rs 51,000 for the construction. Also, last year he verbally abused women protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Lucknow calling them “Badkirdaar auratein” or characterless women.