In a rare display of solidarity, Islamic scholars and clerics of all Muslim sects on Monday attacked the government for trying to introduce a Uniform Civil Code.
The scholars and clerics from Sunni, Shia, Barelvi, Deobandi and Ahlehadi sects registered their protest against what they termed was "the government's interference in personal laws".
In a joint statement issued after a brainstorming session, the leaders took umbrage to the Centre's proposals on Triple Talaq and other practices which they said would violate their personal laws.
"Any interference in Muslim Personal Law will not be tolerated. Any efforts to impose a Uniform Civil Code in the name of social reform and gender justice will prove counterproductive," they said.
The President of All India Ulema Council, Maulana Zaherudin Khan, condemned the move of banning Triple Talaq as a conspiracy to impose a Uniform Civil Code which he said was opposed by most Muslims.
"We will boycott this questionnaire. No Muslim will respond to it because it is misleading and deceitful. The Uniform Civil Code is divisive and will lead to social unrest," he cautioned.
"The government should respect this position of the Muslims instead of conspiring to forcibly put an end to it," said Darul Uloom Mohamadiya's President Maulana Sayed M.K. Ashraf.
"It cannot force Muslims to follow other communities in issues related to personal laws as it tantamount to an infringement on their fundamental rights," Ashraf said.
He said that Muslims clamouring against Triple Talaq and demanding a ban on polygamy "are a miniscule minority who do not represent the sentiments of the majority of Indian Muslims".
All Indian Ulema Association President Maulana Sayed Athar Ali urged the government to refrain from interfering in the beliefs and religions of all citizens.
"Muslims consider divorce, polygamy and other personal laws as an intrinsic part of their religion and are obliged to follow the Sharia in these matters," Maulana Ali pointed out.
The latest move comes shortly after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) came out strongly against Triple Talaq.
The meeting in Mumbai was chaired by Maulana Ashraf and attended by AIUC President Maulana Khan; Mushwarat President Naveed Hamid; AIMPLB executive committee member Maulana Sayed Athar Ali; All India Jamiat Islami Vice-President Maulana Nusrat; Imam of Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai, Maulana Mohammed Islam; Shia scholar Maulana Asgar Haideri and Ahlehadis scholar Maulana Asgar Imam Salfi.
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