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Muslims still wary of Modi, says Lucknow cleric

ANI  |  Lucknow 

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, the Naib Imam of Lucknow's Aishbagh Eidgah, on Friday said Muslims by and large are still wary and cautious about supporting Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Reacting to Modi's recent overtures to Muslims, as also to a recent statement made by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board deputy chief, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, on Modi not being a political untouchable, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said: "Many Muslims lost their lives under the leadership of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi."

On Maulana Kalbe Sadiq's statement that Muslim doors are not closed for talking to Modi, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said: "This could be his personal opinion. The community does not have the same thinking."

"We are not thinking about getting on the side of Narendra Modi. I don't think Muslims are under any confusion regarding Modi.Muslims do not get involved in any kind of politics," he added.

Earlier this week, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said Modi should show that he cares for Muslims.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board deputy chief said Modi can garner votes for the BJP, if he shows that he cares for Muslims.

"What (Mr Modi) did (Godhra Riots) was wrong, but if he is willing to change, then we are also willing to change. My religion says that (if) any criminal expresses regret, then we should overlook his or her's mistakes," said Maulana Kalbe Sadiq.

The noted scholar, however, added that it cannot be forgotten that the 63-year-old Modi did fail to prevent the Gujarat riots.

On being asked if Modi should seek forgiveness for the riots that are seen as the blot on his political career, Maulana Sadiq said: "It is childish to demand an apology. He should display in his character and through his actions that he cares for Muslims."

Underlining that communalism is a far greater danger for India than Pakistan and China, the Shia cleric said: "I would request him (Modi) to ensure that what happened in the past is not repeated, and instead work for the development of India. He should focus on tackling the bigger problems facing our country."

"I am not the custodian of all Muslims, but, if I see that Modi is making changes, then I will back him. I can't say this for all Muslims, but, I will personally back him," he added.

Muslims constitute 14 percent of India's population.

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First Published: Fri, October 25 2013. 21:38 IST