Mumbai, Jan 16: Disturbed at Muslims being branded 'terrorists, separatists, oppressors and aggressors' by a section of communal forces, top Muslim religious leaders on Friday urged the community to stick to secularism and enthusiastically celebrate national events like Independence Day and Republic Day.
Maulana Arshad Madni, President of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) accused certain communal forces of attempting to distort the great services by community elders towards achievement and consolidation of the Independence of India.
"They keep accusing Muslims of being anti-national, but we shall not allow their nefarious designs to succeed. So, exactly after 10 days, Muslims should organize the R-Day celebrations with full pomp and splendour in their respective areas and explain the sacrifices made by the community," Madni said, speaking at a National Integration Conference here.
"India is a democratic country and will always remain so...It will be sheer misfortune and disastrous if an attempt is made to deviate from the path of secularism," he said amidst a thunderous applause.
The Maulana pointed out to the massive Muslim gathering that India is our country and they enjoyed an 'equal status' as bestowed by the Constitution.
"Some powers may have sowed poisonous seeds of communalism and are momentarily reaping the harvest, but India's nature is anti-communal. Get ready and do your best for the progress, development and victory of India with absolute self-confidence," Madni said.
JUH general secretary Maulana Haleemullah Qasmi said that the sentiment of brotherhood, sympathy and sharing the grief of each other is not dead in the country, as witnessed by the large gathering today.
"Although some political elements have obscured these sentiments, we are hopeful that our religious leaders will reverse the trend and revive love and peace among communities all over the country," Qasmi said.
Other speakers explained how Islam symbolized peace, universal brotherhood, love and goodwill towards all, helping the oppressed and downtrodden, the poorest of the poor and destitute of society, without any distinction of religion, caste or creed.
Representatives from other communities including Satyanam Das, Sanathan Guru Udesan Path, Bishop Dominic Fernandes and Jain Acharya Hemchandra Suri Maharaj and other leaders addressed the gathering.