"Using religious personalities or religious symbols for political objectives is dangerous. Neither do we approve of the Delhi Jama Masjid Imam's proclamations on elections nor will they have any impact on the common Muslim voter," Aftab Alam, secretary of AMUTA, said in a statement today. "These appeals are not Fatwas as wrongly described by the media.
They are mere statements and Muslims are no longer swayed by such appeals," he added. Alam also criticised BJP for objecting to Congress President Sonia Gandhi meeting the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid. "It is ironical that BJP which thrives and survives on misusing religious symbols is crying foul over the Imam's insignificant appeal," he said.
"We however appeal to all right thinking and responsible citizens to realise that since the past two years or so communal fires are being deliberately stoked; covertly and not so covertly, as happened in Muzaffarnagar and if we don't wake up in time, then the nation could suffer irreparable damage," Alam added.
The official also disapproved of the recent statement by SP leader Azam Khan about Kargil conflict and BJP leader Amit Shah's revenge remark in riot-hit areas of Uttar Pradesh.
"We strongly voice our disapproval of Azam Khan's outburst on the Kargil war. Such an approach may bring some short term gains to the likes of Azam Khan or Amit Shah but when we look back in retrospect, we will realise what price the country pays for such type of politics," he said. The AMUTA official also critiqued the inability of media in not highlighting the damage caused by hate mongering, especially in UP.
"All prospects of development will be meaningless if society is disturbed. It is unfortunate that the media appears to be carried away by Ahmad Bukhari's insignificant appeal and is not highlighting the damage caused by hate mongering which is simmering since the past few months in parts of Uttar Pradesh," Alam told PTI.
Asked about the last minute shift of Muslim voters towards SP in some districts of western UP, Alam said, "Some Muslims may have voted for the SP despite being betrayed by them because the political space left by the SP was not occupied by other secular parities."
"We opposed Mulayam Singh's visit to the Aligarh Muslim University campus earlier this year because on a matter of principle, we do not approve of politicians who try to exploit religious sentiments," he said.