Clerics admonish Govt on Jamia Masjid siege

Srinagar, Nov 9: Muslim clerics Tuesday threatened to issue a Fatwa (religious decree) against the Jammu and Kashmir government if it disallowed the congregational afternoon prayers at the histori...

Srinagar, Nov 9: Muslim clerics Tuesday threatened to issue a Fatwa (religious decree) against the Jammu and Kashmir government if it disallowed the congregational afternoon prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid on coming Friday (November 12).
This comes in the wake of government's disallowance of prayers at the Grand Mosque at Nowhatta for the past nine Fridays, a move that has evoked widespread condemnation from one and all.
On Tuesday, the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq convened a meet of different religious parties to discuss the Jamia siege. It is for the second time in the past 10 days that the religious parties and scholars have met to discuss "the state's direct interference in the religious affairs of people."
Earlier on November 2, clerics from various religious organizations had met under the banner of Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema at the Mirwaiz Manzil here and passed many resolutions to decry the curbs on prayers at Jamia Masjid. The meet was held on instructions of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
"In today's meeting, the parties unanimously decided to issue a Fatwa against the state government if it disallowed prayers in Jamia Masjid on Friday next," said Mirwaiz, who chaired the meet. "Enough is enough. This week we will be monitoring the issue very closely. In case the state government again disallows prayers, it will force us to issue the joint decree against it."
Last week religious preachers and clerics had met to discuss the issue. There the participants had decided to meet again this week.
"It (Jamia siege) is government's direct interference in the religious affairs of the people which can't be tolerated anymore. We are warning the government that if it won't allow prayers next Friday, the religious scholars and parties would again meet next week and issue a joint Fatwa against the government. After that, the government would be itself responsible for the consequences," Mirwaiz told Greater Kashmir after the meet concluded.
He said Muftis from different religious sects would sit together before issuing the Fatwa.
"This week should serve as a warning to the government. Once the decree is passed, it is mandatory for Muslims to follow that. We will give this week to the government as a chance to review its policy with regard to crushing the religious freedom of the people. In case it doesn't changes its mind, we will go ahead with the decree," Mirwaiz threatened.
Mirwaiz said it was unjustifiable to put curbs on prayers. "The continued curbs force the clerics and religious parties to take the extreme position. Things are getting beyond tolerable limits now. The state is crushing the religious freedom of people through the barrel of gun, just like it is crushing human rights. We strongly denounce this," he said.
Pertinently, during the November 2 meet, the clerics had castigated the Government for "interfering" in the religious affairs of the Muslims in Kashmir by not allowing congregational Friday prayers at the Jamia Majid here for the past nine weeks.
Some of the religious parties which participated in Tuesday's meet included Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamait-e-Ahl-e-Hadees, Auqaf Jamia Masjid and Anjuman-e-Shari Shian.
Pertinently, the practice to disallow prayers in Jamia Masjid had, according to observers, begun in 1819. "It first happened during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh when then Governor Moti Ram put curbs on offering prayers in Jamia Masjid," Shams-ur-Rehman, who has written a booklet pertaining to the history of Jamia Masjid, told Greater Kashmir recently. "That time, no prayers were offered and no call for prayers was given from the Masjid. The curbs remained in force for over two decades."

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