A PIL filed by the former chairman of the UP Shia Central Waqf Board, Waseem Rizvi, to remove 26 verses of the Quran has triggered a massive outrage over the issue.
The latest condemnation on the issue came from BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain who has said that the party firmly condemns whoever insults any religious text.
Hussain said, “I strongly object and condemn Wasim Rizvi’s petition seeking removal of 26 verses from Quran. It is my party’s stand that saying absurd things about any religious texts, including Quran, is a highly condemnable act.”
Hussain added, “Wasim Rizvi does not have any right to hurt religious sentiments of the people.”
According to the pleas filed by Rizvi, the said 26 verses were not part of the original text and promoted terrorism. The plea said, “These verses were added to the Quran, by the first three Caliphs, to aid the expansion of Islam by war.”
Not just the BJP, leaders of other minority bodies also condemned the plea. On Monday, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) issued a notice to Rizvi, calling his plea an effort to disturb the communal harmony of the country.
“The NCM, being a statutory body created to protect and safeguard the interests of the minorities, strongly condemns the statement given by you,” the notice read.
It said, “The NCM directs you to withdraw your comments and tender an unconditional apology within 21 days, failing which the Commission will be constrained to hold a hearing under Section 9 of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 and direct appropriate authorities to take legal action as deemed fit.”
Thousands of protests of both the Shia and Sunni sects had gathered in Lucknow on Sunday over the incident.
Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad, who led a protest against Waseem Rizvi, said, “Waseem Rizvi is an enemy of Islam and Quran and a social boycott of him is declared. He is also being declared a terrorist.”
Sunni clerics were also part of the protest along with Maulana Kalbe Jawad. More than a dozen Shia-Sunni clerics were present, including Maulana Salman Nadvi, Imam Fazlur Rahman of the famous Teele Wali mosque and senior Supreme Court lawyer Mehmood Pracha.
Kalbe Jawad said that a joint Shia, Sunni protest would be organised on March 19 after prayers at Delhi’s Jama Masjid. He said that the protesters would demand Rizvi’s arrest.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board too criticised Rizvi’s plea. Times of India quoted Maulana Wali Rahmani as saying, “No Muslim believes this and Rizvi is infamous for creating rift between the Muslim communities.”
Rizvi’s family has also distanced itself from the incident with his brother saying on a video circulated online that the family members have nothing to do with his actions.