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Muslim body boycotts news channels, urges Muslim intellectuals not to appear in debates

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People watch TV at a store in New Delhi | Representational image | Amit Bhargava| Bloomberg

New Delhi: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has urged Muslim clerics, maulvis and intellectuals to stop participating in television news debates.

This is their second statement in a week after BJP spokespersons and TV anchors targeted Islam.

The organisation’s statement on Friday said TV debates have consistently targeted Muslims. It read: “They have insulted Islam on multiple occasions. They don’t intend to improve public knowledge on issues but they have made sure that they insult our religion. Intellectuals and Ulama members often become a casualty in these debates whenever they participate.”

Boycott channels, quash their plans

The statement said if prominent members of the community started to boycott these news debates, they would quash all “plans to conspire against Islam”.

“If we boycott these channels and debates we may help quash their plans to conspire against Islam and this would also lead to a massive drop in their TRPs,” the statement added.

This comes after the board sought the suspension of BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal last week. Both are accused of spewing hate against the Muslim community and Prophet Muhammad.

AIMPLB secretary Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani had demanded strict action and legal proceedings against them as well.

The statements have provoked widespread condemnation from Muslim-dominated countries. The Ministry of External Affairs has said these statements were by “fringe elements” and did not represent the views of the Indian government.

This is not the first time that Muslim clerics and maulvis in India were discouraged from participating in television news debates. In 2016, a Bareilly-based Muslim board had even issued a “fatwa” against anyone who attended these debates.

The fatwa or a religious decree was issued by the Markazi Darul Ifta (department of fatwa) of the Dargah Ala Hazrat at Bareilly. However, they perceived this act to be “unislamic”.