NEW DELHI: Calling Maulana Salman Nadwi's initiative of an out-of-court settlement of the Ayodhya dispute as a "courageous step", Muslim scholar Syed Abdullah Tariq on Tuesday urged the Muslim community to unite and declare its support for the cleric.
"At last a courageous stalwart broke the boundaries of the disastrous unity of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Earlier, Maulana Ali Mian Nadwi’s sensible proposal on Babri Masjid was rejected by the board and the Babri Masjid Action Committee in 1989," Abdullah Tariq said.
Tariq, who hails from Uttar Pradesh's Rampur, said though he feels that Salman Nadwi was late to initiate the process of negotiation but he must be lauded for breaking the ranks with the 'irresponsible' AIMPLB and offering a solution for the dispute.
"Ali Mian had convinced the then top Hindu clergy for an out-of-court settlement in the late 80s but was opposed by the board and the BMAC. Thus he remained silent. Salman Nadwi went a step ahead and did not bow down to the pressure piled upon him by the Muslim leadership," he said.
On the expulsion of Salman Nadwi from the AIMPLB, Tariq said he was bound to get sacked after expressing divergent views on the Ayodhya issue.
"Salman Nadwi has preferred to get sacked from the board rather than adopting their rigid ways. He must be appreciated for maintaining his stance amid all this," he said.
He also slammed the Muslim board for its stand on the triple talaq issue. He said the AIMPLB was earning a bad name for Muslims and Islam with its irresponsible behavior.
Seeking support for Salman Nadwi, Tariq said: "It's my humble appeal to the sensible Muslims to back Salman Nadwi, who revived Prophet Muhammad's practice of adopting a way to peace instead of confrontation."
Tariq stated that Salman Nadwi was trying to save what is left of the ruins for the Muslims.
Tariq is popular among both Hindus and Muslims for leading a Muslim delegation in the Gayatri Mahakumbh in Haridwar on the invitation of the Gayatri Pariwar. He was also awarded by Ayodhya's Ramayanam Trust for his contributions for "service to humanity".
Tariq said he was the first person to raise voice for the peaceful settlement of the Ayodhya dispute and has been maintaining the same stand since then.
"My stand on the Babri dispute was always clear. In 1988, I had written an article on the contentious issue against a march of Muslims toward Babri Masjid called by the Babri Masjid Action Committee. Several top scholars of that time were against the call given by the BMAC but could not raise their voice. In the article, I had termed BMAC's step as incorrect and provocative," he said.
He said he had warned the then Muslim leadership of transgressing against the limits set by the Quran and opting for a confrontation.
Tariq said Muslims should not adopt the extreme way in the decades-long legal battle but opt for a peaceful settlement of the issue.
"Mosque is a structure made up of bricks and stones. God's house is not limited to four walls. We call a mosque Allah's place because Allah is worshipped there. We can construct or shift a mosque at some other place if there is a threat to peace and harmony of our country," he said.
Tariq said what matters the most is the peaceful environment and every Indian should work to achieve that.
Giving an example of a treaty signed by the Prophet Muhammad during his time with the people of Mecca, Tariq said Islam advocates peace and not confrontation.
"When the Muslims, powerful than ever before at that time, were stopped by the pagans from entering Mecca and performing the pilgrimage, the Prophet Muhammad did not seek a war but opted for a peace treaty at 'Hudaibiyyah'. Had there been a confrontation, the Muslims would have overpowered the pagans and taken Mecca by force but the prophet sought to negotiate and stayed far away from confrontation," he said.
Calling Shree Ram as the 'Maryada Purushottam', Tariq said it is in a peaceful environment the true message of Shree Ram can be conveyed to the people.
Tariq also hit out at the AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, who is also a member of the AIMPLB, for targetting Salman Nadwi in his speeches.
"His (Owaisi's) igniting statements may fetch for him a few more seats in Muslim majority areas but every word he utters drives thousands of peace-loving Hindus towards hatred," he said.
Salman Nadvi, former executive member of the AIMPLB, had met Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for an out-of-court settlement of the Ayodhya dispute. He was later sacked by the board for going against its "unanimous stand".