The occasion was “Anti-Terrorism Day” observed on the occasion of Chehlum or Arba’een of the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), held on 3rd December 2015, at Dargah Shah-e-Mardaan. The event was organized by Anjuman-e Haideri, the management committee of the Dargah and Karbala-e Jorbagh, in the heart of New Delhi.
The huge public meeting was attended by foreign dignitaries including Syrian Ambassador Dr. Riadh Kamel Abbas, Iranian Ambassador, Gholam-Reza Ansari, Iraqi Charge d’ Affairs, Mohammad Sabri, Charge d’ Affairs, and Second Secretary at the Russian Embassy, Evgeny Bezeka. Religious leaders and scholars including General Secretary of Malis-e Ulema-e Hind, Mowlana Kalb-e Jawad Naqavi, prominent Hindu leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam, Eminent Sunni religious scholar Mowlana Tauqeer Reza Khan of Bareilly, General Secretary of All India Christian Council John Dyal, and Sant Krishna Saha Vidyarthi Maharaj. All religious leaders, scholars and diplomats were unanimous in condemning Takfiri and other terrorists groups who have been creating havoc in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, France and elsewhere.
They unequivocally condemned the recent terror attack on Paris by terrorists of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and urged the international community to step up its efforts to fight global terror. In an unprecedented manner, Russian diplomat Evgeny Bezeka spoke about his country’s fight against Takfiri and other terror outfits in Syria. He said Russia’s decision to fight against IS was at the invitation of the President Bashar al-Assad. He said “We are fighting under the aegis of the international law with allies who understand the threat of IS. Russia’s actions have been 100% more effective in two months to contain IS, than the international coalition’s strikes for the last one-and-half years.”
Referring to Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian jet fighter, Bezeka said “We have been attacked by Turkey. This was a stab in the back. There should be international partnership in fighting terror. Russia cannot be bullied, we are not afraid.” The Russian diplomat also stressed the importance of providing stability in the region. While explaining the situation on the ground the Russian diplomat asked “Who are these terrorists? He further elaborated that ‘they are the ones who lost their jobs in the US war against Iraq. We all need to provide stability in the region. That is the only solution.”
Both Iraq and Syria, which are currently fragmented with parts of its territories, captured by IS and other terrorist groups, held the United States responsible for its actions in fueling the growth of IS.
Echoing Russia’s sentiment, Syrian Ambassador Dr Riadh Kamel Abbas said Moscow’s efforts against IS “have been more effective than the international alliance”. He said that the US coalition strikes has helped the terrorist group grow in size and capture more terrorism. He added: “It is important to fight IS but before that it’s important to know: who is the power behind the group?’’ He expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the event and the masses to be part of the ‘Anti- Terrorism Day being observed on the Arba’een of Imam Husian (PuH).
Mohammed Sabri, Charge d’Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, said the US should be subjected to “international pressure” to convince it to fight IS. He added the US just does the talking. Only with international pressure on the US one can fight the IS.” He claimed that the US was not serious in its intervention to rid the region of IS. He pointed out: “Two decades ago, there was no terrorism in Iraq but after 9/11 and the invasion by US things changed. Even when IS infiltrated to capture parts of northern Iraq and began killing civilians, the US army stood with folded hands.”
Speaking in front of a packed audience, John Dayal, President of All India Catholic Union, said it was wrong to associate any religion with terror and that such activities must not be seen as the work of Muslims, since these terrorists were not representative of the religion. He said that while discussing terrorism, one must not also forget the incidents happening in India. The fight against terrorism was not limited to one country but a fight for all, he added.
Maulana Tauqeer Reza Khan of Bareilly, who is a prominent Sunni Muslim religious leader, recalled the Great Sacrifice of the Prophet’s grandson Imam Husain (PuH) nearly 14 centuries ago. While condemning the acts of the IS, he said that the world is often hypocritical when it comes to defining terrorism. He said: “The incidents that are happening in Iraq and conducted by the Islamic State are terrorism. But what will you call the incidents in Yemen and Palestine? Unless we use the same definition of terrorism for all such activities, we will not be able to tackle it.” He added that the community must also ensure that youths are not misguided towards the IS ideology.
Hindu Leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam extolled the sacrifices made by Imam Husain (PuH), saying that he showed what Islam stood for. He said: “Just as the Dadri incident is not the real face of Hinduism, in the same way, the activities of the IS, is not the real face of Islam. No one who believes in Islam, and Imam Husain (PuH), can commit such acts,” he said, to thunderous applause from the huge crowd present at, and around, Dargah.
The loudest cheer from the crowd came when Krishnam said that he too was a ‘Husaini’, that is someone who believed in the mission of Imam Husain (PuH). He stressed the fact that Indian Muslims need not prove their love for India to anyone, since this country belonged to them as much as it did to anyone else who lived here. At various points during his speech, the crowd broke into loud chants and Krishnam too joined them.
Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), a New Delhi-based umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations, said IS has nothing to do with Islam. He also rejected the perception of IS ideology spreading among Indian youth. “There is no question of any tolerance of such terrorist outfits in the Muslim community. They are claiming to be working in the name of Islam. But Islam does not approve of terrorism,” Khan added.
Mahmood Pracha, a senior advocate who heads South Asian Minorities’ Lawyers’ Association (SAMLA), said that terrorism can be defeated by following the path of Imam Husain (PuH). He said that followers of Imam Husain (PuH) can succeed in fighting the menace. The teachings of Karbala keep the warmth of faith and determination to act, he said.
Sant Krishna Saha Vidyarthi Maharaj, who is the priest at Valmiki temple, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed before the freedom of the country in New Delhi, said that no religion justifies the acts of terrorism. He appreciated the organizers for observing the Chehlum of Imam Husain (PuH) as “Anti-Terrorism Day” and paying their tributes to the martyrs of Karbala.
Anjuman-e Haideri also passed a resolution which called upon the “International Community to take ‘all necessary measures’ to prevent and suppress IS terrorist acts on its territory under its control in Syria and Iraq.’ The resolution was signed by Ambassadors of Syria and Iran, Charge d’ Affairs of Iraq and Second Secretary of Embassy of Russian Federation, apart from other religious and social leaders from various religious groups.
The resolution further said that the “participants support all resolutions passed by U.N. Security Council and other International organizations condemning the terrorist attacks perpetrated by IS in France, Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere”.
For the people present at the Dargah, this was not only to commemorate the sacrifice of Imam Husain (AS); it was also a way to show that they too stood against the activities of IS.