A number of mosques in Assam have banned Tablighi Jamaat activities in their premises after a meeting organised at the congregation’s headquarters in Delhi’s Nizamuddin became an epicentre of coronavirus pandemic.
Ismail Hossain, an Assam-based writer and activist told Firstpost that at least 50 mosques in Assam have banned Tabligh activities in the last two days should not be less than 50 in number. Though the Tablighi Jamat incident row in Delhi is perceived to have caused communal distrust among the Hindus and Muslims in the north eastern state, he said that this has no bearing on the decisions to ban tabligh activities.
“It is merely the embarrassment the Tablighis have brought to the Muslims that has prompted these decisions. They did not like the callous attitude of the Tablighi Jamaat in dealing with the corona virus threat,” said Hossain.
Out of more than 300 persons who returned to Assam from the event held at the Banglewali Mosque in Delhi’s Nizamuddin 29 have tested positive of Corona Virus and one person has died to complication arising out of the infection. There are still 15 persons in the state untraceable who attended the Tablighi Jamaat but did not report to the authorities and hence their health status is not known.
“This has caused much distrust among the communities as no one knows whether the untraceable persons are themselves infected. If they are tean they could infect more people. So this has become a reason to worry not for the commoners as well,” said Hafizul Ahmed, a leader of the indigenous Muslim group Goriya Moriya Desi Jatiya Parishad.
The worry over the missing Tablighi Jamaat attendees has left the society divided. And taking advantage of the mistrust, hate mongers have gone on an overdrive on social media to drive a wedge between the communities.
“Fake news were spread in the social media labelling persons as Markaz Nizamuddin returned, whereas these persons have no recent travel hitory to Markaz,” Rubul Rahman a person based out of Barpeta district said.
The Assam Police recently arrested, 33 persons for circulating fake news and hate mongering including one Member of Legislative Assembly, from the All India United Democratic Front.
But Rafik Ahmed Neog, the President of Kokilamukh Masjid Committee in Jorhat district, which is one of the first two mosques in Assam to ban Tablighi Jamat said to Firstpost that the decision was not made under any pressure.
“It would be wrong to assume that the decision was taken under pressure. We never faced any discrimination from other communities. We took this decision because the Tablighi Jamaat flouted the rules laid down by the government as precautionary measure for COVID-19,” he said.
He also acknowledged that the Tablighi Jamaat is an organisation which has reformed many young men who had earlier gone astray. But the way the Jamaat promoted superstition and remained aloof to the government orders in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak was not acceptable.
Mridul Rahman, Advisor to the Rojahauli Masjid Committee, another committee to ban Tabligh Jamaat told Firstpost, “The kind of practices the Jamaat follow cannot be accepted in the 21st century.”
“They abstain from watching television and using sanitisers and also persuade others to do the same. They also insist on wearing only a certain kind of attire. This cannot be followed in today’s era by everyone,” he said.
Both the mosque leaders re-iterated that though religious education which, the Tabligh provides is important, but only modern education can provide the direction for progress. In Jorhat district alone, at least four mosques have banned Tablighi Jamat.
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