Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind slapped Rs 20 crore defamation against Shia board chief

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi has been slapped with a Rs 20 crore defamation suit by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind and received death threats on social media after he wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath requesting a ban on madrasas for “breeding terrorists”.

The notice was sent by the Maharashtra branch of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, whose legal cell head and general secretary Gulzar Azmi said, “Waseem Rizvi is making divisive remarks. Culture and religious harmony is taught in madrasas. We demand unconditional apology from him.”

The notice states that the Rizvi used extremely objectionable language in the January 9 letter sent to Modi, which has harmed the reputation of madrasas and Muslims. The letter states that madrasas produce terrorists instead of doctors and engineers and radicalise the Muslim youth, the notice alleges. Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind has demanded Rs 20 crore from Rizvi because he has “harmed the image of Muslims and madrasas”, the notice further states. The notice accused Rizvi of “insinuating” that madrasas have not contributed to the progress of Muslim youths, but has, in fact, created a sense of fundamentalism in them without any data to indicate

Rizvi, who denies having received the notice, said that he had requested Modi and Adityanath to ban only those madrasas that are funded by foreign countries. Rizvi told news agency ANI on Friday,

“The mentality, power and network of a few radical Islamists have been exposed before the world in this letter. They distorted my statement and brought entire Muslim community against me. I was talking about some specific madrasas only.”

On the threats he has received on Facebook and Twitter, Rizvi said, “I am being threatened with dire consequences on social media.” A first information report (FIR) has also been lodged against Rizvi.

Imran Hasan Siddiqui, president of Al Imam Welfare Association, supported the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s decision to send the legal notice. “Every madrasa doesn’t preach radicalism. I support the lodging of the FIR too.” Ahmad Mehmood Sheikh, state president of Bahujan Muslim Mahasabha, said that Rizvi should be immediately arrested.

On Tuesday, Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi haad slammed Rizvi. “Wasim Rizvi is the biggest joker, the most opportunistic person. He has sold his soul to the RSS. I challenge this buffoon to show one Shia or Sunni or madrasa where such teachings are imparted. If he has proof, then he should go and show it to the Home Minister,” Owaisi had said.

Terming Rizvi’s comments reckless, Owaisi said, “This man is talking in a very reckless and general way. If he has the proof, he should show it and go to the home minister. If not, he should keep quiet and apologise to the whole nation.”

(With PTI and ANI inputs)