Kolkata: The Bengal Imams’ Association on Friday made an appeal to Muslims in the state to not wield arms during Muharram processions in West Bengal, as according to them, it has nothing to do with Islam.
The Chairman of the association, Muhammad Yahya, has issued letters across all districts of Bengal, urging Muslims to avoid carrying weapons in processions this year.
“Carrying weapons is an anti-Islamic practice, and therefore, on behalf of the association, we have requested our brothers not to carry them in processions,” he said, while emphasizing that there is no mention of such practices in the Quran either.
Imam of Nakhoda Masjid, Maulana Shafique Qasmi, said, “I have already urged people, including children, not to carry weapons and indulge in self-flagellation this Muharram.”
Calling the act “Haram”, the Imam said Muslims around the world should stop such practices.
“You will find such practices prevalent only in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. People nowhere else in the world follow such anti-Islamic methods. Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the year and we should follow it as per Quran,” he added.
There have been many instances in over the last couple of years when BJP and Trinamool Congress got embroiled in political slugfests over armed rallies during festivals, be it Ram Navami or Muharram.
BJP had accused the ruling party of appeasement politics by allowing Muslims to carry arms during Muharram, while the TMC alleged the saffron brigade of perpetrating communal politics.
The BJP attacks on TMC were further intensified after CM Mamata Banerjee put a ban on arms during Ram Navami processions last year.
Speaking to News18, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said he welcomes the “decision taken by them (Imams) for not carrying arms during Muharram processions. Such initiatives are required to maintain peace in Bengal.”
Trinamool Congress minister Partha Chatterjee has also appealed to the people to maintain peace across the state during Muharram.
“I have also asked the district administration to stay alert as there are people who will try to instigate people in the name of religion. We will not tolerate this because we believe in peace,” he said.
Muharram commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. The Shia Muslims mark the ceremonial mourning on this day and it's called ‘Ashura’. This year, ‘Ashura’ falls on Friday (September 21).