Modi lends an ear to Muslim grievances

Foundation chief speaks about the views of Muslims post-Godhra

Modi lends an ear to Muslim grievances

Zakat Foundation of India president Syed Zafar Mahmood, a known critic of Narendra Modi, has made an attempt to highlight the views of Muslims in post-Godhra Gujarat at an event attended by the chief minister.  

A slideshow highlighting how Muslims felt marginalised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Modi in Gujarat was also organised at the Young Indian Leaders Conclave 2013.

The conclave was organised by the Citizens for Accountable Governance in Gandhinagar on Saturday.

During a half-an-hour presentation, Mahmood asked why, despite the BJP manifesto professing expansion of modern education among Indian Muslims, central scholarships for minority students had not been implemented in Gujarat.

“Isn’t it time for the Gujarat chief minister to visit the Muslim rehabilitation colonies of Citizen Nagar and Dhorajinagar, which were set up by Muslim philanthropists and not the government,” he asked in his presentation.

Quoting the Holy Quran, he remarked that god enjoins justice and compassion. One should say sorry even though in his view it may not be a requirement of justice
Interestingly, Modi listened intently and also reacted to Mahmood’s presentation. “Mahmood did raise some points. You should listen to everybody’s thought-provoking views,” Modi said.

For almost two hours Modi listened to the opinions presented by participants, even responding to a query from a Muslim youth from Kashmir.

“You are trying to address the Muslim community in India. Even the Muslim youth have expectations from you. I request you to extend your emotional appeal to the youth of the Valley and open you door to them. I assure you that by doing that the doors to Muslims in India will also be opened,” said the youth from Kashmir.

To this, Modi responded that through social networking sites he is interacting with youths from Kashmir. “The points you have raised are genuine. People want employment and good governance, and I agree with you,” he added.The organisers had invited several Islamic scholars across the country for the event. While a few attended, several stayed away. But those who attended stressed on the need for a dialogue. “You can only raise your issues if you interact with him and point out those issues. Evading a discourse is no solution,” remarked Zafar Sareshwala, who attended the conclave.

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