The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has demanded the withdrawal of the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill and has urged the Centre to go slow on ties with Israel. The Board felt that instead of serving the interests of the U.S. and Israel, the Centre should safeguard those of the country.

Releasing the “Lucknow Declaration” at the end of the three-day 21st general session of the AIMPLB here on Sunday, Assistant Secretary-General and spokesman Maulana Abdur Rahim Qureshi said either the Communal Violence Bill should be withdrawn or redrafted, as the proposed legislation in its present form created apprehensions in the minds of the Muslims.

“The board felt that it would prove harmful to the Muslims,” the Maulana told journalists here.

He said the apprehensions stemmed from the fact that arbitrary powers are proposed to be given to the police and the magistracy in the Bill. The various commissions of inquiry, he said, have pointed to the biased and prejudiced role of the police towards the minority community in their findings on communal riots.

For building opinion against the Bill, the board proposed to discuss the matter with secular parties and motivate their Members of Parliament. In this context, a meeting of Muslim MPs and those from secular parties is likely to be held in New Delhi before April 12, Maulana Qureshi said.

He said an amendment proposal would be sent to the Centre, and added that Muslim organisations have been asked to oppose the Bill till it is either withdrawn or amended.

He said there should be no closer cooperation with Israel. The board has not taken kindly to the Israeli government's move to dismantle the “Masjid-i-Aqsa” in Jerusalem in a bid to establish a Jewish settlement. Stating that the mosque was a revered place of worship for the Muslims, the Maulana lamented that trenches were being dug and the area being bulldozed by the Israel government. The board assailed the Arab nations for not taking a strong position.

Regarding terrorism, the board's declaration condemned the practice of equating terrorism with Muslims and decried the arrest of “innocent” Muslim youths. The Maulana said the AIMPLB was of the firm view that Muslims were being targeted with the motive of creating hatred against the minority community.

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