Muslim organisations divided on Uniform Civil Code

While the AIMPLB and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind criticised the proposal, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has refrained from reacting.

July 04, 2023 11:19 pm | Updated 11:19 pm IST - New Delhi

The President of All India Muslim Personal Law board , Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani addressing a round table discussion on “Role of Muslims in Uniting India against Fascism” at Madina Education Center, in Hyderabad on Monday.

The President of All India Muslim Personal Law board , Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani addressing a round table discussion on “Role of Muslims in Uniting India against Fascism” at Madina Education Center, in Hyderabad on Monday. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Prime Minister’s call for Uniform Civil Code (UCC) has left the Muslim organisations divided down the middle. While the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) lost no time in running down the proposal, and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind followed suit shortly after, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has refrained from reacting to Mr. Modi’s call. The Jamaat feels that the UCC affects all Indians, including the vast tribal population and it would not be wise to decry or accept a proposal whose contours are yet to be clearly outlined.

At a closed-door meeting of the bigwigs of the Jamaat, it was decided to adopt a wait and watch policy till the “time the government frames a draft law”.

“The Prime Minister has merely called for it in a public speech. The Law Commission too has only sought opinion at this stage. There is no need for Muslims to react at this juncture,” a Jamaat official said, adding, “Why do we see the UCC as a Hindu-Muslim divide? The majority community which enjoys huge benefits under the Hindu Undivided Family Act has so far not reacted to Mr. Modi’s statement. It is for them and the tribal community to speak out. There are millions of tribals in the country who cannot be put under the umbrella of Hinduism. The religious minorities have the cushion of Article 25. Not much is going to be served by participating in a debate which does not have a clear outline.”

‘Against religious freedom’

Meanwhile, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind minced no words in denouncing the proposal, calling it “totally against the religious freedom and fundamental rights given to the citizens under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution”.

“Ours is a secular Constitution under which every citizen has been given complete freedom of religion. Unfortunately, it seems, Article 44 is used under the guise of keeping a particular sect in mind to mislead the majority. The RSS Sarsangchalak M.S. Golwalkar himself said, ‘Uniform Civil Code is unnatural to India and against its diversity’. At a time when the basic rights of citizens are often violated, there is no protest or demand for UCC,” said Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Arshad Madani.

While the Jamiat has been opposing the demand for Uniform Civil Code from the beginning, the AIMPLB has had its own flip-flop on the issue. Initially, the Board tried to rally all the minorities, including Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Dalits too to present a joint resolution to the government. In a nuanced stand, it refrained from going public with its views. There was an attempt to bring the tribal communities too on the same page. The studied silence lasted till Mr. Modi’s proposal in Bhopal recently. And the Board, under a new president, Khalid Saifullah Rehmani, promptly criticised the Prime Minister’s statement seeking one law for the whole nation. “The Prime Minister’s call is an attempt to give a sectarian call to what is a matter of law. The UCC cannot be forced upon the minorities,” the AIMPLB said in a statement.

The largest Muslim body in the country, the Tablighi Jamaat, meanwhile, has not spoken up on the subject. With its members busy with the age-old cycles of 40 days and four months for self-rejuvenation, the Tablighi Jamaat, fresh from the COVID-19 controversy, has maintained complete silence on the UCC.

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