Thursday, 30 August 2007

Midnight madrasa raid irks AP clergy


August 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug. 30: Madrasas have accused the Congress government of being anti-Muslim after police raided a well-known Islamic seminary in Hyderabad late on Wednesday night.
Two more madrasas, including a girls̢۪ seminary, were raided on Thursday afternoon. The police, however, described the raids as verification exercises undertaken as part of the investigation into the twin blasts.
A police team swooped on the 25-year-old Darul Uloom Hyderabad, managed by eminent Islamic scholar Maulana Hameeduddin Aquil Hussami, in the dead of night and conducted a virtual identification parade of students and teachers. Most of the students in the madrasas are below 14 years old and several are orphans.
The midnight swoop angered the Muslim clergy, who said the police was "terrorising Muslims and branding them as terrorists". The police returned to the madrasa on Thursday morning for verification of records.
Maulana Aquil had campaigned for the Congress during the last Assembly elections and had shared a dais with senior Congress leaders, including Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.
"A madrasa is an educational institution," said Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, general secretary of the Deeni Madaris Board. "It is open to all. Raiding a madrasa in the dead of night will send wrong signals and create communal frenzy."
The Madaris Board, the umbrella body of madrasas in Andhra Pradesh, held an emergency meeting on Thursday evening to denounce the police action as highhanded. It said several young students were traumatised by the presence of the police late in the night.
The board, comprising senior Islamic clergy, wondered what had forced the police to raid madrasas during the night when they could visit them without trouble in the morning.
Representatives of over three dozen top madrasas participated in the meeting and decided to call on chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy after Friday prayers to lodge their protest. They also warned of a severe Muslim backlash if the Congress government did not desist from such actions.
"Madrasas create responsible and God-fearing citizens," said Maulana Hameeduddin Aquil, who chaired the meeting. "No terrorist has ever been rounded up from a madrasa in India. Even senior BJP leaders like L.K. Advani gave them a clean chit. If we come across any anti-national element, we will be the first ones to hand them over to the police."
Meanwhile, the police on Thursday afternoon raided Darul Uloom Anwarul Huda at Kishanbagh and Jamia Ayesha Siddiqa Lil Banat, a girls̢۪ religious school at Misriganj, further angering the Islamic clergy.

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