By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Be Indian and buy Indian. This is the latest decree of the Muslim clergy in Hyderabad, the city with the second largest Muslim population in the country.
Angered by the Israeli raids and the continued support of the USA to the Jewish State, several Muslim organisations and religious scholars in the city have called upon the community to buy only those goods that are Indian.
A call has also been given to the Imams of all the mosques in Andhra Pradesh to make fervent appeals to the devout during the Friday sermons to boycott Jewish and American products. The Imams will exhort Muslims to purchase only the Swadesi products. Muslim shopkeepers will be asked not to stock these products. Muslim marriages and functions are already bereft of American/Jewish soft drinks and many families have shifted to alternative softdrinks.
A list of 120 Jewish and American products has been prepared by Muslim organisations for distribution outside mosques as part of the campaign to create awareness in the community against Israel and its prime supporter, the USA. The list includes products like Johnson and Johnson, Nescafe, Kotex, Kitkat, Maggie, Revlon, Garnier, Huggies, Nestle, Mc Donald, Coca Cola, Pepsi, KFC, Kinlay and Tommy Hilfiger.
"This is going to be the biggest boycott of Jewish and American products in the State. We will endorse the Swadesi products during our campaign. The Communists have also extended their support to our economic boycott. We will show the Jewish lobby in Israel and in the USA what our economic might is. Our aim is to weaken Israel and America economically so that they come to senses and respect human rights," says Hafiz Peer Shabbir Ahmad, president of Andhra Pradesh unit of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.
The Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen, an important political force among local Muslims, Tameer-e-Millat and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind have also given a boycott call. Eminent Muslim clergy Moulana Hameeduddin Aquil Hussami wants Muslims to keep off anything that is remotely connected with the Jewish lobby.
"Jews are economically strong and by virtue of this they dictate terms to the American government. If Muslims, who make up one-fifth of the world's population, boycott Jewish and American products, the Israeli economy will be crippled. By buying Jewish and American goods we are simply making the `enemy of human rights' even stronger. Hyderabadi Muslims have made a beginning in the direction," senior Muslim clergy and All-India Religious Leaders' Association president Moulana Peerzada Shabbir Naqshbandi told this paper.
Many Muslims feel that the Almighty has already started retaliating against the Jewish lobby in the form of a report prepared by the Centre for Science and Environment. "The CSE report that soft drinks contain pesticide residue is nothing but an avenge of God as it comes in the wake of Israeli aggression. People have already stopped buying these soft drinks and many governments including Gujarat have banned their sales in educational institutions," points out Fazil Hussain Parvez, whose Urdu weekly, "Gawah" has launched a concerted campaign against the Jewish products.
Taking advantage of the anti-Jewish feelings in the Muslim community, Maharashtra-based Makkah Cola is planning to set up its bottling plant in Hyderabad. Says Makkah Cola managing director Zafar Shaikh, "the demand for our products have gone up after the attack on Lebanon. We launched Makkah Cola in Hyderabad in the wake of cartoon episode when Muslim sentiments ran high".
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