08:18 GMT20 April 2021
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    A petition in India's Supreme Court by Shia Muslim leader Wasim Rizvi has demanded the removal of 26 verses from the Holy Quran over claims that these were introduced to the religious book at a later date and preach violence and terrorism to Muslims across the globe. Shia and Sunni Muslim organisations in India are now up in arms against Rizvi.

    The grave space (Hayati Kabr) of former Indian Shia Waqf board Chairman Waseem Rizvi was desecrated by hammer-wielding men in Lucknow city, as backlash against him continued over his petition in the country’s apex Supreme Court demanding the removal of 26 verses from the Holy Quran.

    The purchase of space for a grave in a graveyard before death is a rapidly growing practice among many Shia Muslims. The Waqf Board is the custodian of properties on which mosques and other structures overseen by Muslim clergy, including Islamic schools, are built.

    ​Rizvi has faced massive political and religious backlash over his petition, including from several Muslim leaders from the Jammu and Kashmir unit of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the National Conference, another political outfit, over his controversial petition.

    On his part, Rizvi has reasoned that the 26 verses were added to the original version and are meant to incite violence among Muslims.

    “What are his credentials to question the Holy Quran?” asked an outraged Anwar Hussain, the chief spokesperson of Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind (JuH), one of the biggest Islamic scholarly outfits in India, while talking to Sputnik.

    “Have you heard any other international scholar of repute saying that these verses had been added at a later date?” he questioned further.

    “He accused these 26 verses of spreading violence and terrorism among Muslims. He has failed to interpret the meaning of jihad correctly. The jihad that he refers to in these verses is more of fighting with one's own ills than waging violence”, Hussain reckons, as he further accuses Rizvi of spreading ill-will among the Muslim community for “personal reasons”.

    “He is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in several corruption cases. The statements he has been making about the Quran have been made by several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders more than a decade ago. He might just be trying to win political favour with some of the more nationalist elements in the BJP”, alleges Hussain.

    India’s apex crime investigating agency, the CBI, last began a probe into two dubious land deals involving the Shia Waqf Board while Rizvi helmed the outfit.

    Hussain also points out that various Shia and Sunni outfits have come together to condemn the petition by Rizvi, noting a statement by the Shia Waqf Board condemning the “blasphemous” petition.

    The Shiane Haider-e-Karrar Welfare Association, an Islamist group in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, has even announced a reward of INR 20,000 ($300 approx.) for “whoever brings the head” of Rizvi.

    “This is because he has insulted the Quran-e-Pak (the sacred Quran) and the Shia community will boycott whoever invites Rizvi in any marriage or any other function”, the group’s President Hasnain Jaffrey said in a video message to his followers last week.

    Massive protests against Rizvi also broke out in Lucknow last week, with another protest planned at Delhi’s Jama Masjid after the Friday prayers this week.

    Political Outrage

    “The holy Quran is the incorruptible and unchangeable word of Allah. The petition should not be entertained; on the contrary, strict action should be taken against him for hurting the sentiments of Muslims living across the globe”, Dr Farooq Abdullah, former chief of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state and a federal parliamentarian, said, reacting to Rizvi’s petition last week.

    “The government must act quickly against Rizvi and arrest him for his blasphemous remarks and hurting the religious sentiments of billions of Muslims across the globe”, Jammu and Kashmir’s BJP leader Altaf Hussain told local media last week.

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    Quran, India, sunni, Shia
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