Mohammed Ashraf, Arab News
Published — Tuesday 13 February 2007
Last Update 13 February 2007 3:00 am
KOZHIKODE, 13 February 2007 — The 29th anniversary and 13th convocation conference of the leading Islamic institution Markazu Ssaquafathi Ssunniyya came to a close at its campus in Karanthur village 14 kilometers away from here Sunday.
Dr. Omar Abdullah Al-Kamel, eminent scholar and leading businessman from Jeddah, inaugurated the concluding session, which was presided by Syed Abdurrahman Al-Bukhari of Ullal, a well-known Islamic scholar.
Eight hundred and fifty young scholars and 78 memorizers of the Holy Qur’an, who passed out from the Markaz institutions, received their academic certifications.
Sheikh Abu Bakr Ahmed, secretary-general and the driving spirit of the Markaz, delivered the convocation address in the presence of former federal minister C.M. Ibrahim and leading NRI businessmen M.A. Yousuffali and Galfar Mohammed Ali.
Leading politicians, businessmen, scholars and social workers attended various sessions of the three-day conference that began Friday. An exhibition on Islamic history and artifacts held in the city also attracted huge crowds from across Kerala and the neighboring states.
While inaugurating the national integration meeting, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said blaming and harassing a particular community in the name of terrorism was a set back to national integrity.
“Persons bearing Muslim names are being harassed in Mumbai and other places. The same trend was seen in Marad near Kozhikode where religious fundamentalists unleashed terror by not allowing hundreds of people to stay in their homes just because they were Muslims,” the chief minister said referring to the aftermath of 2003 communal riots in Kerala’s fishing hamlet.
He said the government would take steps to enable people of all religions to live together. There were however instances of state governments directly and indirectly supporting the actions of communalists. Muslim extremist groups had also unleashed terror in the name of defense.
He said followers of both religions should come forward to isolate communalists and terrorists in their respective religions.
The chief minister said he was for implementing Rajinder Sachar Committee’s report that has found majority members of the Muslim community socially, financially and educationally backward.
“The case is a bit different in Kerala. But the government has to pool in all resources to change the backwardness of Muslims in North India,” he said.
In a memorandum to the chief minister, Sheikh Abu Bakr Ahmed said most of the provisions in the new law calling for compulsory registration of all marriages were impractical and requested that a final decision in this regard be taken only after discussions with Muslim scholars.
Clear discussions should take place regarding the issue of minority status for institutions run by the community.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi inaugurated the get-together of Kerala expatriate workers in the Gulf. Sheikh Abu Bakr Ahmed chaired the session in which former education minister E.T. Muhammed Basheer and representatives of the expatriates spoke.
Opposition leader Oommen Chandy inaugurated the minority conference while Congress party’s State unit president Ramesh Chennithala opened the conference on minority education.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the history seminar in which Forest Minister Binoy Viswam and legislators Aryadan Mohammed, P.M.A. Salam, C.P. Mohammed and M.K. Premnath and several politicians spoke.
Addressing the convocation conference, Sheikh Abu Bakr Ahmed said the Markaz has become a center of hope and expectation for orphans, destitute and the poor.
He said the Indian government should strongly resist the encroachment of Israel against Masjid Al-Aqsa. “We want the government to detach all the diplomatic relationship with Israel which has presented only tortures and sufferings to the Muslim world so far. The world should stand together to resist the Israeli savagery,” he said while lauding the Saudi efforts to reconcile warring Palestinian factions.
He also wanted an end to the exploitation of Kerala workers in the Gulf by the state-run airline companies and asked the government to take immediate steps to provide affordable air travel services.