Shahid Raza Burney, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2007-09-24 03:00

MUMBAI, 24 September 2007 — Several clerics, Muslim organizations and Islamic scholars came out in defense of Bollywood action star Salman Khan and his family yesterday slamming the clerics of Darul Ifta Manzar-e-Islam madrasa for issuing a fatwa, which declared the actor and his family as non-Muslims after they were shown on TV placing a Hindu elephant deity in their house and worshipping it.

Salim Qureshi, trustee of Anjum Al-Qur’an madrasa in Madanpura, a Muslim suburb in Mumbai, said that by issuing such fatwas, Muslims are being mocked.

“It is these same clerics, who were caught on television cameras some months ago, while accepting cash for issuing fatwas. It’s a shame. Such clerics have lowered the image of Islam,” Qureshi said.

The clerics of the Darul Ifta Manzar-e-Islam madrasa had stated in their fatwa that Islam prohibits idol worship and the star and the family would have to recite the Shahadah (a declaration stating that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is his messenger) and would also have to seek Allah’s forgiveness and promise not to repeat the offense in order to become Muslims again.

According to Obaid Siddiqui, professor at Jamia Millia Islamic University, there is lot of misconception and ignorance about fatwas.

“Everybody cannot issue a fatwa and it is not a ruling, but an opinion,” Siddiqui said. “Salman Khan is doing something in his personal life, nobody can tell him what to do,” he added.

All India Muslim Law Board member and Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Kamal Farooqui also backed Salman saying it is his “personal choice” and the fatwa was uncalled for.

A Muslim intellectual strongly criticized the clerics and said “They should be ignored. If Salman Khan wants to change his religion the Indian Constitution gives him the right to do so.”

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