Technicalities being used to shield Muslim extremists against young Assamese singer

There was no fatwa” – some people in the media and on the social media are on an overdrive repeating the same ever since the news of a “fatwa” against the 16-year-old singer Nahid Afreen was published by various media organisations.

OpIndia.com too curated the report after various publications confirmed it. However, since we always take media reports with a pinch of salt, we started to wonder if it was a “media lie” (our most popular offering) once the claims of “there was no fatwa” started doing the rounds.

The source of “there was no fatwa” claim was a report by the leftist propaganda blog Scroll. Despite it being a propaganda blog, we decided to take a look at the source. This is what we found:

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(all the “facts” below are from the Scroll article, except the last bit, where the source has been linked back)

The Scroll report, if taken on face value, essentially claims that there was no fatwa as is defined by Islamic jurisprudence. There was basically a leaflet signed by various Muslim leaders, including clerics, that objected to a musical night at a college campus, because there was a mosque and graveyard near the campus.

Nahid was not directly mentioned in the leaflet, but Nahid is to perform at that musical night, which is slated to take place on March 25. The leaflet reiterates that such musical performances were “against sharia” and they could invite “wrath of Allah” on future generations.

Later the article quotes Nahid herself, who confirms that some local clerics had been against her singing, calling it a gunaah (crime) and “against sharia”.

(Note: Despite Nahid herself revealing this, Scroll makes a headline that virtually shields these clerics from criticism. Scroll report quotes secretary of Assam State Jamiat Ulama claiming that the Muslim community was proud of Nahid, but the report concedes, based on Nahid’s statement, that Ulama might not be truthful.)

Nahid further revealed that these clerics had even campaigned against her in 2015, when people were being asked to vote for her during the singing reality show Indian Idol Junior, where she finally ended up being the runner up. The then Assam Chief Minister had publicly appealed to people to vote for Nahid in the show.

To summarise (we are using the term “mullahs” as per general parlance):

  • Mullahs consider musical nights “against sharia”. They have put it on a leaflet.
  • Mullahs consider Nahid’s singing being “against sharia”.
  • Mullahs think that such acts “against sharia” will attract “wrath of Allah”.
  • Mullahs have asked people to boycott an event where Nahid incidentally performs.

Now with these facts on table, what is the priority of so-called “moderate” and “secular” voices? Their primary concern is not that Muslim leaders and clerics are trying to impose sharia laws in parts of India, but whether a leaflet can be called “fatwa” or not!

There is a show called “Fatah ka Fatwa” on Zee News, hosted by noted Islamic critic and author Tarek Fatah, where he attacks beliefs of radical Islam and activities of such mullahs. Many mullahs are against the show and want it fold up. One of the objections is that the show uses the term “fatwa” casually, because Tarek Fatah is not someone who can issue a fatwa, as defined by Islamic jurisprudence.

The stand that the leftist propaganda blog Scroll has taken is similar to the above position. They have focused on the “technicalities” instead of focusing on the “nuances”, which they insist on other occasions. For them, the use of term “fatwa” must be according to Islamic jurisprudence, not according to general parlance.

Further, we had recently seen the same lot outraged over “technicalities” such as whether Rohith Vemula had a genuine caste certificate, or whether meat in Akhlaq’s fridge was beef. They insisted that these were digressions, and the real issue was bigotry and injustice.

Suddenly, the real issue is the technicality over whether a leaflet can be termed “fatwa”, not the bigotry contained in that leaflet or injustice to singers and organisers of the event. No wonder hypocrisy has become synonymous with being “liberal”.

In fact, Scroll and its cheerleaders have now given a way out to mullahs on how to escape criticism. Issue a stricture that is as good as a fatwa, and then the apologists will say, “hey, there was no fatwa”.

Also, now that Scroll has suddenly found respect for technicalities and terminologies, should we expect that they won’t term any random bigoted person as being member of “Sangh Parivar” or “Right Wing” in their next article?

Nonetheless, we at OpIndia.com don’t want to use any term casually, even though we don’t think India should be bound by definitions of Islamic jurisprudence. We are updating our earlier article and appending it with this information.

However, we must point out that this rush to prove that “there was no fatwa” has surely betrayed one thing – the apologists and deniers or radical Islam are in abundance. They chose to focus on technicalities when a young girl’s singing career was at stake.

There may or may not be a fatwa, but there is apologia in abundance.


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