The state of Maharashtra has been facing incidents of communal violence since November 12, when protests against the alleged targeting of Muslims in Tripura turned violent. Raza Academy, a radical Muslim organization, had called for a sit-in protest in Nanded.
Reports suggest that its affiliates tried to enter mixed-residential areas. The Police, however, controlled the situation in time. Seeing that they failed in their plan, the Muslim youth restored to stone-pelting. This is not the first time this organization’s name has made to headlines for causing communal violence and vandalism. Here is a list of events that happened under the banner of Raza Academy in the last six months.
On May 6, 2021, Saeed Noori, Chief of Raza Academy, released a video message in which he condemned the removal of ‘Muslim Only’ boards at Madinah by the Saudi Government. He also criticized the Saudi government for developing Cinema Hall, Clubs and Fashion Shows that are “against Islamic Law”. Noori asked his followers to pray for the ‘purity of Madinah (Harmain Shareefain) and Protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israel’. In his message, he alleged if the Saudi Government continued to ‘work against Islamic Law’ it could eventually pose a threat to the holy sites of Muslims in Saudi Arabia.
On May 19, 2021, an FIR was registered in Mumbai against Sudarshan News based on the complaint by Raza Academy. The complaint was filed against Suresh Chavhanke, editor-in-chief, Sudarshan News, for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim Community. In the complaint, Raza Academy said that Sudarshan News aired a video that contained visuals showing a missile attack on the dome of the Holy Prophet’s Shrine. The organization also led a social media campaign demanding the arrest of Chavhanke. The FIR was registered under Sections 153(A), 295(A), 505(2) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
An FIR was registered at Pydhonie police station, Mumbai under sections 295(A) 153(A) 505(2) 34 IPC by Raza Academy through Saeed Noori Sahab and Irfan Shaikh Sahab (complainant) against slanderer Suresh Chavhanke#BanSudarshanNews pic.twitter.com/X7DvTXowGy— Raza Academy (@razaacademyho) May 18, 2021
On the same day, a delegation of the organization’s Akola chapter met the district Collector and handed over a memorandum to the Indian Government. In the memorandum, they demanded that the Indian Government should pressure Israel to stop attacking Palestine.
On June 1, 2021, a delegation of Raza Academy met the Mumbai Police Commissioner (Law and Order) and demanded the immediate arrest of Wasim Rizvi. In the complaint, they alleged that Rizvi repeatedly hurt the sentiments of the Muslims, and he should be booked under UAPA. In a Facebook post, they wrote, “Under the leadership of Hazrat Maulana Sayed Moinuddin Ashraf Sahab and Hazrat Saeed Noori Sahab, President, Raza Academy, a delegation met Mumbai Joint Commissioner (Law & Order) to demand immediate arrest of Wasim Rizvi under UAPA.”
On June 19, 2021, Noori addressed a press conference in Delhi and again demanded the arrest of Rizvi. He alleged that Rizvi had hurt the sentiments of the Muslims by publishing an edited version of the Quran. He also demanded that all the copies of the edited Quran should be confiscated.
Press Conference held in Delhi by Raza Academy against Waseem Rizvi demanding immediate arrest of Waseem Rizvi for hurting sentiments of entire Muslim Community and also stop and confiscate the publication of Quran which he published without 26 verses.#RazaAcademy pic.twitter.com/SexRsQVDro— Raza Academy (@razaacademyho) June 19, 2021
On the same day, a delegation led by Noori met Police Commissioner, Lucknow, to demand Rizvi’s arrest as several FIRs had been registered against him across the country. Noori demanded the arrest and said he should be arrested before a law and order situation arose in the country. Later on August 27, they filed a PIL in Lucknow High Court against Rizvi and urged the court to combine all FIRs against him under one court and fast track the proceedings. On October 11, they filed a similar PIL in Supreme Court against Rizvi.
Raza Academy wants strict laws against ‘blasphemy’
On July 3, 2021, Raza Academy and VBA MLC Kapil Patil announced that they would table a private member bill against ‘blasphemy’. The Muslim religious leaders demanded the Maharashtra State Government to pass a bill to stop any kind of defamation of all religious figures. In a video message, Professor Abdul Majeed Siddiqui alleged that Islamic figures were being defamed in Maharashtra and India. He demanded a law against such defamation to ensure communal harmony.
On July 31, Patron Moin Miya and President Saeed Noori of Raza Academy led a delegation in Delhi to meet Aam Aadmi Party’s, MP Sanjay Singh. They demanded AAP should pass a law to stop the defamation of Prophet Mohd and Islamic figures. They insisted Singh table the anti-blasphemy bill in the parliament. A similar demand was again made on August 22 at Ala Hazarat Dargah, Bareily, during a press conference. During his address, Noori urged the UP government to pass anti-blasphemy law to put a stop to the alleged defamation of the Prophet and Islamic figures to ‘ensure communal harmony’. Later on September 29, they met Shivsena MP Arvind Sawant and demanded he should help them by tabling Prophet Mohd Bill in Assembly or Parliament.
रजा अकैडमी चीफ सईद नूरी साहब और हज़रत मोइन मियां की मुलाकत एम पी संजय सिंह के साथ l— Raza Academy (@razaacademyho) July 31, 2021
आज मुबई से दिल्ली पहुंची रजा एकेडमी टीम और हजरत मोइन मियां ने राज्यसभा सांसद संजय सिंह से मुलाकात करके देश भर में प्रॉफिट मुहम्मद ﷺ के खिलाफ आए दिन होने वाली बदजुबानी के खिलाफ कानून बने pic.twitter.com/r2jI5BnDK1
On August 9, 2021, Raza Academy filed a complaint to Mumbai Police Commission and demanded action against ‘Navarasa’, a Tamil web series. In the complaint, they alleged that the poster of the web series contained Quranic verses which are against Islamic Law. They added that Quran could not be used for commercial purposes and such posters hurt the sentiments of the Muslims.
On August 12, 2021, they wrote to Mumbai Police Commission to book Pinky Chaudhary, President, Hindu Raksha Dal, under UAPA. As per the reports, the organization alleged that Chaudhary had hurt Muslim sentiments. They also demanded to block access to his social media accounts on all platforms.
On September 15, the Akola chapter of the organization filed a complaint to Cyber Police and demanded action against some social media handles that were allegedly posting communal content. In the complaint, the organization alleged that some social media posts urged non-Muslim boys to pursue Muslim girls of age 14-15 years and build a relationship with them so that later they could convert the girls.
On September 20, the organization held a meeting of Ulemas in Mumbai and condemned the Saudi Regime’s decision to build Cinema Halls and other means of entertainment in Madina. They alleged that the Saudi government ‘has no right to violate the sanctity of Madina’. They alleged Prince Mohd Bin Salman was acting on the behest of Israel and the USA and hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community across the globe. Later on September 23, they organized a protest against the Saudi Regime for the same at Masjid, Pydhonie, Mumbai.
Raza Academy was involved in the violent riots at Azad Maidan in Mumbai in 2012 when several Muslim rioters had indulged in vandalism, attacked police officials and had broken the war memorial honouring fallen Indian soldiers. Since 2020, the organisation has also been holding protests against France and French President Emmanuel Macron for supporting the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.