Many in Samastha against Jifri Thangal’s stance

Religious body’s stand with regard to political parties

The Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama (SKJU), the biggest body of Islamic scholars in the State, popular by the forename Samastha, seems to be heading towards a repetition of history.

Although it was interpreted as signs of rejuvenation when its president Syed Mohammed Jifri Muthukoya Thangal tried to instil the orthodox Sunni spirit into the organisation, recent developments indicate that Mr. Thangal’s position in the Samastha looks precarious rather than commanding.

A large section in the Samastha, owing allegiance to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), is against the stand adopted by Mr. Thangal, especially vis-à-vis the religious organisation’s stance on political parties. For Mr. Thangal, the IUML is a political party like any other, though the Samastha is closer to it than any other party.

Origin of dispute

However, for many other junior colleagues of Mr. Thangal, both the Samastha and the IUML are nearly inseparable and almost synonymous. This is where the dispute begins when it comes to matters concerning politics and religion.

Malappuram meeting

The attempts to corner Mr. Thangal, for his forthright and outspoken Sunni stand that often clashes with the interests of the IUML, were evident at the Malappuram meeting of the Samastha golden jubilee finale on Sunday. A few resolutions, with obvious political intentions, were moved at the mega conference without Mr. Thangal’s knowledge and permission.

Among the five-point resolutions, the one against Communism and Communists in the State was especially publicised later with the photographs of Mr. Thangal. He was quick to realise the “evil designs” behind the negative publicity he was being given. He soon not only disowned the resolution but also said it was moved without his knowledge and permission.

Mr. Thangal, during his inaugural speech, had not said anything against the government or the Communists. He said the Samastha was a religious forum where followers of different political parties, including the IUML, could function. He had focussed his speech sharply on the threats being posed by deviant Muslim groups to the traditional Sunni faith — which was largely the objective of the Samastha.

IUML and Samastha

However, M.T. Abdulla Musliar, who spoke after Mr. Thangal, sent home the message that the IUML and the Samastha were synonymous. His speech was carefully planned and placed in such a way as to make it clear that Thangal’s words were not the ultimate in the organisation. His message was loud and clear: Mr. Thangal too may have an unceremonious exit like his predecessor Azhari Thangal.

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