The 22nd general body meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) ended with a pledge to save the constitutional rights of Muslims. Speakers, first at different sessions at Haj House and later at a huge public meeting at Azad Maidan on Sunday, asserted that the board will force the government to amend the Right to Education Act (RTE), scrap the direct taxes code bill and bring changes in the wakf amendment bill 2010. The AIMPLB also rubbished reports that one of the organizers of the board's meeting, Khair-e-Ummat Trust, was a front for the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
"Some provisions of the RTE Act will deny our right to establish and run religious and educational institutions. We will make it a mass movement unless this Act is amended," Abdur Rahim Qureishi, assistant general secretary of AIMPLB, said. Attacking the tax bill, Qureishi said that taxing places of worship was tantamount to interference in the religious affairs of all communities. "The Bill will affect not just mosques and dargahs, but places of worship of all religions and this is unacceptable," he added.
Denying that the Khair-e-Ummat Trust, a Dongri-based registered NGO, had any links with SIMI, the trust's secretary, Ibrahim Khalil Abedi, said that the news was "baseless and defamatory." Abedi was also the general secretary of the reception committee of the AIMPLB's convention in Mumbai. The AIMPLB's office in Mumbai is located at the Khair-e-Ummat Trust building. "This is part of the conspiracy to defame and denigrate a Muslim organization which provides scholarships and medical help to the poor," alleged Qureishi.
The board didn't discuss codification of Muslim personal laws, something many liberal Muslim groups have demanded for long. However, a member, Masoom Moradabadi, suggested that the board must work for reforms in Muslim society to prevent killing of daughters like innocent Afreen of Bangalore.
UP CM Akhilesh Yadav won praise from the board members as he has assured the AIMPLB president Mulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi that the proposed law in his state which deprives married women of their rights in fathers' agricultural property will exclude Muslims. Copies of Akhilesh's letter to Maulana Nadvi were also distributed among the 400-odd members from across the country.