Kolkata: A day after Maulana Noor-ur Rehman Barkati was removed as the Imam of the Tipu Sultan Mosque here, a Muslim clerics’ body based in West Bengal on Thursday said the termination of his services was correct and he should leave the post.
“The decision taken by the ‘Mutawalli’ (religious head) of the mosque to remove Barkati as the Imam is absolutely correct. Barkati should realise his mistakes and accept termination of his services,” Maulana Sharafat Abrar, the Imam of Kolkata’s Jama Masjid and Tahaffuz-e-Masjid Committee convener told the media here.
Echoing Abrar, committee President Qazi Fajlur Rahaman said: “Any Imam who makes anti-national comments should be removed.”
Asserting that Barkati’s comments “maliciously damaged” national integrity and communal harmony in the country and portrayed the Muslim community in a bad light, Abrar said he should now try to correct his mistake.
“Barkati has lost eligibility to be an Imam. He should now try to correct himself. If he is found worthy of being a cleric again, he could be given charge of any of the 498 mosques functioning in West Bengal under the committee tutelage,” he said.
Denying Barkati’s claim about political pressure leading to his removal, the committee said it is the cleric’s ploy to gain sympathy.
“His allegations are baseless. We do not believe political pressure was behind his removal. He was removed to save the image of the Muslim community from deteriorating. He is bringing politics into it to gain sympathy,” another committee member said.
Barkati, who recently threatened ‘jihad’ and refused to remove the red beacon from his vehicle, was sacked from the post on Wednesday with immediate effect by the mosque’s board of trustees.
However, a defiant Barkati refused to heed the order, saying the trustees had no right to remove an Imam.
He also blamed Trinamool leaders Siddiqullah Chowdhury, Sultan Ahmed and Nadimul Haque for his removal.