Muslim League leader’s Ram temple remark sparks controversy

IUML is a major ally of the Opposition Cong-led UDF in Kerala and an influential political party among the Muslim community.

Malappuram: Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) state President Panakkad Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal on Sunday landed in a controversy over his recent statement that there is no need to protest against the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya as both the new temple and the proposed mosque would strengthen secularism in the country.

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IUML is a major ally of the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala and an influential political party among the Muslim community.

Thangal made the statement during an event on January 24 at Manjeri near here, but a video of it went viral today.

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While the Indian National League (INL), a coalition partner of the ruling CPI(M) led-LDF government in Kerala lashed out at the IUML leader, the Congress party and the IUML defended Thangal and said he was trying to stop the campaign of hatred and attempts to divide society.

Addressing the event at Manjeri, Thangal had said that the Ram temple which is “worshipped and revered by the majority of the people” in the country “is a reality”.

“We cannot go back from that. There is no need for us to protest against it. The temple came up based on a court order and the Babri Masjid is about to be constructed. These two are now part of India. The Ram temple and the proposed Babri Masjid are two best examples that strengthen secularism of our country,” Thangal was seen saying in the video.

We know that it (Babri Masjid) was destroyed by the karsevaks and we had protested against it at that time, he said, adding that Indian Muslims dealt with it in a mature manner.

Indian National League (INL) Kerala State Secretariat Member N K Abdul Azeez in a Facebook post said that political leaders are not ignorant of the fact that Gandhi’s Ram Rajya is different from the Ram Rajya of the RSS.

“The spiritual Hindu religion of a believer is different from the political Hindutva of the RSS and the political leaders are not ignorant of this fact. Yet they are making a fool of its ranks. It’s not possible to believe that the ordinary party workers of IUML will accept this position,” Azeez said.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan and senior IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty came out in support of Thangal and said his words were misinterpreted.

Kunhalikutty said BJP is trying to politicise the Ayodhya issue and Thangal was trying to warn people not to fall into that trap. “But it was misinterpreted,” he said.

Satheesan said while many were trying to set fire to water, Thangal was trying to douse it.

“One should understand why he said so. When some are trying to set fire to water, Thangal is trying to douse it. He was speaking against the campaign of hatred and division,” Satheesan said.

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