New Delhi: Mijbil Al Shureka, a Kuwaiti lawyer about whom we know little in India, has lately been very active on social media championing the issues of India’s beleaguered Muslims. He wants Indian Muslims to appoint him as their lawyer so he could take the issue of Babri Masjid to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands.
Al Shureka is offering his free services through Twitter. Last month, he tweeted: “Muslims of India are not alone, Babri Masjid, like Masjid Al Aqsa (in Jerusalem) belongs to every Muslim on the planet. The Ummah won’t stay silent until justice is done and Babri Masjid is reconstructed at the site where it was illegally demolished. I stand for justice.”
He also attached a letter addressed to “The President, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi,” in which he claimed to be writing “on behalf of the Muslims and the Arab World” and accused the Personal law Board and the Babri Masjid Action Committee of “very meek and half-hearted defence” of the Babri case. He then demanded that he be granted the “responsibility to take the Babri Masjid case to the International Criminal Court.”
Few in India took note of this tweet.
Now we have come to know, again through another tweet by the lawyer, that Zafaryab Jilani of the Babri Masjid Action Committee had shown courtesy of replying to him and politely declined the offer. Al Shureka has attached Jilani’s letter with the following note: “My brothers in Islam, Muslims of India, look at the way I and the Arabs have been humiliated and discouraged by the AIMPLB & Babri Masjid Action Committee office bearers. They don’t want me to take the case to the International Criminal Court. I let you decide now @OIC_OCI @hrw.”
In the purported letter, Jilani reminded him of the “silence and meek protest of the entire Arab world on the tragic incident of demolition of Babri Masjid which had taken place on 6-12-1992 and till now no country or the people of any country have taken up the issue with the Government of India for the last of about 28 years.”
Jilani, while informing him that the Babri case was a “civil matter and not a criminal matter” which was finally decided by the Supreme Court on November 9 last year, asked him: “Kindly tell me the provision of law under which such a judgement of the Supreme Court of India can be challenged in any international court (criminal or civil).”
Jilani concluded his letter dated August 2 on a terse note seeking to know Al Shureka’s standing in the legal profession “so that we may also appreciate the worth of your unwarranted, uncharitable and irresponsible remarks made by you in the letter under reply. As you have not mentioned your address or e-mail in your letter, I am trying to communicate with you on an email ID made available to me only yesterday.”
It’s a subject of propriety if a legal service can be offered through social media. Besides, if the said lawyer really meant business, he could have contacted people pursuing the Babri case personally and discussed with them the merits of the case. Babri is not just a legal case.
This is also a sensitive issue with political ramifications that has decided the fate of several governments in India and catapulted a party with just two seats in Parliament to an overwhelming majority that is now ruling over the country.
Raking up the Babri issue afresh will have its consequences that would benefit only the anti-Muslim forces in India. Also, can a person sitting in distant Kuwait with no knowledge of the complexities of Indian politics really question the integrity of Muslim leadership in India?
Kuwait is part of six wealthy Gulf monarchies which employ millions of Indian and other Asian and African workers. The way they treat their guest workers is anything but civilised and humane. The arrogance of a Gulf Arab Muslim is evident from the language that Al Shureka has used for those who have been struggling to deal with the challenge to Indian Muslims that came in the form of Babri case.
Those who have lived and worked in the Gulf would know that the Arabs are little informed and bothered about happenings in the Indian subcontinent. During my stay of two decades in that part of the world, Babri mosque was demolished, Muslims of Gujarat were massacred and countless Muslims were killed in one corner or the other in India.
Yet Arabic newspapers seldom published news of such happenings. No Arab ruler or any prominent personality ever raised the issue of persecution of Muslims in India. Even the so-called representative body of Muslims, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has rarely raised voice over the plight of Muslims in India.
Personally, I do not remember my Arab colleagues ever expressing any concern for the Muslims of India or anywhere else.
Last year, in August when the Narendra Modi government annulled Kashmir’s special status and humiliated its entire population by locking it indoors and cutting its links with the outside world, Modi was honoured with the UAE’s highest civilian award.
Two months later, Saudi Arabia hosted him but it did not seek any explanation from him about the treatment he has been meting out to the Muslims of Kashmir.
In November, the Babri ruling of the Supreme Court came. The top court, despite acknowledging that keeping of idols in the mosque in 1949 and then the demolition of the mosque in 1992 were criminal acts, handed over the mosque site to the very people who had indulged in such criminal acts. None from the Arab world, including Al Shureka, offered any reaction.
Now suddenly the Kuwaiti lawyer has woken up. This raises a question: Is he alone or working at someone’s behest? Is he really concerned about “Muslim brothers” or indulging in some petty domestic or regional politics? He has invoked Masjid Al Aqsa comparing it with the Babri Masjid. Arabs have not been able to claim it in the last 70 years.
The Palestine land is slipping out of Arab hands. Hapless Palestinians are being humiliated on a daily basis at the hands of Israel and its Western backers.
Three months ago, for the first time perhaps, the government of Kuwait called on the OIC to take “necessary and urgent measures” to “preserve the rights of Muslims” in India. The call was made in the background of the Delhi riots in February that left the Muslim population of the northeastern part of capital shattered. It was around that time that we heard the name of Al Shureka, who then spoke of taking the issue to the International Criminal Court.
Reacting to Al Shureka’s Twitter offer on Babri, Dr SQR Ilyas, co-convenor of Personal Law Board’s Babri Action Committee, told Clarion India, “Who is stopping him? Let him do whatever he wants. But we cannot be a party to this. India is not a signatory to the International Court of Justice. Babri case cannot be taken there. We fought the case to the best of our ability. We have expressed our disagreement with the ruling. But we cannot go beyond the Supreme Court. He should know our system.”
Al Shureka says AIMPLB is ‘RSS-backed’
Al Shureka appears to be perturbed by Jilani’s reply. On August 6, the Kuwaiti lawyer posted another tweet in which he called the Muslim Personal Law Board “RSS-backed”.
“It’s been clear that RSS-backed @AIMPLB_Official and their lawyer Zafaryab Jilani won’t agree that Babri Masjid belongs to the International Muslim Community. I appeal to Indian Muslims to join us in the appeal to ICJ. We can reclaim and rebuild the Masjid. In Sha Allah,” said the lawyer.
Responding to his tweet, Supreme Court advocate M R Shamshad, who was one of the counsels in the Babri case, questioned the capacity of Al Shureka to take the case to the international court. Shamshad also asked External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to lodge a complaint with the Kuwait authority against him by terming his letters and tweets a “hate campaign”.
Shamshad said that Al Shureka was a lawyer who practices in the district court level, adding that what Al Shureka was doing was a hate campaign against Indians by making it Indians versus Arabs. Hence, he should keep quiet and if he was concerned about Indians, he should take up the issue of his country’s legislation which would force Indians to repatriate from Kuwait.
“I said, I will send Arabic translation to facilitate your reading. I say it again. We are not answerable to you! @OIC_OCI @DrSJaishankar are requested to investigate and lodge a formal complaint with Kuwait Authorities. Why this hate campaign by Mr @MJALSHRIKA,” tweeted Shamsad along with the letter written to Al-Shureka.
–With inputs from Waquar Hassan