We do not disrespect Ram. Islam teaches us to respect all religions, says Siddiqullah Chowdhury

West Bengal Minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury on Saturday expressed reservations over the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “bhoomi pujan” ceremony in Ayodhya.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of 130 crore people of India. He should have thought about the feelings of all sections of the population before attending the event,” Mr. Chowdhury said, adding that the “PM has made a mistake”.

The Minister, who heads the State unit Jamiat-e-Ulama Hind, said Muslims have not got justice in this matter. “I am happy to be part of Mamata Banerjee’s government but it would be wrong for me not to speak out now,” Mr. Chowdhury said.

The Minister for Mass Education and Library Services in a video statement also urged people to remain patient and not to hit the streets. “We do not disrespect Ram. Islam teaches us to respect all religions.”

Belief in rule of law

Mr. Chowdhury said the BJP and the RSS must be thinking why Muslims have not hit the streets in protest. “Indian Muslims believe in the rule of law, the Constitution, democracy and national unity… It does not matter if a temple is built and the PM goes and lays its first stone. No matter what, the whole world knows it is a mosque.”

On building a mosque at a different place in Ayodhya, Mr. Chowdhury said a mosque as per the Islamic law can only be built at a place which is bought or donated by the believers of the religion.

The Minister confirmed to The Hindu that he had made these remarks and said he has released the message on behalf of the Jamiat-E-Ulama Hind and not on behalf of the party. The remarks by the TMC leader, who has significant influence over the Muslim community in the State, assume significance as the party has maintained a silence on the issue. Mr. Chowdhury had spoken against the triple talak Bill and said members of the community cannot follow the law.

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