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Muslim groups divided over Godrej ban call

Updated on January 19, 2008

Muslim groups divided over Godrej ban call


NEW DELHI: Muslim opinion-makers are divided down the line over a Ulema Association call to boycott Godrej products if Parameshwar Godrej fails to apologize for hosting writer Salman Rushdie in Mumbai.

While the Muslim politicians in general agree that Rushdie's novel 'The Satanic Verses'hurt the community's sentiments for its remarks on the Prophet, one section terms the boycott call an "extreme step." Another group, however, either remains silent or endorses the demand for boycotting the Godrej products.

NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar said it was a fact that Rushdie's writing had caused distress to the Muslims for disparaging remarks about the Prophet. "In India, the issue is all the more sensitive since our culture teaches us to respect every religion," he said.

Anwar, however, found the boycott call reprehensible. "That is also an extreme step," he told TOI. Planning Commission member Sayeeda Hamid said that a "private affair" like hosting someone should not have been publicised by the Godrej family. She, however, said that the boycott call would start a "vicious circle" with Muslim anger being seen as intolerance which could result in the community's image being maligned.

In contrast to this position, the Muslim Personal Law Board took a strident stand decrying Rushdie's writing as well as supporting the appeal to Muslims to shun goods carrying the Godrej tag. "There is nothing wrong with the boycott call, for the Muslims' sense of hurt should find a way to express itself," Board spokesman said.


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