A hoarding has been put up near Tipu Sultan Mosque and over 100 shopkeepers close the shutters of their shops in and around the mosque for 24 hours on February 15 in Kolkata.
The Muslim shopkeepers were protesting against Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati’s perpetual habit of making political comments and issuing fatwas.
Just to be in news, Barkati is infamous in the community for his inflammatory comments, within the mosque.
Anwar Ali, the mutawalli of the Tipu Sultan Masjid, said that Barkati should understand that he is only a religious leader, whose job is merely to lead the namaz, and he can’t make comments on behalf of the community.
Ali said Barkati called a press conference to show his stand for a certain political party in Uttar Pradesh, but after objection his sons got violent.
Standing united against him, the community has said he is not entitled to give make any statements on behalf of the community and should not use mosque for political purpose.
A member of the Shopkeeper’s Welfare Association of the Tipu Sultan Mosque said, “Whatever he has to say he can say but not as the Imam of this mosque. His opinion is never ours.”
Following Centre’s demonetisation move, he had issued a fatwa, offering a reward of Rs 25 lakh to anyone who will “cut off PM Narendra Modi’s beard, shave his head and smear him with black ink”.
Answering why he had singled out Narendra Modi’s beard, he had said, “People who keep beard are mostly religious like maulanas, sadhus, sufis, sikh gurus.. But Modi keeping beard is bhondami (bluffing).” He had also termed Modi as “communal”, while positing West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee as the figure of “communal harmony”.