A few days ago, around 46 Muslim clerics issued a fatwa against Assamese singer Nahid Afreen. The 16-year-old, who was a runner-up in 2015 Indian Idol Junior, was threatened by the fatwa against singing near a mosque.
The police also suspects that the fatwa may have been issued because Afreen sings against Islamic terror groups such as Islamic State.
Leaflets were distributed carrying the message of the fatwa in Hojai and Nagaon districts in central Assam. The fatwa reads:
“If anti-Sharia acts like musical nights are held on grounds surrounded by masjids, idgahs, madrassas and graveyards, our future generations will attract the wrath of Allah.”
However, there were claims that the leaflets were not fatwa because they lacked “technicalities”. A report suggested with a headline that what is being called a fatwa is not exactly a fatwa. It attempted to apologetically explain why the leaflet should be ignored instead of it being taken up seriously.
While trying to find “technicalities”, the report also mentioned that Afreen had been threatened by the clerics before. Yet the entire report sounds like that those report which called it a fatwa raised a brouhaha.
Gulrez Sheikh, author and member of BJP’s Minority Morcha, posted a video condemning the fatwa against Afreen. (He calls it a fatwa, by the way.)
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— Gulrez Sheikh (@drsheikhMRM) March 17, 2017
Sheikh also highlights why there were 46 clerics issuing the fatwa.
“A fatwa is issued by only one cleric, but here there were 46 of them. It is possibly because they knew their act was against the law that all 46 of them issued a joint fatwa to dilute the case that would have been filed had it been issued by just one,” he is heard saying in the video.
He urges the government to probe the matter and if proved that the fatwa was issued because Afreen sings against the Islamic State then the clerics should be charged with sedition.
“I appeal that those fatwas which are against the nation, politically motivated and targets an individual should be banned,” he says, adding, “Let us not turn India into a Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan.”
Basically, a fatwa of any kind is illegal in India. Yet fatwas are issued with impunity and adhered to by a very high number of people who are under the influence of the clerics.