JIH leaders addressing Press Conference
The Years 2020-21
The Gregorian calendar year of 2020 was an abnormal one in quite a few ways and set many new ‘normals’. The entire world was confronted with the coronavirus pandemic that saw nearly 1.8 million deaths and 83 million cases. Fortunately, the world was able to develop a vaccine for the virus in record time but specific information about its availability for our countrymen is still awaited. The corona pandemic completely exposed the fragile nature of our public health. The past year also saw the biggest migrant-labor crisis in India and our economy entering into a recession with severe job-losses and unprecedented unemployment and closure of businesses. Jamaat feels that the wrong policies of the government are responsible for our stuttering economy and labor-crisis.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses great concern on the significant rise of the menace of communalism, religious-hatred and polarization. In fact, the foundation of polarization that has been laid in society by the communal forces is so strong that it will continue to trouble us for many years. The passage of ordinances in the name of ‘unlawful religious conversion’ by states governed by the ruling party, blaming the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the coronavirus, planned communal violence in North-East Delhi, the police attack on students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and AMU are some clear-cut examples of the deliberate efforts to polarize the society. Jamaat feels that the state institutions, agencies and administration did not discharge their responsibility and only played the role of a mute spectator during these tragic events.
Many prominent faces of the anti-CAA movement have been incarcerated under stringent laws like the UAPA, accusing them of being complicit in the Delhi riots. Jamaat supports the demand of civil society to release the activists booked under the UAPA and a judicial inquiry commission be constituted to punish the real culprits and ensure justice for the Delhi violence.
Jamaat feels that our biggest challenge and responsibility in the current year will be to work together to eradicate this menace and scourge of hatred and polarization. There is a growing trust-deficit between the government and the people especially the minorities, the Dalits and the socially and economically disadvantaged. There should be a people’s movement that works for unity and the removal of hate. Civil society, religious leaders and organizations, social activists along with the youth, students and people at large must join hands and pledge to make the year 2021 the year of peace and tolerance.
Safety of Journalists
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses concern over a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which states that India is one of the top 5 deadliest countries for journalists and media persons. India witnessed the murder of 4 journalists in 2020. Five journalists were detained. Jamaat endorses the statement by RSF that: “World’s violence continues to be visited upon journalists. Some may think that journalists are just the victims of the risks of their profession, but journalists are increasingly targeted when they investigate or cover sensitive subjects. What is being attacked is the right to be informed, which is everyone’s right.” India ranks 142 in the World Press Freedom Index, below Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and even occupied Palestine. Several media houses and seasoned journalists have acknowledged publicly that there is an undeclared censorship on sensitive stories and reports, which are extremely critical of the government. A free press and the safety of journalists lies at the heart of a healthy democracy and Jamaat appeals to all sections of society and those at the helm of power to preserve democracy by ensuring a free and fearless media.
JIH Shariah Council fatwa regarding Covid vaccine
Various pharmaceutical companies worldwide are coming out with COVID-19 vaccines and some countries have even launched their immunization programs. India too has announced that vaccination will begin soon and pharma companies are preparing for the vaccine rollout. However, certain reports that the vaccine contains the extract of pork fat have raised concerns among the Muslim community. In this background, the Shariah Council of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has issued some guidelines regarding the permissibility of using COVID-19 vaccines under Islamic law. According to the Shariah Council, Islam has clearly outlined the limits of what is permissible and what is impermissible. It is mandatory to abide by these prohibitions even during the treatment of ailments or while taking medications. The use of any forbidden substance as a medicine is therefore prohibited. However, if an impermissible substance is transformed into something completely different in terms of properties and characteristics, then it may be considered as clean and permissible. On this basis, the use of gelatin derived from the body part of a haram animal has been considered permissible by Islamic jurists. Opinion of some jurists about pork gelatin is the same. Even those jurists, who disagree with the above transformation rule, too sanction a vaccine which contains prohibited substances in case of unavailability of halal vaccines, in dire and emergency situations to protect human life. The source of ingredients of the popular vaccines, which have been made public, is not yet known with certainty. After becoming fully aware of it, further guidelines regarding its use or non-use will be issued.
Laws that go against the spirit of our Constitution
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is opposed to the various laws and ordinances being passed in five states governed by the ruling party in the name of ‘unlawful religious conversion’ as it endangers the freedom of conscience and the right to profess practice and propagate religion under Article 25 of the Constitution. Jamaat feels that these laws are one of the many ways to keep the flames of “anti-minorityism” or Islamophobia alive. They are being promulgated for strengthening the agenda of hate and polarization. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind feels that these laws will not stand the test of legality and adherence to our constitutional norms and expects it to be struck down by the judiciary. Jamaat is also concerned about the passage of the anti-cow slaughter law by Karnataka. This law will lead to farmer distress as well as cripple the dairy industry.
Farmers’ protest and MSP
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind supports the farmers’ demand that the government should repeal the three laws passed in Parliament that deals with MSP, contract farming and essential commodities. Jamaat agrees with the protesting farmers’ point-of-view that the new laws will end the MSP support unless there is a legal guarantee of procurement at MSP, the new laws will pave the way for corporates and multinationals to dictate prices in the market, which will be quite less compared to the MSP. This will hurt the small farmers and destroy the ‘mandi’ system, which allows the farmer to sell his produce at the nearest local market. The state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) procures a majority of wheat and paddy at MSP and then sells it to the poor at subsidized prices. The new laws will disrupt this system and impact our Public Distribution System (PDS). Jamaat hopes that the government ends its intransigence over the farm laws and ensures that the welfare of the farmers and farm-laborers is not disturbed.