The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Muslim leader, Haji Arafat Shaikh, from Mumbai stoked a new controversy recently by demanding to allow Muslims to offer prayers in open by wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kit. The former chairman of BJP’s state minority commission has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray, making the demand by keeping the Eid-ul-Fitr in focus. However, his demands didn’t go well with the community leaders and his party opponents who admonished Shaikh for trying to disturb the environment.
The Shiv Sena Vahtuk Sena leader, Sajid Supariwala, reacted to Shaikh’s demand and advised the latter to restrain from such demands which are uncalled for right now. “Haji Arafat should not venture into something he is not much aware of. Our senior clerics and muftis have already asked the community that they should offer Eid prayers at home as Mosques and Eidgahs are closed,” said Supariwala, quoted TOI.
Supariwala stated that the Muslim community is cooperating with the state government and are resorting to offer prayers at home. “He (Haji Arafat Shaikh) should donate PPEs to doctors and nurses instead of offering to Muslims to wear and offer namaz,” advised Supariwala to BJP Muslim leader, Shaikh.
Ajanta News team reached out to Congress party senior leader and former state cabinet minister, Arif (Naseem) Khan, for his reaction to Shaikh’s demand. Khan slammed Shaikh’s demand and asked people to follow the directions given by Mufti and Muslim clerics. “Haji Arafat Shaikh is not more important than Mufti or Aalim (cleric). Mufti and Aalim have decided to offer namaz at home and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by being at home. What Muslim people must do during this time (COVID-19 lockdown), is already been narrated by the religious leaders and people must follow that,” stated Congress leader, Khan, while speaking to Ajanta News.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra also resonated the same views reacting to Haji Arafat Shaikh’s demand. While speaking to Ajanta News, NCP Leader and Maharashtra State Minister of Minority Development, Nawab Malik, belittled Shaikh’s stance as a Muslim leader. Malik refused to consider Shaikh as a Muslim leader and slammed his demand. “Nobody from the community is forcing to offer namaz in public and those (Haji Arafat Shaikh) who wish to do so must take permission from PM Narendra Modi,” said Malik while taking a slingshot at Shaikh’s demand. “The whole community has decided that Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated by being at home and not in the Mosques, and if he (Shaikh) is fascinated about offering prayers in open by wearing a PPE kit, then he must bring PPE kit from PM Modi and do so. Such people do not represent Muslim community,” said Malik while lambasting the BJP Leader’s demand of celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr in public.
Essentially, the Muslim auspicious festival, Ramadan, is at the verge of it’s end, while Eid-ul-Fitr, in all possibilities, will be celebrated on Monday, May 25. In view of Eid-ul-Fitr, BJP leader Haji Arafat Shaikh urged the state chief minister to allow those who want to offer prayers in open with PPE kit. Haji Arafat Shaikh clarified that he wrote the letter to CM Thackeray for only those Muslims who want to offer prayers in public and not for all.