Aug 23, , 2021

Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) rejects the very idea of a theocratic state anywhere in the world. It therefore questions the legitimacy of the “Islamic Emirate” the Taliban seek to impose on the war-torn, war-weary people of Afghanistan who are yearning for peace.

We are deeply disturbed by the euphoria evident among a section of Indian Muslims, including religious leaders such as the office bearers of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Umrain Mahfuz Rahmani and Maulana Sajjad Nomani, and the Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind, over the Taliban’s capture of power.

It is nothing but sheer opportunism and hypocrisy to stand in support of a secular state in a country like India where Muslims are in a minority and applaud the imposition of Shariah rule wherever they are in a majority. Such rank double-standard gives legitimacy to the sangh parivar’s agenda for a Hindu Rashtra.

IMSD respects the views of the growing tribe of Islamic scholars, religious leaders and Muslim intellectuals across the globe who argue that the very notion of an “Islamic state” is antithetical to the core teachings of Islam. According to them, the core values of Islam are not in conflict with the basic principles of a secular-democratic state and religious pluralism.

IMSD stands in solidarity with the beleaguered millions of Afghan women and men who for too long have been trapped between the corrupt-to-the-core puppet governments propped up by the occupying American and Nato forces and the regressive Taliban who during their earlier rule had trampled over the most basic rights and freedoms of the people of Afghanistan.

It is one thing to welcome the ouster of the occupiers and the overthrow of their puppets, quite another to celebrate the return to power of those who with their barbaric version of Islam have contributed in no small measure to the demonization of Muslims and their faith across the globe. 

Some leaders of the Taliban have been making appropriate noises about general amnesty, press freedom and women’s rights even as other leaders are asserting that it will be “Shariah law and not democracy” in Afghanistan. However, heart-wrenching images of panic-stricken women, men and children being broadcast across the world, and news reports of house-to-house hunt for journalists and dissenters tell their own story.

We call on the global community to launch a ‘24/7 Afghanistan Watch’ to mount decisive pressure on the Taliban to ensure and show to the world that, unlike their earlier brutal rule which had turned Afghanistan into a veritable hell on earth especially for the women, this time they will respect the liberties and rights of all its women, men and children.

Meanwhile, IMSD calls upon the democratic world in general and the US in particular to open its borders to Afghans who are forced to flee from their country. It calls upon the BJP-led Indian government to immediately sign the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol and act in consonance to that convention. India must open its doors to all Afghan refugees, irrespective of religion.

Signatories to the statement

(Includes IMSD members and others who support this statement)

  1. Aarefa Johari, Journalist, Social Activist, Mumbai
  2. Abdul Samad Shaikh, Editor, MVP News, Latur
  3. Abdul Warshi, Businessperson, Nadiad
  4. (Dr) Aditya Mukherjee, Academic, Delhi
  5. Afaque Azad, Musician, Mumbai
  6. (Prof) Ali Ahmad Fatimi, President Josh and Firaq Literary Society, Allahabad
  7. Ajit Kumar Jha, Journalist, Delhi
  8. Akbar Shaikh, Farmer, Social Activist, Solapur
  9. (Justice) Amar Saran (ret.), Allahabad High Court
  10. Anand Patwardhan, Documentary Film Maker, Mumbai
  11. Anil Singh, Social activist, Delhi
  12. Anjal Lele, Travel consultant, Delhi
  13. Anurag Chaturvedi, Journalist, Mumbai
  14. Amir Rizvi, Designer, Mumbai
  15. Amjad Shaikh, Social Activist, Pune
  16. Amjad Shaikh, Social Activist, Solapur
  17. Anjum Mulani, Farmer, Indapur
  18. Anjum Rajabali, Film writer, Mumbai
  19. Anshu Malviya, Poet, Social activist, Allahabad
  20. Anvar Rajan, Social Activist, Pune
  21. Anwar Khan, Social activist, Vasai
  22. Arif Kapadia, Business, Social activist, Mumbra
  23. Arshad Alam, Academic, Commentator, Delhi
  24. Ashley NP, Asst Professor, Delhi
  25. Asif Shaikh, Business, Solapur
  26. Askari Zaidi, Communications, Delhi
  27. Dr Azeez Pasha, Academic, Delhi
  28. Baaran Ijlal, Artist
  29. Baba Azmi, Films, Mumbai
  30. Babasaheb Pathan, Sangli
  31. Bader Saeed, Lawyer, Political activist, Chennai
  32. Bilal Khan, Social Activist, Mumbai
  33. Bobby Naqvi, Senior Journalist
  34. Chandrashekhar Tibriwal, USA
  35. Danish Javed, Writer-Producer, Mumbai
  36. (Prof) Dipak Malik, Varanasi
  37. Faiyaz Inamdar, Social activist, Pune
  38. Faraz Ansari, Film Maker
  39. Farhana Parvin, Bhopal
  40. Farhat Salim
  41. Farman Naqvi, Senior Lawyer, Allahabad High Court
  42. Fatima Ansari, Teacher, Gorakhpur
  43. Fatima Shaikh, Aurangabad
  44. Feroz Abbas Khan, Director, Playwright, Mumbai
  45. Firoz Khan Pathan, Advocate, Latur
  46. Ghulam Mohiyuddin
  47. Hafiz Ali, Social Activist, Jalgaon
  48. Hasan Pasha, Writer, Allahabad
  49. Imran Punekar, Business, Sangli
  50. Imteyaz Husein, Writer-Actor, Mumbai
  51. Iqbal Painter, Social Activist, Beed
  52. (Justice) Irshad Hussain (Ret.), Uttrakhand High Court
  53. Ismayil Shaikh, Business, Kolhapur
  54. Jami Rizwani, Academic, France
  55. Javed Akhtar, Writer, Poet, Lyricist, ex-MP, Mumbai
  56. Javed Anand, Convener, IMSD
  57. Javed Ansari, Journalist, Delhi
  58. Javed Jaffry, Actor
  59. Javed Siddiqi, Writer, Mumbai
  60. (Capt) Juned Ahmad, Marine Consultant
  61. Dr Kanhaiya Lal Sharma, University of Rajasthan
  62. Kasim Sait, Business, Philanthropist, Chennai
  63. Khadija Faruqui, Social Activist, Delhi
  64. Khalil Deshmukh, Political activist, Jalgaon
  65. (Dr) Laiq Ahmed (ret HOD, History), Eving Christian college Allahabad
  66. Lara Jasani, Advocate, Bombay High Court
  67. (Dr) Madhu Rao, Academic, USA
  68. Mansoor Sardar, Social activist, Bhiwandi
  69. Masooma Ranalvi, Social activist, Delhi
  70. (Prof) Mohd Aslam, Allahabad University (retd), Allahabad
  71. Mehdi Bakht, Principal,  Bal Bharti School,  Varanasi
  72. Mohammed Ali Muntazer, Purnea, Bihar
  73. Mohammad Imran, Delhi/New York
  74. Mohsin Khan, Social activist, Latur
  75. (Dr) Mridula Mukherjee, Academic, Delhi
  76. Munir Bagwan, Social activist, Sangola
  77. Munir Mulla, Social activist, Sangli
  78. Muniza Khan, Social activist, Varanasi
  79. Nahida Asiya, Student, Satara
  80. Najid Hussain, Scientist, USA.
  81. Najma Jamadar, Teacher, Solapur
  82. Najma Mulani, Solapur
  83. Nandita Sehgal,  IAS (resigned)
  84. Naseeruddin Shah, Actor, Mumbai
  85. Nasreen Contractor, Social Activist, Mumbai
  86. Navaz Haider
  87. Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Delhi
  88. Poonam Muttreja, Delhi
  89. (Prof) Purushottam Agrawal, Author, Delhi
  90. (Prof) Qamar Jahan, Lucknow
  91. Qaisar Sultana, Home Maker, Allahabad
  92. Qutb Jahan, Social activist, Mumbai
  93. Rahman Abbas, Writer, Mira Road, Thane    
  94. Rajathi Salma (Rokkiah), Tamil Writer, Tamil Nadu
  95. (Dr) Ram Puniyani, Author, Social activist, Mumbai
  96. (Dr) Ramesh Dixit, Academic, Lucknow
  97. Ranjit, Journalist, Delhi
  98. Rashid Khan, Advocate, Supreme Court
  99. Ratna Pathak Shah, Actor, Mumbai
  100. Razia Patel, Academic, Social activist, Pune
  101. Ravi Kiran Jain , President,  PUCL, Senior Lawyer, Allahabad High Court
  102. Ritambhara Shastri, Journalist, Delhi
  103. Riyaz Choudhary, Business, Solapur
  104. Rizwan Malik, Social Activist, Moradabad
  105. Rochita Talukdar, Social sector, Kolkata
  106. Sabah Khan, Social Activist, Mumbai
  107. Sadik Shaikh, Solapur
  108. Sadique Basha, Political activist, Mira Road, Thane
  109. Sahir Khan, Student, Ichalkaranji
  110. (Dr) Saif Mahmood, Advocate, Supreme Court, Delhi
  111. Sajid Shaikh, Farmer, Solapur
  112. Salim Mujawar, Solapur
  113. Samina Naqvi , Academician, Social activist, Allahabad.
  114. Samir Mulani, Farmer, Pandharpur
  115. Samir Patel, Political activist, Latur
  116. Sanjay Lodha, Jaipur
  117. Satish Mishra, Journalist, Delhi
  118. Satyajit Chavan, Social Activist, Nashik
  119. Sayyed Bhai, Social activist, Pune
  120. Selvyn Jussy, University of Calcutta, Kolkota
  121. Shabana Azmi, Actor, ex-MP, Mumbai
  122. Shabana Mashraki, Chartered Accountant, Mumbai
  123. Shadab Rashid, Publisher, Naya Waraq
  124. Shahajan Shaikh, Worker, Solapur
  125. Shahnawaz Alam, Asst. Professor, Sultanpur
  126. Shikha Sen, Editor
  127. Sikandar Pathan, Baramati
  128. Siraj Ayesha Sayani, Producer-Director, Mumbai
  129. SMM Ausaja, Film Historian
  130. S R Malik, retired IRS
  131. Suhail Akbar, Associate Professor , Jamia Millia University, Delhi
  132. Sultan Shahin, Editor-publisher, New Age Islam, Delhi
  133. (Prof) Tahir Mahmood, Legal luminary, Delhi
  134. Taizoon Khorakiwala, Business, Philathropist, Mumbai
  135. Tanvir Akhtar, IPTA, Bihar
  136. Teesta Setalvad, Social activist-journalist, Mumbai
  137. Tofiq Ikbar, Student, Hapur
  138. Utpala Shukla, Social activist, Allahabad
  139. (Prof) Vasanthi Raman, Delhi
  140. VVP Sharma, Journalist, Delhi
  141. Yousuf Saeed, Documentary Film Maker, Delhi
  142. Zafar Bakht, Educationist, Social activist, Allahabad
  143. Zahir Maneri, Social Activist, Solapur
  144. Zaman Habib, Writer-Producer, Mumbai
  145. Zoya Akhtar, Film Director, Writer, Mumbai