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Kolkata’s Eid message– Know your neighbour and do not hurt sentiment

Kolkata: Not to let miscreants take advantage of communal flare up, a week-long door to door campaign has been initiated by an imam and NGO to spread awareness for a clean, peaceful and harmonious Eid-Ul-Adha celebration

Maintaining peace during festivity

Maulana Mohammad Ashraf Qazmi, the imam of a local mosque in Mominpore, a Muslim dominated pocket in Kolkata, flagged off the initiative formally on August 30 by addressing a meeting with like- minded people from different communities. The interaction hosted at Hussain Shah School, requested Muslim, to sacrifice the animals, in such a way that the sentiments of their neighbours, belonging to other religious committee is not hurt.

Speaking about the initiative, Maulana Qasmi informed, “This Muslim festival in particular is seen with a lot of prejudice, as we sacrifice a huge number of animals. However, keeping the present situation in mind, we thought of meeting our Muslim brothers and counselling them to offer the sacrifice in ways that the sentiment of other communities is not hurt.”

NO selfies for Eid-Ul-Adha

Elaborating on the guidelines laid, he added, “We have in particular, asked not to sacrifice animals in the open. Many are vegetarians, while many many hold a particular animal sacred. Since, this sacrificial offering is a must for the financially stable Muslims, it can’t be done away with, but at the same time, we as fellow citizens and neighbours need to ensure that we don’t hurt the sentiment of others. So, people should also abstain from posting objectionable pictures on social media, clicking selfies or circulating images that can hurt religious sentiments of other community.”

An author, Milan Dutta, who was present during the meeting said, “We very well aware are of the fact that often festivals are used as an excuse by certain group of people to create bad blood. This initiative is a step that we are taking to avert such mishaps.”

Not just Eid-Ul-Adha

However, this is not all that is being done by a group of Muslims to maintain peace and order in this Muslim ghetto, during the Eid. With Durga Puja and Muharaam coinciding, the organisers, plan to use the same platform to facilitate tension free celebration.

“I have seen communal flare ups during festivals. Thus, we are doing this programme in association with SNAP, Forum for Promotion of Communal Harmony and Peace, Right Track, Memory of Martyrdom of Mehta and Mukhtar and Aims, Khidderpore. We have urged people to maintain cleanliness, not to discard the refuse in open but to have them covered and dispersed. Also, when distributing the meat, we have asked them to do so covertly. We at no point can take things for granted and hurt sentiments of others,” elaborated Md Anwar, founder member of SNAP.

Spreading peace

This is not the first time that Qasmi has flagged off such a programme. He organises a yearly event – Aao Mil Baithe, a day long event, where religious leaders from various communities take on the stage to spread the gospel of peace and love.

SNAP Association, also, has been doing its bit to spread communal peace. For the past two years, they have have relentlessly running a programme called – Know Your Neighbour, where informal meetings are set up between people of different religious belief, with the intention of tackling religious prejudice.

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