‘Miscreants not associated with Raza Academy’

Raza Academy that organised the protest against killings of Muslims in Myanmar and Assam is an Islamic organisation founded in 1978 by Alhaj Mohammed Saeed Noori Sahab. At 4.30pm, less than an hour after the riot started, president of Raza Academy Alhaj Mohammed Saeed Noori Sahab told The Indian Express the "miscreants" were not associated with Raza Academy. "Our protest was peaceful," he said.

Two hours later, after it emerged that the violence began after a speech condemning "poor coverage" by the media of the Assam situation, the Maulana admitted that an "irresponsible" speech had been made and steps had been taken to ensure calm prevails.

Noori has been president of Raza Academy since its inception. The organisation routinely condemns acts of violence against Muslims, has worked with mohalla committees in Mumbai to maintain peace in the post-riot days of 1993 and, more recently, called for celebrations when Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab was given the death sentence in the 26/11 terror attacks case. The organisation also works on Islamic research, liaises with the city's ulema and is considered to have a sizeable support in the community.

"There were several persons on the stage and one irresponsible person made statements on media coverage of Assam riots and Burma killings. He was immediately stopped. We did not have any idea this will happen," he said. He condemned the attack on media.

Sources said the speech against the media was made by Maulana Sayid Moin Ashraf, who reportedly complained that the media that reports small human rights violations from elsewhere had blacked out the Assam and Myanmar incidents. When contacted, Ashraf, however, denied having made the speech against the media. He said people began dispersing at 3.30 pm after a prayer, and the protest was peaceful until then. "Some posters were shown outside but no provocative speech was made," he said.

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