Shahabuddin says didn’t ask Muslims to back Modi
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Stung by sharp response from Muslims after his open letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi — outlining nine things that could win the community's support, despite the 2002 pogrom — former MP Syed Shahabuddin told The Indian Express that he has issued a clarification suggesting that he has been misinterpreted and, in fact, he wanted to warn "upper class" Muslims from moving towards Modi and urged them to "rethink".
In a letter to people who spoke out against him over the weekend, Shahabuddin said that the open letter to Modi was "mistakenly" sent on a letterhead of the Joint Committee for Muslim Organisations for Empowerment. "Nowhere in this letter have I asked Muslims to forgive Modi or to vote for him. However, it is a fact that through various devices over the years Modi has been able to soften some Muslims of the upper classes. The strategy behind this letter was to caution them and to rethink about Modi on eve of the election, so that they could be weaned away by taking note that Modi has not fulfilled any real Muslim demands," he wrote in the second letter.
He said that it's important for Muslims to read his letter as "guidelines" issued by the JCMOE, an organisation he is part of. The JCMOE is a platform set up a decade ago to push for Muslim reservations. He said the JCMOE had issued similar guidelines before the UP polls. He added, "Its purpose is that Muslim representation in the legislatures should increase with secular, capable and reliable persons, preferably Muslims. This purpose can be achieved only if Muslim votes are not scattered... but are... cast unitedly in the favour of one selected secular candidate."
Arshad Madani and Maulana Nomani (from two factions of the Jaimat Ulema e Hind), Tariq Anwar (NCP), Zafarul Islam (head of Majlis e Mushawarat), Dr Manzoor Alam (All India Milli Council), Mohd Ahmed (Jamaat e Islami) have been addressed in the clarification letter.