Lucknow: Muslim scholars on Friday trashed as "cheap publicity gimmick" and "childish" BSP leader Haji Yakub Qureshi's alleged statement hailing terrorists who struck at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and demanded strict action against him.
"Instead of condemning the attack on the French magazine and loss of lives, he went ahead and announced a reward for the killers... This is most condemnable," All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) General Secretary Maulana Nizamuddin told PTI when contacted.
"This remark of Qureshi is aimed at garnering cheap publicity and the gimmick needs to condemned by all," he said, adding that at a time when efforts were on all over the world to defame Islam, such comments only added fuel to the fire.
Nizamuddin said, "This remark will harm both Islam and humanity...The murder of those making cartoons and caricature of religious figures is as unjustified and wrong as the act of making them."
Qureshi had yesterday courted a controversy by defending the terror attack on the French magazine, saying whoever shows disrespect to the Prophet will invite death.
"Prophet Mohammad had conveyed a message of peace to the entire world and if anyone makes certain cartoons on him will invite death like the cartoonists and journalists in Paris," Qureshi had said.
According to media reports, he had also announced a reward of Rs 51 crore to the killers of the Paris journalists.
Qureshi, however, denied reports in which he was stated to have said that he will reward the attackers who killed Charlie Hebdo's Editor and cartoonist of the controversial Prophet poster with Rs 51 crore.
All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) spokesman Maulana Yasoob Abbas said Qureshi's statement was "childish" and sought strict action against him saying that otherwise such elements would feel emboldened.
"The punishment should be according to the rule of the law and individuals cannot go about imparting justice on their own...If something like this starts, no one can be saved on the earth," he said.
"What message does Qureshi want to give to the world... does he want to encourage people to take up terrorism... Muslims are being defamed and this statement of his will lead to more problems for them," Abbas said.
Ishtiyaq Ahmed Zilli, Director of world renowned Islamic academic institution Darul Musannefeen Azamgarh, said Qureshi's statement is against the basic tenets of Islam.
"The basic contribution of Islam is that it established the rule of law and ensured its enforcement under all circumstances," Zilli said.
"Before Islam came into being, people used to punish the wrongdoers themselves...The wrong of one person used to be avenged on someone else but later Islam made concrete arrangements to ensure that punishment was imparted to the person committing crime...Qureshi has announced reward for those who are flouting this Islamic arrangement," he said.