The situation soon escalated after Barkhati doubled down on his attitude toward politics, which reportedly led to the shopkeepers around the mosque mobilising in protest. His opinion is not ours. His comments often have a communal tinge. He doesn’t speak for us. It is high time that he gets the message of keeping politics away from the mosque, one of the protesters and a local shopkeeper was quoted as saying. According to the report, the resistance to Barkhati’s religious politics is also coming several other Muslim scholars, including the Imam of another local mosque. Khidderpore Mosque’s Ashraf Ali Qasmi reportedly advised Barkhari not to use the mosque to “propagate religious ideologies.” Barkhati is viewed as being close to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is a political rival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fatwa against Modi that he had issued last month was announced at the Kolkata Press Club in the presence of Trinamool Congress MP Idris Ali.
The board at the Tipu Sultan mosque urging the Imam to stay clear of politics. (eNewsroom picture)