On Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Iraq’s top Shia cleric says can’t give away land for construction

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New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2018 9:20:34 AM

Iraq-based top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa declaring that a temple can't be constructed at the disputed piece of land in Ayodhya “owned” by the Waqf Board.

Ayodhya dispute, Iraq shia cleric, Ram Temple, Ram Mandir, Waseem Rizvi, Shia Waqf Board, Sunni Waqf BoardOn Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Iraq?s top Shia cleric says can?t give away land for construction

Iraq-based top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa declaring that a temple can’t be constructed at the disputed piece of land in Ayodhya “owned” by the Waqf Board. According to news agency ANI, the fatwa was issued after a Kanpur-based educationist filed a complaint against Shia Waqf Board Waseen Rizvi who has been advocating a Ram Temple at the 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya of Uttar Pradesh. The fatwa states that properties belonging to the Waqf Board can’t be given away for construction of a Ram Mandir or any other shrine.

Mazhar Naqvi, a Kanpur-based educationist, had a month ago raised the matter with Iran’s top Shia cleric and sought to know from him whether the Waqf Board can give away the property owned by it for the purpose of construction of a temple. He said that according to the reply, it is not possible.

“See, the matter is being heard by the Supreme Court, therefore, everyone should refrain from making any comment and wait for the court’s order. But the Shia Waqf Board chairman was unnecessary making comments on the matter. This compelled me to take up the matter with top Iran Shia cleric who lives in Najaf. I had asked him whether a Muslim can give away Waqf Board property for construction of a temple or any shrine. The cleric replied that this is not possible,” he said.

Naqvi said that since it has become very clear that a property can’t be given away for construction of a temple, the Shia Waqf Board chairman should not make any statement on the matter else. He added that of Rizvi defies the top cleric’s order, he will not be considered a Muslim.

“Now our demand is that he should not make any inappropriate or controversial comments. Even if he continues to make such a comment, it is like defying an order of al-Sistani. In such a situation, he will not be considered neither a Muslim nor a Shia,” he opined.

When Rizvi was asked about the fatwa, he termed it a ploy to silence him. He said that this has been done in order to kill him or to get him to back off from his stand.

“The complainant didn’t tell him that there was a temple at the site earlier and that it was demolished to build a mosque. Ever since the Shia Waqf Board has broken away from the Sunni Board and batted for a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, a certain section of the Sunni society started campaigns against us. This international pressure is exerted on us to ensure that we back down from our stand because it weakened their contention,” he said.

“They (Sunni community) want to remove me from their path or kill me or make me forcibly withdraw my affidavit. But this not going to happen,” he added.

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Rizvi had in past said that he supports the government in constructing a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and that a mosque can be built in Lucknow. Last year, the Shia Waqf Board had even passed a resolution extending support for a temple in Ayodhya.

The Allahabad High Court had in 2010 passed an order favouring a three-way division of the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya. But a total of 13 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against the HC’s order. The case is currently being heard by the top court.

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