Conversion Allegations Against IAS Iftekharuddin in UP, but What Did He Say?
In videos that have now been widely circulated on social media, Iftekharuddin can be seen preaching Islam.
As 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections approach, communal incidents have been on the rise. In a recent development, IAS officer Mohammed Iftekharuddin has come under the radar of the Uttar Pradesh government for allegedly encouraging religious conversion.
In a number of videos that have now been widely circulated on social media, Iftekharuddin can be heard addressing a number of persons, speaking about Islam.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been set up by the Uttar Pradesh police to probe the case.
It may be pertinent to note that preaching and propagation of religion comes under the realm of lawful activity.
What Is Being Said in the Videos?
In a speech recorded on video, the IAS officer can be heard saying:
"Muhammad Saheb was the Messenger of Allah for the whole world. No prophet should come after him, he is the last prophet. So who will conduct the feast of the deen? One who believes in Allah, who believes in Muhammad as a messenger, follows his path, and who among his devotees – obviously it is the duty of that one to carry forward his mission, in this carry on with the work."
"He (Muhammad) established the kingdom of Allah on the territory of Arabia. But now the light of Allah has to shine. That is, to spread the noor of Allah on the whole land. If the Nizam of Allah is to enter, then how will it happen? All the people sitting here should do this. If not, then Allah will surely catch them," he said.
The videos reportedly were recorded in 2016-2017.
In another video that depicts Iftekharuddin, a maulvi (Muslim cleric) can be seen narrating the story of a person who converted from Hinduism to Islam.
The cleric says, "Just recently, a brother from Punjab accepted Islam. I didn't give them a treat. However, when we go and work in Tabligh, he accepted Islam, I said what became a means for you to accept Islam, then he said that my sister's death. I asked how his sister's death led to that decision. He said, when they were burning my sister's body, her clothes got burnt away, and everyone was watching. I felt very ashamed and left from there. Then the owner put in my mind that today people are watching my sister. I also have a daughter, people will see this too later, she will also burn like this. Then I understood that there is no better religion than Islam, I should accept it. Then I kept roaming like this. No one taught me the Word, then a Musharraf sahib told me about you, that there is a Zeeshan sahib, he comes from Nagina, he will teach you the Word. So read the kalma."
Is IAS Iftekharuddin a Fanatic?
Quint Hindi, speaking to people on the ground, found that Iftekharuddin is a highly religious person who keeps a low profile. He has been involved in the organisation of various religious events.
In a book that has allegedly been written by the IAS officer, some verses of the Qur'an have been translated from Arabic to Hindi. Muhammad has been described as the best prophet in the text.
Meanwhile, a person named Nirmal from Kanpur has claimed that Iftekharuddin, when he was the commissioner in 2017, had asked him to convert to Islam, offering him incentives if he complied. The SIT will also investigate this claim.
Is Preaching or Converting to a Religion a Crime?
Article 25 of the Constitution gives two types of rights concerning freedom of religion.
The first provision is the right to follow any religion, and the second is the right to propagate any religion.
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