Kozhikode: Islamic scholar C H Musthafa Moulavi, a vocal critic of Muslim Personal Law and advocate of gender justice in Islam, said he is facing threats, verbal abuses, and name-calling from strangers after an 'ustad' posted his photograph with a provocative message on Facebook.
He filed a complaint against the person, identified as Ameen Mahe alias Ameen Aboobacker M A with the Kozhikode Cyber Police on September 21 but the police are yet to record his statement or register an FIR.
"Till now I was abused only on Facebook. But now they confront me in person and make veiled threats," he told Onmanorama.
He said the police were not taking his complaint seriously. "If something untoward happens, all of them will express condolences. I am not afraid of death but the police must protect the freedom of an individual," he said. (Kasaba police asked him to come to the station after Onmanorama contacted the police to know the status of the case.)
Musthafa is an advisor of the Centre for Inclusive Islam and Humanism (CIIH) which roots for gender justice in Islam. He the incident happened on September 19, a Tuesday, when he was travelling on Garib Rath to Kottayam from Kozhikode. "Before boarding the train, this person approached me and asked if I was Musthafa Moulavi. When I said yes, he asked for my compartment number," he said.
When the train reached Ernakulam Town around 5.45 pm, the passengers in Musthafa's compartment got down. That's when this person came and sat across Musthafa and asked him where he was going. "When I told him that I was going to Kottayam to attend an event of Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi, he said, "If you are a follower of Sree Narayana Guru, why do you identify yourself as a moulavi? Can you not say you are Musthafa Swami?' ".
The taunts did not end. "He then asked me if those who prayed to Sri Rama would go to heaven. I told him to worry about his own path to heaven," he said.
The person then accused Musthafa of trying to destroy Islam. "He said I should not be on the surface of the earth," Musthafa said. Ameen then reportedly asked the scholar if he knew what happened to Chekannur, referring to the secular Islamic scholar P K Mohammed or Chekannur Maulavi from Malappuram. Chekannur went missing on July 29, 1993, and his death is uncertain. Chekannur is also the founder of the Quran Sunnath Society, which is at the forefront of the struggle for equal rights for women in Islam.
During the talk, another person who was with the 'ustad' took Musthafa's photograph despite his objection. "I let the episode pass thinking they are religious fanatics," he said.
The next day, on September 20, Musthafa's wellwishers started sending him a link to a Facebook post by Ameen Mahe, the person who confronted him on Garib Rath.
Ameen turned out to be a 'public figure' with 15,000 followers on Facebook. He posts videos of religious preaching and teachings on Facebook.
Ameen's Facebook post had Musthafa's photograph with a message that attested to what Musthafa said.
Ameen started the post by addressing the scholar as 'Musthafa Moulavi alias C H Musthafa Swami'. "I wanted to confirm if he (Musthafa) was a Hadith denier. He turned out to be a Quran denier," Ameen wrote on Facebook. Then he mentioned his question on Sri Rama.
The post generated 350 reactions, 19 shares, and 69 comments. "But after the post, when I travel, strangers approach me saying you got what you deserve from Ameen ustad. Some made veiled threats," he said. "These threats can turn into action," he said.
Musthafa said the police were not inclined to register an FIR and asked him to contact the Railway police. "I will go to the railway police tomorrow," he said on Wednesday.
Ameen did not respond to calls and text message to the phone number found on his Facebook page.