NEW DELHI: Sending out a strong message of solidarity to the Muslim community, two factions of the influential Deobandi clerics-led Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind are working on the terms of a possible merger that is expected to materialise soon.
This message of “unity” comes at a critical time when the organisation has been very vocal about the threat of communalism, growing Islamophobia and the persecution of Muslims. From Babri Masjid to the Gyanvapi Masjid issue and the recent remarks by former BJP spokespersons against Prophet Mohammad, both factions of JUH have been at the forefront raising the concerns of Muslims and positioning Jamait as “a voice that matters” within the community.
Claiming to have the backing of over 1.2 crore members, the Maulana Mahmood Madani-led faction of JUH and its rival group by the same name, of which Maulana Arshad Madani is the president, are seen to be heading for truce.
The move to bury their differences and work out a strategy for a merger is seen to be a route to strengthen the organisation to give voice to the community’s concerns as one, sources said. While a formal roadmap of this unification is yet to be finalised and both factions are non-committal on the division of roles, the move acquires significance with both sides seeing this to be a critical moment in the Jamiat’s over 100-year existence.
The merger has long been in the works since the Delhi High Court in 2017 directed both factions to settle their differences through arbitration and arrive at a consensus. It is learnt that at the recent meeting at Deoband organised by the JUH faction led by Mahmood Madani, where nearly 2,000 members came together, the signal was clear with Arshad Madani joining the meeting on invitation and conceding that it was time to “be united”. At the meeting in May, JUH had announced that they will be holding thousands of ‘sadbhawana sansads’ to unite the society against hatred and Islamophobia.
“Waqt aur halaat key chaltey yeh zaroori hai. (The time and circumstances has made this merger necessary),” Arshad Madani told TOI on Tuesday. He cited the merger as a way to unite all voices under one banner and put forth the concerns of Muslims more vociferously in the prevailing situation. “Our working committee has approved the proposal to merge and left it to me to negotiate the terms. Now we have to wait for the other faction’s working committee to decide and put forth their position at their meeting in July. Things will move from thereon,” Madani said, putting the onus on the opposite camp to build on the message.
The division in JUH was triggered during the presidential tenure of Arshad Madani who took on the reins of the organisation in 2006 when the former president Asad Madani passed away. The latter’s son and Arshad Madani’s nephew Mahmood Madani was the general secretary of the organisation. It is learnt that soon trouble broke out over the division of powers and the working of the organisation between Arshad Madani, and Mahmood Madani and the members of the executive committee.
Arshad Madani’s decisions related to the organisation were cited to be autocratic by his opponents. Consequently, Arshad Madani was dismissed as the president of the united Jamiat, leading him to form a new executive committee which he claimed to be the true Jamiat. The existing Jamiat was led by Mahmood Madani, and in April 2008 this faction appointed Usman Mansoorpuri as their first president. Mahmood Madani became President of this faction earlier this year.
Arshad Madani had meanwhile, challenged in court the move by JUH to oust him even as he led his faction. It was the Delhi High Court that in 2017 in the ongoing battle between the two factions over the validity directed the two sides to settle the matter.

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