Bihar: Muslim minister apologises for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'
Patna: Bihar cabinet minister Khurshid aka Firoz Ahmad on Sunday apologised for shouting 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan, after having a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"The CM told me if anybody felt hurt by my statement, I should apologise. My intention was not to hurt anyone. I have come to serve the people. My statement was distorted," Ahmad, who is a Janata Dal (United) legislator from Sitka constituency in Western Champaran constituency, said in front of media persons.
Earlier in the day, a highly displeased Muslim cleric had issued a 'fatwa' against the newly appointed minister, saying that his marriage would be terminated for his remark and he will have to re-marry after accepting his offence.
Ahmad had shouted slogan of 'Jai Shri Ram' outside the Bihar Vidhan Sabha on Friday after CM Nitish Kumar won the floor test. It may be mentioned that Nitish had to win the trust vote after snapping ties with the Grand Alliance (comprising RJD and Congress along with JD-U) and forming government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The fatwa was issued against the only Muslim minister in the Bihar cabinet by Mufti Sohail Quasmi of Imarat Shariah. It may be mentioned that the Imarat Shariah is a socio-religious organization which operates in Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.
After the issuance of fatwa, a disappointed Ahmad said, "Islam teaches respect for all religions. If by saying Jai Shri Ram I can do some good for the Muslims, why is there such a hue and cry."
"A Muslim is honest to his conscience. What wrong have I done? I have not divorced my wife. I don’t know how the fatwa was issued and for what,” said the minister of minority welfare and sugarcane industries.
Defending Ahmad for his remark, the BJP spokesperson Azfar Shamshi said, "Any fatwa on such issues is against the spirit and rich tradition of India, which has always epitomised diversity and respect for each other’s religion."
"The days are gone when Muslims were waylaid on sentimental issues. Now, they want solutions to their core issues,” he added.