The prominent Muslim theologian Mufti Ismael Menk has stoked controversy during a recent two day private visit to Indian-occupied Kashmir after he performed the nikah of pro-Indian politician, Yawar Mir.
Mir, who is the son of former legislator and senior pro-Indian politician Mohammad Dilawar Mir, is also a former legislator.
A video that went viral on social media shows Menk in Srinagar performing Yawar Mir’s nikah and giving a subsequent khutba, while seated with a group pro-Indian politicians.
Menk broke this news to his Instagram followers a day before his visit last week. The Zimbabwean scholar is followed by millions on his Instagram and other social media accounts.
However, his solemnisation of the nikah of a pro-Indian politician sparked controversy on social media.
One Twitter user wrote: “This man earned fame through Islam and has a responsibility to respect Islamic teachings. He is not some ordinary man. He is a Mufti [cleric] followed by millions only for his Muslimness. So, if he sits with murderers of Muslims, he needs to be called out.”
Shafa’at Wani, a researcher and scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, wrote: “Does @muftimenk know nothing in Kashmir is apolitical, not even marriage ceremonies? Does he know he is attending a ceremony of a controversial pro-Indian politician?”
He added: “Do you know your attendance at this ceremony will be used as a tool to wash off the blood that this collaborator has on his hands? And, you will go down the history of standing with the evil in Kashmir.”
Similarly, Abdul Hameed Lone, another Twitter user, wrote: “#Kashmir is burning and you join the killers of Kashmiri people… this is greatest injustice to the oppressed people of #Kashmiri when our most vibrant mufti went 2 Indian illegally occupied Jammu & Kashmir and doesn’t raise the issue of human rights abuses with Indian then I am suspicious of Mufti standing in Islam and character @muftimenk.”
StandWithKashmir, an advocacy group based in Washington, wrote: “To add to the list of Muslim scholars who remain oblivious or intentionally ignore the suffering of an occupied people, please include @muftimenk who recently conducted a Nikkah ceremony for a rich family affiliated with a pro-Indian party (Including an MLA).
“How a scholar can invoke Islam and the teachings of the Quran while sitting amid collaborators and sheer ostentation while the people are under a genocidal regime is beyond us. Does @muftimenk have anything to say to the people of Kashmir?” the group added.
And the president for the World Kashmir Freedom Movement, Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur, wrote: “He (Mufti Menk) sits with collaborators, murderers, those he preaches against. He speaks about #Uyghur, #Palestine & #Rohingya. But all that is a waste if he is part of company who contribute to annihilation of Muslims and #Kashmir. Ignorance is not an excuse. Not for a Mufti of his stature.”
Despite being tagged into many of the criticisms on his various social media platforms Mufti Menk has yet to respond to the accusations.