[We are publishing the rejoinder verbatim and sincerely apologise for the inadvertent mistake which crept into the article. _ Editor.]
The September 2-8 issue of the Radiance viewsweekly in its Cover Story wrongly and by all means tendentiously includes my name among those who visited Israel which is highly condemnable as it amounts to my character-assassination. The Cover Story is undoubtedly a piece of yellow journalism in its gravest form as also an extremely deplorable departure from the glorious journalistic standards set by Janab Mohd. Yusuf Siddiqui Saheb, Maulana Mohd. Muslim Saheb & Janab S. Ameenul Hasan Rizvi.
The author of the piece adopts a ridiculously holier than thou approach in heaping insults on me by showing me as making “Several attempts to become a representative of the Muslim Community in world fora. but he is only seen as a self-styled reformer”. Has Mr. Tauseef Ausaf been appointed by God to assess and decide who is doing what and with what intentions? Such sweeping generalizations only show his passion for slander and scandal making. Moreover, contrary to the God-like omniscience of Mr. Ausaf, I would like to add that I have never made any attempt to represent the Muslim Community. What I represent is my own mind and conscience. Even much more slanderous and offending is the remark ‘et tu Brutus’. Mr. Ausaf is answerable to me as well as the Islamic tradition of right conduct, if he has any conscience and Islamic feeling left in him, as to what act of treason and betrayal have I committed against the Community. If he has no answer he should at least hang his face in shame for such a betrayal of Islamic values.
The fact that I was out of station in Mauritius to deliver a series of lectures at the time when the so-called Muslim delegation departed for Israel proves the ill-will and maliciousness working behind the cover story. That’s why the author did not find it expedient to check his facts with me or my office. As such the cover story is extremely offending and constitutes a violation of my personal and Islamic integrity.
I respect the sentiments of every Indian, particularly the Muslim community to which I proudly belong, about their unflinching support to the Palestinian cause. I have been saying it wherever I have a chance to speak that the world cannot have peace until there is peace in the Middle East and there cannot be peace in the Middle East until Palestinians get justice and Jerusalem is restored to its real custodians.
Though I am really shocked and unable to understand the motive and more surprisingly how it happened under your editorship, the least I can expect now that a contradiction with regrets may kindly be published prominently, in bold letters. I hope you will be kind enough in doing the needful.
The author replies:
The purpose of the article was not someone’s character assassination or maligning anyone. It was well-researched and based on current media reports during that period. Unfortunately, a number of publications have reported that the three gentlemen were part of the delegation. Given below are the links of some of the websites that contain the three names with their brief introductions. The source of this disinformation campaign must be found out and brought to book. I feel sorry if the article caused the three agony and anguish.