KARACHI, June 19 Senior clerics of India's top seminary whose version of Islam the Taliban claim to follow have denounced the actions of the hardline militia, saying the group does not qualify to enjoy affiliations with the historic madressah.

In an interview with a correspondent of the BBC Urdu Service, the rector and the head of faculty of Darul Uloom (Waqf) Deoband said attacks by “vigilantes” in which innocent people died was not jihad but “indivi- dual zulm (oppression)”.

Seen in this light, attacks on shrines, barber shops and educational institutions were all un-Islamic.

Maulana Saalim Qasimi went to the extent of characterising the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was ousted by the US forces in 2001, as “un-Islamic”.

He said the Taliban did not comprehend fully the tenets of Islam even though much was made of their “Islamic government”.

He said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who supported the Afghan regime, was not a religious scholar. “He is more of a politician than a scholar.” “However, his father, Mufti Mehmood, was a scholar,” he said.

Maulana Aslam Qasimi, great grandson of Qasim Nanotvi, the founder of the madressah, said the recent statement by Sufi Mohammad that judiciary in Pakistan was un-Islamic was based on misconceptions and ignorance.

He said that Islam embraced concepts like democracy. “The spirit of democracy is very much there in Islam, though concepts like democracy have been taking new shapes and forms.”

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