JLF: Muslim Groups Soften Stand on Thayil's Visit
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Muslim groups today softened their stand over the visit of Jeet Thayil, who read excerpts from banned book of Salman Rushdie during Jaipur Literature Festival last year, saying they have no objection provided the act is not repeated.

A delegation of Muslims scholars and representatives led by recently formed 'Azmat E Rasool' Foundation's convener Qari Moinuddin met Jaipur Police Commissioner B L Soni and apprised him of their concerns about religious faith.

They demanded that there should be no act of hurting sentiments of the community during the Literature Festival beginning tomorrow and sought directions by the police and the government to organisers in this regard.

Till yesterday, the representatives of the community were opposing Thayil's visit for hurting their sentiments by reading from the book 'The Satanic Verses'.

"We have no objection over the visit of Thayil because we were told by the police commissioner today that he had apologised last year for reading from the banned book," Qari Moinuddin told reporters here.

"However, if he or any other author repeats this (reading) during this festival, the law will take its course of action and the organisers will be responsible for that. We have apprised our concerns to the police," he said.

'Azmat E Rasool' Foundation, formed last night, is an amalgam of various Muslim groups here.

Sajid Sehrai, General Secretary of the foundation, demanded that there should be no such activity which in any way hurts religious sentiments.

"It is observed that religious sentiments of Muslims are hurt deliberately. Last year, despite strong objection, the organisers of the literary festival were adamant to invite Salman Rushdie but ultimately they had to cancel his visit and video conferencing," he said.

He, however, clarified that they were not going to hold a protest or raise objection because there has been no such activity so far.
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