It turns out that Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, the man who announced a ₹10 lakh bounty for anyone shaving Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam's head, has no religious authority.
The Hindustan Timesreported today that Quaderi is neither an imam nor a maulana. The newspaper reported that Quaderi, who claims to be a descendant of the Prophet, is the head priest of Khanka Sharif at Bagnan in Howrah district in West Bengal. Since Quaderi is not an Islamic scholar, he can't issue fatwas.
A senior religious leader told HT, "The media is wrongly portraying him as cleric, maulana and maulavi. We fail to understand why the media ended up giving so much importance on what he said."
"I am the 35th descendant of the Prophet," Quaderi told the newspaper.
Earlier this week, Quaderi caused a stir when he announced ₹10 lakh bounty to shave Nigam's head after the singer ranted on Twitter about being woken up by the sound of azaan coming from a local mosque.
"I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the azaan in the morning," he tweeted. "When will this forced religiousness end in India."
After Nigam shaved off his head and demanded the "fatwa" money, Quaderi said that the Bollywood singer had not fulfilled his other condition of wearing a garland of shoes and touring the country. Attempting to defend his tweets, Nigam said, "I am a secular person. It was not about Azaan, it was about the loud sound. Playing loud sound on a speaker is Gundagardi for me."
Many are of the opinion that Nigam's tweets and Quaderi's reaction have received too much attention in the media.
HT also reported that Quaderi is the vice-president of West Bengal United Minority Council, which has previously issued a fatwa against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he announced demonetisation. While speaking to the newspaper, however, Quaderi praised Modi. "During his electoral campaign in West Bengal, the prime minister stopped his speech midway after he heard the sound of azaan coming from a mosque. He maintained silence until the azaan was over," he told the newspaper.
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