Lucknow: Prominent clerics of the Shia community in Uttar Pradesh have demanded that India snap its ties with the United States and Israel. At a well-attended congregation of Shia clerics in the state capital Sunday, hundreds of prominent clerics demanded that the union government shut down the embassies of Israel and the US.

Asking for a "prompt and serious re-think" on its relations with both the countries, the clerics billed the two nations as the "biggest sponsors" of terrorism in the world and said the country should instead try and improve its relations with Palestine, Iran and Syria.  Shia cleric and member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, Kalbe Jawwad accused the Congress-led union government of "defaming the Muslim community as a whole".

Training his guns at the Israeli government, the Shia cleric said ever since the Israeli embassy was opened, there was a "flood of terror attacks in India". Several resolutions, including those shunning US and Israel, were passed at the meeting. The clerics also asked the government to raise the issue of Jannatul Baqi (holy place in Medina) with Saudi Arabia and in the United Nations (UN).

The community also demanded that the state government declare Urdu as the second language in UP, making it a compulsory subject till class eight. The speakers also demanded fairer representation of the community in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet and said the community was closely monitoring the stands taken by the Samajwadi Party government.

(Agencies)

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