IIC-Hyderabad Secretary Tariq Muneer (MBA-IT) talks about the significance of an Islamic information centre during an interview with SM Fasiullah. He says: Social welfare initiatives particularly in a multi-cultural setup help in harmonizing various perspectives for a peaceful co-existence of people. In the Age of DNA there’s plenty of information on the internet which not only quenches thirst for knowledge of Netizens but also creates doubts and confuses them. The Islamic Information Centre (Hyderabad) answers queries on Islam, clears any misunderstanding about the religion, and works toward religious-harmony.
SM Fasiullah: What’s the point of motivation behind establishing IIC?
Tariq Muneer : Islamic Information Center (IIC) is a platform for all those who are in search to get clarification on their doubts pertaining to Islam. Unfortunately, Islam is one of the most misunderstood religions across the globe in our times. Media has often projected it as a religion of intolerance, violence and terrorism. In fact, Islam is a universal and an exceptionally peaceful religion.
Misunderstandings do develop between people when they communicate. It is required to clear those misunderstandings for a better existence. People have been looking for someone to answer their queries about Islam. When they search on Internet they may not find specific answer or end up more confused.
Through this Information Center, we are trying to remove those misconceptions, answer queries and bring forth the true facet of Islam before people. Islam teaches universal brotherhood, equality, tolerance and attainment of peace through submission to God.
SM Fasiullah: How the centre operates and whom it caters to?
Tariq Muneer : It is a one stop solution for all Islam related queries. The team here at IIC comprised of dedicated and qualified graduates and post-graduates having expertise in various domains including Comparative Religion.
We are running a 14/6 (9AM-11PM) available call center answering queries in Hindi, Telugu and English languages. This is an all-India level call center with a toll free number 1800-2000-787. We also have a strong presence on Internet through our website and social networking sites.
IIC caters to various segments of the society like media, academicians, corporate, research scholars, film industry and speakers/writers on Islam as an authentic source of information about Islam. Of late, we are organizing various indoor/outdoor events like inter-faith discussions, symposiums, visits to different religious centers like Ramakrishna Math (Hyderabad), Buddhist Temple, Gurudwara, Church, etc.
SM Fasiullah: In what way the centre is going to be beneficial for a pluralistic society?
Tariq Muneer : For a pluralistic society like India where many cultures and religions exist, there’s always a possibility of misunderstanding to develop. With its various activities IIC is trying to create an atmosphere of religious understanding, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. We believe that better understating of religious values will reduce communal differences.
SM Fasiullah : What are common questions that urbanites pose about Islam?
Tariq Muneer : Some of the frequently asked questions about Islam are related to Islam and Terrorism, significance of Hijab/Purdah in Islam, and the concept of God in Islam. Unlike some mainstream religions like Hinduism and Christianity where there is polytheism and trinity respectively, Islam teaches monotheism. People also ask questions specific to festivals of Islam including Fasting (Ramadan) and Sacrifice (Bakrid).
SM Fasiullah : How’s the initial response to your work?
Tariq Muneer : The response is good, we receive around 500-600 calls every month. Since the beginning of operations (in past 7 months), we have successfully reached about 5 Lakh individuals through social networks. We receive calls not only from Hyderabad but also from Maharashtra, West Bengal, Noida, Delhi, Bangalore, etc. InshaAllah we are looking forward to calls from across the country.
SM Fasiullah : Any plans to take the concept to other cities within Andhra Pradesh?
Tariq Muneer : IIC is the initiative of city chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). As JIH has a vast network of cadre throughout India, it is possible that more information centers may be established in different cities across India.