Kerala-Based Muslim Group - Samastha and SKSSF - Eye Nationwide Expansion After Conferences
Prominent Muslim religious organization Samastha Kerala Jem-Iyyathul Ulama (Samastha) and its student faction, Samasth Kerala Sunni Students Federation (SKSSF), are indicating a potential for nationwide activities following their recent conferences in Bangalore and Kozhikode. This development signals a notable aspiration for these influential religious groups, renowned for their traditional and moderate views, to extend their influence beyond the borders of Kerala.
Samastha, a leading Sunni scholarly body with a rich history spanning a century, concluded the inaugural conference of its centennial celebrations in Bangalore on January 30, 2024, signaling a clear intention to broaden its activities throughout India. President Syed Muhammad Jiffiri Thangal outlined ambitious projects to mark the organization's 100th anniversary, including the establishment of a higher Islamic learning institution in Bangalore, a National coordination committee for Samastha, and various educational, spiritual, and social initiatives across the country. The event in Bangalore witnessed a significant turnout, with thousands of Samastha followers present, including the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Samastha holds a revered position in providing spiritual leadership to Kerala Muslims, with over 10,000 primary religious learning centers, hundreds of institutes for higher Islamic learning, integrated and secular education institutions, and numerous pre-schools. The vast majority of Kerala Muslims adhere to the traditional views propagated by Samastha, and most Mahallu Jamath (religious neighborhoods) in the Muslim community in Kerala align with Samastha. The organization boasts its educational board, student organization, youth organization, employee organizations, and regularly organizes massive conferences.
SKSSF, the student wing of Samastha, focusing on socio-religious activities, recently celebrated its 35th anniversary with a three-day Muqaddas conference in Kozhikode. The conference, which concluded on February 4, 2024, showcased the organization's multifaceted approach to social and educational issues impacting the Muslim community. As part of the event, SKSSF trained 35,000 vigilante Viqaya volunteers for humanitarian causes in neighborhoods.
To solidify its presence on the national stage, SKSSF announced its National Conference in Kolkata, West Bengal, scheduled for October 5-6, 2024. Representatives from Assam and West Bengal expressed their appreciation for Samastha's social work in Kerala and urged the organization's presence in their respective states. They commended the educational activities of Darul Huda Islamic University, an institution under Samastha, in different states of India and anticipated its complementation by Samastha's organizational activities in the near future.
Analysts cite factors such as Kerala's sizable Muslim population and the established leadership of these groups as key drivers for their potential national expansion. Additionally, the perceived need to address educational disparities and promote social development across India could be motivating factors. The specific nature of these nationwide activities and their reception within the broader Muslim community remain subjects of exploration, yet this move underscores the escalating ambitions of Kerala-based Muslim groups and their potential to shape national religious and social discourse.
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