FOUNDED on April 25, 1977, as a students organisation of the radical Jamaat-e-Islami, the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) today claims to be working for the uplift of Muslims in all walks of life, through the path shown by Islam.
The plight of the Muslim community, according to SIMI, is the result of its own negligence and apathy towards the divine instructions of Islam and the unrelenting tyranny of the rule of unbelief (Kufr). It is also the outcome of a conspiracy hatched by the enemies of Islam who are united in their efforts to extinguish the light of the faith, SIMI believes. "Their intention is to extinguish Allah's Light (by blowing) with their mouths, but Allah will complete his light, even though the unbelievers may detest (it)." SIMI plans to "reconstruct human life in all its aspects in accordance with divine guidance" revealed through Allah's messengers.
In order to achieve this aim, SIMI attracts students and youth (below 30 years of age) towards its ideology, and organises them. It makes efforts to build their character according to Islamic injunctions by providing opportunities to make an objective study of Islam and other ideologies. SIMI's radical views are displayed on its website. It says measures are taken to protect students from the evil effects of the defects in the present educational system. It also fights moral degeneration, sexual anarchy and insensitiveness of the decadent West.
Shaheen Force, the SIMI wing for schoolchildren seeks to "protect the children from present-day misguidance and vices" and keeps them "under the shade of Islamic culture". A separate wing seeks to channel the talents of girls for the Islamic cause.
SIMI runs special programmes for students of Arabic colleges and Islamic universities. Thousands of students receive training and other assistance in the study of languages and Islamic sciences. After the completion of their studies they get the opportunity to serve the community as an imam, qazi or khateeb. According to SIMI, the renaissance of the ummah depends on Islamic scholars because the community can attain its glory only when it will be led and guided by sincere ulema.
The organisation has a relief wing, which runs blood banks and book banks and conducts free coaching classes, besides organising relief operations. The publication wing brings out a number of magazines in various languages - Vivekam (Malayalam), Seidhi Madal (Tamil), Rupantar (Bengali), Iqraa (Gujarati), Tahreek (Hindi), and Al Harkah (Urdu).
SIMI expressed solidarity with the Islamic revolution in Iran by organising rallies in Indian cities. It registered its protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1976 and organised 'Afghan Day' on January 11, 1980, to declare solidarity with the Afghan people and the mujahideen. On December 9, 1980, SIMI activists joined a massive demonstration against Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev in Delhi. The same year, they demonstrated against Palestine Liberation Organisation chief Yasser Arafat during his visit to Delhi for his stand on Afghanistan issue.
However, SIMI supports the struggle of the Palestinian people. When Israel invaded Beirut in July 1981 SIMI held demonstrations outside the American consulate and the Israeli Centre. It observed March 18, 1983, as 'Assam Day' to protest the Nellie massacre. In June 1985 it observed 'Shariat Day' against the interference of the judiciary in Muslim personal law. Seminars on Islamic guidelines on marriage, divorce and polygamy were conducted as part of the campaign.
On the Babri Masjid, SIMI holds the view that it had been a target of attacks by Hindu communalists even during the colonial period. After the demolition of the masjid in December 1991, it tried hard to make the Muslim community fight for the cause of the masjid. SIMI activists have vowed to rebuild the mosque and want Muslims to do it with their own hands without waiting for the government to act.
SIMI says that a common civil code would go against the freedom of religion and that any effort to adopt that would create chaos in society. It does not believe in the electoral process because in its opinion elections serve no purpose as no political party or organisation can bring about a solid and constructive change in view of their "erratic" ideologies. The only way to bring about real change is through the recognition of God and by leading a life in the light of divine guidance and thus establishing an Islamic life. It considers the parliamentary system unsuitable to bring about an Islamic revolution in the country.
"It is difficult to keep the Islamic revolutionary character during the process of election. Therefore SIMI will not participate in the election or will not give votes to anybody. During the time of election SIMI will expose the nature of socialism, secularism and nationalism and ask the people to boycott the election and march for the Islamic revolution," the website says. SIMI also exhorts its members not to serve in jobs that are in confrontation with the Sharia.
On Kashmir, SIMI is angry about the "anti-Muslim" attitude of the government and demands immediate withdrawal of the "naked aggression". It seeks a just solution to the Kashmir problem.
SIMI holds Israelis responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. According to a press release issued by its secretary-general Safdar Nagori after the September 11 attack, "there are strong reasons to believe that the recent attacks may be a conspiracy of the Zionist Israel, which is rapidly losing world support because of its inhuman and terrorist activities in Palestine."
In a warning against any American attack against Afghanistan, it said that without clear evidence of the Taliban's involvement in the crime, an attack on that country would to an act of terrorism and an injustice that would further increase the anger and hatred against America among the Muslim ummah worldwide.
It is these views, displayed on the website, that get reflected in the SIMI pamphlets and posters from time to time.