OIC condemns violence against Muslims in India

An Indian paramilitary soldier asks residents to stay indoors as they patrol a street vandalized in Tuesday's violence in New Delhi on Feb. 27, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 27 February 2020

OIC condemns violence against Muslims in India

  • The inter-governmental organization calls on Indian authorities to ensure safety of all Muslim citizens
  • Pakistan welcomes the OIC condemnation of communal violence against Indian Muslims

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday condemned anti-Muslim violence in India, asking the administration in New Delhi to bring the extremist Hindus perpetrating such extremist acts to justice.

“OIC condemns the recent and alarming violence against Muslims in India, resulting in the death and injury of innocent people and the arson and vandalism of mosques and Muslim-owned properties. It expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts,” the OIC said in a Twitter post while calling on the Indian government to protect Muslim minorities across the country.

“The OIC calls on Indian authorities to bring the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of anti-Muslim violence to justice and to ensure the safety and security of all its Muslim citizens and the protection of Islamic holy places across the country,” said the tweet.

India has witnessed intense violence since the country passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last December which was widely viewed as anti-Muslim. More than 30 people have been killed so far in the deadliest violence the Indian capital, New Delhi, has experienced in several decades.

“We welcome the response and concern shown by the OIC on communal violence against Muslims in India,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told Arab News on Thursday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui is addressing a weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Feb. 27, 2020. (AN Photo)

She demanded further deliberations on the matter by the biggest inter-governmental body of Muslim countries.

“The OIC should take up this issue and talk about it since more than 30 people have died and over 200 have been injured in the violence. This is the worst form of communal violence and Islamophobia in India. This is a matter of great concern for us and should also be a matter of grave concern for the entire Muslim world,” Farooqui said, acknowledging that the OIC had played a consistent, clear and positive role on Kashmir through its contact group for the last many decades.

“Pakistan is very concerned about the reports of vandalizing Muslim community’s homes and shops, and the desecration of their mosques. Our leadership and the international community at large have also expressed concern over the situation,” Farooqui said.

She said the people of Kashmir had suffered state oppression for decades at the hands of Indian authorities, and now that violence had also reached New Delhi.

“What is happening in India, especially during the last two weeks, is a continuation of an extremist and majoritarian mindset that proposes discriminatory policies toward minorities. This is the pattern we have witnessed in India for the last few years. The state oppression through which Kashmiris were suffering in the occupied territory has now found its way into the Indian capital,” Farooqui said.

Beat stress with self-discipline, meditation during lockdown — Experts

Updated 04 April 2020

Beat stress with self-discipline, meditation during lockdown — Experts

  • Self-isolation and social distancing may lead to tremendous mental pressure among many
  • Experts say building physical and mental immunity can relieve anxiety and stress

RAWALPINDI: While experts warn that self-isolation and social distancing during long virus lockdowns could trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression among people, they list a number of practices to beat stress out of life. 
Building “mental immunity,” at a time when physical immunity has taken center stage is critical to one’s well-being, said Islamabad-based psychotherapist, Nida Maqbool.
“What most people do not realize is that our mental immunity and physical immunity are interlinked,” Maqbool told Arab News over the phone. “If we are not mentally fit, we also feel physical repercussions.”
Another Islamabad-based counselor, Farah Rehman, who operates out of Therapy Works in the nation’s capital said, “Building physical and mental immunity can give quite a relief to anxiety whether it’s working on your fitness or writing down what you are grateful for. Another great tool is meditation.”
A few weeks ago, Pakistanis began following the World Health Organization’s guidelines of social distancing and self-isolation in order to help combat the spread of coronavirus, a hard adjustment to normal practice.
Provinces in Pakistan announced lockdowns, shops other than pharmacies and grocery stores were shuttered and, while all of this was done to keep Pakistanis safe, the situation triggered anxiety, stress and depression among many in the absence of usual social interactions.
“Humans are not meant to be completely isolated,” Omar Bazza, a clinical therapist practicing in Toronto, told Arab News over the phone. “Distancing and social isolation can indeed trigger a lot of anxiety and depression symptoms.”
In addition to forgoing social interactions, even those as simple as bumping into friends somewhere, there is the added stress of lost jobs, bills piling up, uncertainty of the future and the desire to keep the family safe.
“These concerns can easily trigger or even create anxiety. We are starting to see depression and anxiety in people who previously never experienced issues with their mental health,” said Bazza to Arab News.
“I have seen some of my depression make a comeback,” said Roshaan Amber, an Islamabad-based telecom worker, about being stuck at home. “Previously, I went for therapy to deal with anxiety and my depression was under control. But being at home all the time has once again stimulated it.”
Anousheh Azra works with the banking sector, one of the few areas of economy that have been deemed essential and therefore keeping people like her out of home. Yet, she is required to practice social distancing which, she believes, is making her life immensely difficult.
“I feel constantly exhausted, no matter how well rested I am,” she told Arab News. “I feel anxious.”
Maqbool suggests that “We all need to realize that we are going through trauma at a global level.” “We need to give ourselves the space to feel this.”
She recommends setting strict boundaries to exercise self-discipline like the one she has for herself where only a small portion of the day is dedicated to reading the news and where friends and family have been told that if they want to have a chat they need to discuss something other than the coronavirus. “If I am not in a good mental space myself, I cannot help my clients who are looking to me as a source of peace and safety.”
Maqbool has joined many people across the globe by using the Internet and digital platforms to reach her clients. She brings 80 percent of her clients to work with her online and sees 20 percent of them in person at her home, though “we keep a distance of five feet and meet in my lawn.”
Rehman said that “helping the underprivileged while staying within one’s capacity” can also tend to ease anxiety and depression. Another healthy indulgence is helping family members or friends passing through a tough time in isolation by “staying in touch virtually whether it’s a phone call or video chat and of course through social media,” said added.
Online resources for stress inoculation are available as well, though one should be cautioned to make sure the source of the website is legitimate and attached to medical or mental health professionals.