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.


Pakistani religious party’s volunteers disinfect temples and churches

Updated 31 March 2020

Pakistani religious party’s volunteers disinfect temples and churches

  • Jamaat-e-Islami volunteers provide food and other necessities to Muslims and non-Muslims in need alike, party chief says
  • Religious minority leaders say the step will help promote interfaith harmony in the country

LAHORE: Promoting interfaith harmony during coronavirus crisis, Pakistan’s religio-political party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), has set out on a disinfection campaign for mosques, churches, and temples alike in the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The initiative taken by the party’s social welfare wing, Al Khidmat Foundation, has been greatly lauded the country’s minority communities.
“Al Khidmat Foundation has been instructed by the party leadership to provide food to the needy in these testing times and participate in the movement of disinfecting worship places belonging to all religions along with other public areas,” JI’s information secretary, Qaisar Sharif, told Arab News on Tuesday.
“In Karachi and Peshawar, Al Khidmat volunteers have helped seven churches, five temples and two [Sikh] gurdwaras,” he added.
Sharif said the party’s top leadership opined that no one was safe since COVID-19 had engulfed the entire world.
“The JI has directed its volunteers to provide cooked food, rations and other items of necessity to those in need. The service is for the people of all faiths, not just Muslims. We believe in one God who is the Master of the universe. Our Prophet was a mercy to the humankind, not just to Muslims alone. As his followers, it is our responsibility to serve all humans without making any discrimination,” Sirajul Haq, the JI chief, told Arab News.
“Serving the mosques, churches, temples and gurdwaras is a practical step toward religious harmony,” he continued. “We are trying to show the world that Islam is not a religion of extremism but teaches its followers that all humans are equal.”
The religious leaders of different faiths welcomed the step, saying it would lead to a more pluralistic society.
“It is a positive development that will pave the way for religious harmony in Pakistan,” Pastor Shahid Meraj, Dean of Lahore Cathedral, told Arab News. “There is always an initiative to begin, and this act will help start dialogue among religions.”
“We are thankful to the JI leadership for this gesture,” he added. “They helped us today and we have assured to help them whenever needed.”
Leaders of the Hindu community also appreciated the gesture, saying it would bring people of different religions closer together.
“At a time when the whole world is suffering due to an unseen virus, this act of disinfecting our temples is a good omen,” Pandat Bhagat Lal Khokhar, custodian of Lahore’s Valmik Mandar, told Arab News. “It will have a far reaching and positive impact on our society since it will bring Hindus and Muslims closer together.”
President of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Sardar Satwant Singh echoed the same sentiment as well.
“This positive gesture will further strengthen the Sikh-Muslim brotherhood,” he noted. “It is important to have interfaith harmony in the country and such steps are extremely fruitful for that purpose.”
Rights activists also appreciated the JI initiative.
“Huge respect for Al-Khidmat, welfare wing of @JIPOfficial, for doing disinfectant spray in Mandir and Church. Lead by example of peaceful coexistence, interfaith harmony and pluralism,” Kapil Dev, a Hindu activist from Sindh, said in a Twitter post.