Pakistan slams restrictions on Muslim Friday prayers in Indian state

Islamabad urges international community to take notice of growing Islamophobia, violent attacks against Muslims in India.

ISLAMABAD (AA) – Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned the restrictions imposed on Friday prayers and attacks on Muslim worship places in India.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry claimed the restrictions on offering Friday congregational prayers were imposed by the ruling Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in Haryana.

“We are also deeply concerned over continued vandalization of mosques and attacks against prayer places of Muslims by Sangh Parivar extremists with the complicity of the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana,” said Asim Iftikhar Ahmad, a spokesman for the ministry.

“In another abhorrent act of sacrilege of Muslim religious places, radical Hindu groups reportedly dumped cow dung at several places of Friday prayers,” he added.

For a month, the right-wing Hindu groups in the Gurugram district of Haryana, adjacent to the capital New Delhi, are trying to bar Muslims from Friday prayers at the government-designated locations.

On Oct. 29, local police arrested several workers of right-wing Hindu groups in Gurugram after they tried to disrupt prayers.

Later on Nov. 2, the local administration of Gurugram district withdrew permission for Friday prayers at eight locations out of 37 over objection from local residents, local daily The Indian Express reported.

The latest violent attacks against Muslims began last month from India’s northeastern state of Tripura when radical Hindu mobs vandalized Muslim worship places and shops.

According to the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, a civil rights group, at least 16 mosques were vandalized and houses and shops belonging to Muslims were set ablaze in Tripura last month.

The group said there were at least 27 confirmed incidents of right-wing mobs attacking mosques, houses, and individuals in Muslim areas.

“The senseless attacks against Muslims and their places of worship, houses, and businesses are continuing in Tripura as well despite international concern. The BJP-ruled states have arrested hundreds of individuals, including well-known advocates and journalists, under the draconian laws such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for raising voice against gross and systematic human rights violations of minorities particularly Muslims,” said the spokesman.

He added that right-wing Hindu groups affiliated with BJP also carried out violent attacks and destroyed Muslims’ shops, mosques, and shrines in Maharashtra state.

Islamabad called on the international community to take notice of growing Islamophobia and violent attacks against Muslims in India and take immediate steps for the protection of minorities and their places of worship.


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