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Quds Day Voice of Voiceless Palestine

World Quds Day is coming and again, there pops up to the mind that if Holocaust happened against the Jews many years ago in Germany, why should the people of Palestine pay for it.

Time :   12/27/2021 9:56:14 AM News Code : 48381

Closed Kashmir main mosque belies India’s religious freedom claim
Authorities see Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid as a nerve centre for protests that challenge India’s sovereignty over the disputed region.

The central mosque in Indian-administered Kashmir’s largest city has largely remained closed for the past two years amid a bitter dispute between Indian authorities and Kashmiri Muslims.

The centuries-old Jamia Masjid dominates its neighbourhood in Srinagar with an imposing main gate and enormous turrets.

The building, made of brick and wood, is one of the oldest mosques in the city of 1.2 million, 96 percent of whom are Muslim, and often draws thousands to prayer.

With 378 wooden pillars, it can hold 33,000 worshippers.

On special occasions over the years, hundreds of thousands of Muslims fill nearby lanes and roads to offer prayers led from the mosque.

However, Indian authorities see the mosque as a trouble spot – a nerve centre for protests and clashes that challenge New Delhi’s sovereignty over the disputed Kashmir region, claimed in its entirety by India and Pakistan who rule over parts of it.

For Kashmiri Muslims, the mosque is a sacred place where they offer mandatory prayers on Fridays and also raise their voices for political rights.

Amid these tensions, the mosque has mostly been shuttered for the past two years.

The mosque’s chief priest has been detained inside his home almost non-stop throughout that time, and the mosque’s main gate is padlocked and blocked with corrugated tin sheets on Fridays.

‘Something missing deep inside my heart’

The closure of the mosque, which is revered by Indian-administered Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, has deepened anger among them.

“Something is missing deep inside my heart,” said Bashir Ahmed, 65, a retired government employee who has offered prayers at the mosque for more than 50 years.

Indian authorities refused to comment on the mosque restrictions despite repeated queries from The Associated Press news agency.

In the past, officials have said the government was forced to close the mosque because its management committee was unable to stop anti-India protests on the premises.

The shutting of the 600-year-old mosque came in a clampdown that began in 2019 after the government stripped Indian-administered Kashmir of its long-held semi-autonomous status.

In the past two years, some of the region’s other mosques and shrines – also closed for months due to the security crackdown and the subsequent pandemic – have been allowed to offer religious services.

Jamia Masjid has remained out of bounds to worshippers for prayers on Fridays, the main day of congregational worship in Islam.

 

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