After slamming ‘Islamophobia’ charge, Naqvi says wrong to blame all Muslims
Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday advised against the demonisation of entire Muslim community for mistakes made by some individuals belonging to the Tablighi Jamaat.
Naqvi’s comments are a reference to a big chunk of India’s coronavirus cases being traced to the Muslim sect that held a religious congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in March allegedly in violation of social distancing norms. Several members of the Jamaat who returned to their respective states were responsible for spreading COVID-19 locally.
“Entire Muslim community cannot be held responsible for one group’s crime,” Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told PTI on the Tablighi Jamaat row.
Naqvi’s comments assume significance since he had dismissed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s concerns of Islamophobia in India a couple of days ago and asserted that India was “a heaven” for Muslims and secularism and social harmony was “a passion” in India and not “a political fashion”.
OIC’s Islamophobia comments were a reference to criticism in certain sections that attempts were made to single out the Muslim community for the spread of coronavirus through the targeting of Jamaat members.
Naqvi hit out at the OIC and said that those trying to vitiate the atmosphere of prosperity of Indian Muslims, cannot be friends of Indian Muslims.
On Thursday, he also repeated his appeal to the community to maintain social distancing and adhere to national lockdown measures during the holy month of Ramazan that begins on Friday in some parts, and on Saturday in most parts of India.
“Confident that Muslims will fully adhere to lockdown and social distancing guidelines during Ramzan,” Naqvi told PTI.
Several bodies representing the Muslim community including the Islamic Centre of India and the Delhi Waqf Board have also appealed for daily prayers during Ramazan to be held at home and asked mosques to create awareness about official guidelines to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
According to an advisory by the Delhi Waqf Board, people should stay at their homes to offer Namaz during Ramzan, however, Imams, Muazzins and Mutawallis can offer the prayers at mosques.
It has also asked the mosques to announce the guidelines after each Azaan and also at other times through loudspeakers.
Most state governments including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan have asked state officials to ensure that there are no public gatherings at the time of the ‘sehri’ and ‘iftar’ rituals during Ramzan.
The Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats has issued an advisory asking Muslims in the state not to organise community ‘iftars’ and instead pray for health workers, police and those involved in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In these trying times please remember the entire Ummah, our nation, all the doctors, the frontline health workers, police and all involved in fighting this pandemic in your duas (prayers),” the advisory said.
The governor of Rajasthan held a video conference with Khadims of Ajmer Dargah and requested them to advise devotees to practice social distancing and follow lockdown rules. The Dargah members in return promised all cooperation in this regard.