Masked Men Storm Into Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, Wave ISIS Flags


Team Udayavani, Dec 30, 2018, 4:51 AM IST

Srinagar: A group of youngsters, carrying ISIS flags, forcibly entered the historic Jamia Masjid and created a ruckus, evoking condemnation from the mosque’s management committee and the separatists.

The incident occurred after the congregational Friday prayers when most of the people had left the mosque, officials said, adding that the youngsters were later chased away by those present there. The video of the incident went viral on the social media on Saturday.

The officials said moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who delivered the Friday sermon at the mosque, had also left before the incident took place. “A group of youngsters, wearing masks, forced their entry into the mosque and rushed to the pulpit where the Mirwaiz delivers the sermon. One of them stood atop the pulpit and shouted slogans. They were carrying ISIS flags,” said an official.

The youngsters were subsequently chased away by those present there, he added. The managing committee of the mosque — the Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid— has condemned the incident.

“A group of masked boys entered the mosque and rushed to the pulpit. One of them stood atop the pulpit with his shoes on, screaming slogans and creating a ruckus. In the meantime, his associates videotaped it and the video has been put on the social media.

“This clearly indicates that the incident was deliberate and planned. It has naturally led to shock and outrage and a deep resentment among people. It has deeply hurt their sentiments associated with the mosque,” the committee said in a statement.

It added that the attempt to “desecrate the Jamia mosque by this group of hooligans, whose identity is not known yet as they were wearing masks, nor at whose behest they were indulging in these shameful acts is condemnable”.

“It shows the utter disregard of this group of miscreants for Islamic institutions, values and teachings. Such elements not only malign the name of Islam, but also abuse it,” the committee said.

The Anjuman Auqaf said it had taken a strong note of “this shameful incident” and warned “those elements or agencies behind this incident” that people and the Auqaf would not tolerate anyone violating the sanctity of the mosque and the pulpit at any cost.

“The Jamia Masjid is the spiritual, religious and political centre of the people of Kashmir and our collective cultural heritage and any attempt to harm it will be firmly dealt with,” it said. The separatists, under the banner of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), also condemned the incident.

“We strongly condemn the incident that took place after the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, in which some masked elements, violating all Islamic teachings, values and sanctity of the mosque and exploiting the Kalima and the name of Islam, attempted to desecrate the pulpit of the mosque. Such anti-Islamic acts will not be tolerated at any cost,” the JRL — comprising the Mirwaiz, Syed Ali Geelani and Mohammad Yasin Malik — said.

The separatists said this was not the first time that such a “shameful act of hooliganism” was carried out. They alleged that some “elements are being used to divert this just movement by changing its basic nature and character under the pretence of perusing some global agenda”.

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