UCA News

India

Islamic State flag desecrates Kashmir mosque

Local fighters against Indian rule object to terror group's attempts to hijack their cause for a global agenda

Umar Manzoor Shah, Srinagar

Umar Manzoor Shah, Srinagar

Updated: January 09, 2019 04:29 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Islamic State flag desecrates Kashmir mosque

Kashmir's chief religious cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addresses a crowd of supporter outside Jamia Masjid after it was 'desecrated' by some youth waving a flag of the terror group Islamic State. (Photo by Umar Shah/ucanews.com)

Share this article :
Muslims in India's Jammu and Kashmir state have joined to wash clean a mosque after it was desecrated by Islamic State supporters who waved the militant organization's flag inside it.

Muslims in droves congregated at Jamia Masjid in the city of Srinagar on Jan. 4 and took part in the cleaning before Friday prayers.

On the previous Friday, Dec. 29, a group of masked youths moved to the chief cleric's seat and waived the flag of the so-called Islamic State, the global terrorist organization seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate.

A video of the incident that went viral showed a masked youth waiving the group's flag while others chanted slogans.

One person was seen trying to stand on the chief cleric's chair and fix the flag on it.

The incident was shocking and has deeply hurt the sentiments of the people in this Muslim majority state, according to Sheikh Ghulam Hassan, a senior member of the mosque's management committee.

"It shows utter disregard of this group of miscreants for Islamic institutions, values and Islamic teachings," Hassan told ucanews.com.

"Such elements not only malign the name of Islam but also abuse it."

He added that Jamia Masjid has been the epicentre of region's Islamic religious life since being built 1394 and any attempt to desecrate it would be sternly dealt with.

Soon after the flag waving was reported, Kashmir's chief religious cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, appealed for worshippers and the heads of all religious organizations to assemble at the mosque to take part in the purification process. 

Mirwaiz, who leads a popular demand for the region's freedom from Indian rule, said the "sacrilegious" act would damage the cause of freedom.

"The way our right to self-determination is being maligned, and attempts are being made to change its direction, won't be tolerated," Mirwaiz said.

"The whole community is against these elements."

Kashmir separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik said in a joint statement that there are attempts to high-jack Kashmir's freedom movement and link it with a global agenda.

They said that the Kashmir struggle is purely indigenous in nature as people are fighting Indian rule.

The goal of self-determination was motivated by Islamic values, the separatists said.

On June 23, last year, the Jammu and Kashmir government for the first time admitted the presence of Islamic State in the strife-torn Kashmir Valley.

Earlier, official Indian agencies dismissed reports about the IS presence as media propaganda.

Radicalization of youth in Kashmir gained ground following the killing of the militant leader Burhan Wani in mid-2016.

During the past 30 years, an estimated 100,000 people have died in Jammu and Kashmir, including civilians, militants, and army personnel, after groups began an armed struggle to free Kashmir from Indian rule or to merge it with neighbouring Pakistan.

Both India and Pakistan have gone to war over the territory twice, in 1947 and 1965, and there have been myriad skirmishes. 

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."