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Indian student activist Umar Khalid arrested over Delhi riots


Prominent rights campaigner held under anti-terrorism laws for alleged role in February’s deadly riotsA prominent student activist has been arrested for his alleged role in deadly riots in Delhi earlier this year, as police continue to round up anti-government figures in an investigation that has been condemned as politically motivated.There was outcry among activists and politicians after police arrested Umar Khalid on Sunday night, naming him as a conspirator in the Delhi riots case and arresting him under a draconian terrorism law. He will be held in police custody for the next 10 days. Related: Inside Delhi: beaten, lynched and burnt alive Related: Delhi police accused of filing false charges over February riots Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/14/india-student-activist-umar-khalid-arrested-over-delhi-riots

The Guardian view on India's strongman: in denial about a Covid crisis | Editorial


Rather than rebuild the social fabric of his country during the coronavirus-driven economic slump, Narendra Modi has chosen to play identity politicsLast month Narendra Modi, India’s strongman prime minister, performed the religious rites to consecrate the building of a Hindu temple on the site of a mosque whose destruction two decades ago sparked deadly nationwide riots. The ceremony saw Mr Modi appropriate the role traditionally performed by Hindu kings. “The entire nation is under Ram’s spell today,” the prime minister told his audience. “By God’s grace, a golden chapter is being written by India.” The message that a bright future is to be divinely blessed has not reached the heavens.India used to boast of having the world’s fastest-growing major economy. It now has the fastest-growing coronavirus crisis, with almost 100,000 new infections reported each day. Its GDP has contracted by almost a quarter. The country makes up one third of the world’s new Covid cases and appears to have underestimated the disease’s prevalence. India’s youthful demographics help keep its Covid mortality rate low. However, in absolute numbers the country’s coronavirus death toll is only surpassed by Brazil and the United States. Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/13/the-guardian-view-on-indias-strongman-in-denial-about-a-covid-crisis

Alan Jacobs obituary


My friend Alan Jacobs, who has died aged 90, was an authority on the works of mystical thinkers.His speciality was the compilation and editing of anthologies based on extracts from spiritual poetry and sacred texts, including The Element Book of Mystical Verse (1997) and Peace of Mind: Words of Wisdom to Comfort and Inspire (2010). Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/28/alan-jacobs-obituary

Covid turns tide on India's Ganesh festival traditions


Thousands of ritual statues are dunked into the sea off Mumbai each year – but coronavirus and pollution concerns are forcing change In the quiet housing estate of Angrewadi in the heart of Girgaon in south Mumbai, people are celebrating the 100th consecutive year of the Ganesh Chaturthi, the Hindu festival of the elephant-headed god of new beginnings. Statues of Lord Ganesh are brought into homes and put on display for offerings and prayers.On the 11th and final day of the festival, the ritual of Ganesh Visarjan takes place – falling this year on 1 September. The statues, normally made of soluble plaster of paris, are traditionally carried in a public procession with music and chanting, and are then immersed in either a river or the sea. Here, they slowly dissolve in a ceremony that dramatises the Hindu view of the ephemeral nature of life – but also causes widespread pollution.The aftermath of idol immersion on Mahim beach, Mumbai, in 2018. Photograph: Rabia Tewari/Mahim Beach Clean UpSome of the more than 200 artificial ponds in Mumbai built to accommodate hundreds of thousands of statues of Lord Ganesh on the last day of the annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Photographs: Gautam Doshi/The GuardianDevotees hand their statues of Lord Ganesh to municipal workers, who carry out the immersions in the artificial ponds. Photograph: Gautam Doshi/The GuardianDevotees pay tribute to Lord Ganesh as BMC workers strip the statues of ornaments ready for immersion in the artificial ponds. Photographs: Gautam Doshi/The Guardian Related: 'We have abandoned the poor': slums suffer as Covid-19 exposes India's social divide Rajashree Patagaokar, 26, applies the last few ornaments to a plaster statue. Normally, these decorations and other ornaments – along with the statue – are immersed in the sea, causing pollution along Mumbai’s coast The Patagaokar family make both plaster and clay statues. This year’s takings for the family business were 50% less than this time last year. Photographs: Gautam Doshi/The GuardianA clay statue made by a child is brought for immersion at August Kranti Maidan’s artificial ponds. Photographs: Gautam Doshi/The GuardianPublic shrines to Lord Ganesh open for worship during the festival. Photographs: Gautam Doshi/The GuardianPramod Higesthe, left, and DV Kulkarni of the Angewadi events organising committee with an eco-friendly idol. Photograph: Gautam Doshi/The Guardian Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/aug/28/covid-19-turns-tide-on-indias-ganesh-festival-traditions

Bloomsbury India pulls Delhi riots book after anti-Muslim controversy


Delhi Riots 2020 claims violence was result of Muslim jihadist conspiracy but critics accuse publisher of censorshipBloomsbury India has pulled a controversial book claiming to tell the untold story of February’s Delhi riots, after the publisher was accused of giving a platform to unsubstantiated allegations and strengthening an anti-Muslim agenda.The book, titled Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story, claims that the riots were the result of a conspiracy by Muslim jihadists and so-called “urban naxals”, a derogatory term used to describe left-wing activists, who had a role to play in the riots. The claim contravenes reports by organisations such as Amnesty International and the Delhi Minorities Commission that Muslims bore the brunt of the violence. Related: Inside Delhi: beaten, lynched and burnt alive Related: Delhi police accused of filing false charges over February riots Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/24/bloomsbury-india-pulls-delhi-riots-2020-book-after-anti-muslim-controversy

Modi's acolytes have reminded India's Muslims just what he thinks of them | Siddhartha Deb


An image in Times Square celebrated not only the construction of a Hindu temple but the destruction of a mosqueMussolini confided in his son that one of his nightmares was that he would be put on trial at New York’s Madison Square Garden, in case of capture by the Allies. Narendra Modi’s fantasy was to hold his victory rally there, as he did in September 2014, soon after being elected prime minister of India. Returning triumphantly to the heart of the very empire that denied him a diplomatic visa and revoked his tourist visa for an anti-Muslim pogrom carried out while he was chief minister in Gujarat in 2002, Modi’s presence at Madison Square Garden sparked off the rapturous belligerence of 20,000 supporters. Since then, through events like “Howdy Modi” and “Namaste Trump”, Modi appears to have made America his second home and Donald Trump a buddy, a coming together of civilisations ancient and modern as well as a merger of two failed states with among the highest rates of Covid-19 infection in the world. Related: Ayodhya: Modi hails 'dawn of new era' as work on controversial temple begins Modi knows how to unleash beasts as well as how to render them acceptable on a global stage, airbrushed and Disneyfied, while his engine of cruelty rolls on Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/06/modi-india-muslims-times-square-hindu-temple

Ayodhya: Modi hails 'dawn of new era' as work on controversial temple begins


Foundation stone laid for temple to Lord Ram at site where mosque was razed 28 years ago The Indian town of Ayodhya welcomed Narendra Modi for a ceremony marking the start of construction of a temple on the site where a mosque was razed to the ground by a Hindu mob 28 years ago.Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party has campaigned for years for the temple to be built at the spot considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Lord Ram. The issue has divided Indians, alienated Muslims, helped propel the BJP to power and thrown its rivals into disarray. Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/05/ayodhya-narendra-modi-temple-foundation-stone-ceremony

How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart – podcast


For seven decades, India has been held together by its constitution, which promises equality to all. But Narendra Modi’s BJP is remaking the nation into one where some people count as more Indian than others. By Samanth Subramanian• Read the text version here Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/jul/27/hindu-supremacists-tearing-india-apart-modi-bjp-podcast

Islamic activists halt construction of first Hindu temple in Islamabad


Petitions filed in court to block work on first Hindu temple in capital since Pakistan’s creationThe controversial construction of the first Hindu temple in Pakistan’s capital has been halted after it was challenged in the courts.Plans for the Shri Krishna temple on a 1,860 sq metre (20,000 sq ft) site in Islamabad include a Hindu crematorium and a community hall for the city’s minority Hindu residents and visitors. Related: Global report: WHO urges Pakistan to return to lockdown as hospitals struggle Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/08/pakistan-shri-krishna-hindu-temple-construction-halted-islamabad

Keeping the faith: religion in the UK amid coronavirus


As places of worship prepare to reopen after more than three months of lockdown, we chart the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on faith communities in the UKIt started with a tap on the microphone. Then a voice echoed around the west London housing estate: “We are passing through the valley of the shadow of death, but we are not alone.” It was Sunday 19 April, when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its most intense in London and the earth was shifting beneath our feet.The Rev Pat Allerton, a Church of England vicar, pressed a button on his phone to play Judy Collins’ powerful rendition of Amazing Grace, and something extraordinary happened.27 April: The Rev Pat Allerton prays for NHS workers outside University College hospital in London during the peak of the pandemic in the UK.27 April: Rev Allerton positions himself on a busy road junction on Tottenham Court Road to broadcast prayer and Judy Collins’ rendition of Amazing Grace to passers-by.19 April: Locked-down residents of Colville Square in west London look out of their windows to hear Allerton’s prayers from the streets below. Right: People stop to listen to Allerton’s message on a Sunday afternoon as churches remained closed.11 April: At 8pm on Holy Saturday, the Rev Canon Aidan Platten steps out of his home to light the paschal candle from the Easter fire outside Norwich Cathedral. For only the second time in its 900-year history, the cathedral is closed.24 May: Pushpa Chaudhary, 85, prays to a Hindu shrine in her porch at home in Southall, London. Her son Vivek says: “She’s asking the gods to protect the house, protect all the family and to protect everybody at this time.” There has been a shrine in the porch since the family moved to the house in 1970. “Everyone has added their touches to it,” says Vivek, who contributed a Spurs scarf.13 April: A Sikh devotee prays outside the closed Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick during the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.13 April: An NHS driver stops his van to offer a prayer as he passes the closed Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick during the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.3 May: The Rev Helen Chandler conducts Sunday service in her garden outside St Peter and St John, an Anglican church near Lowestoft, Suffolk. The outdoor altar was blessed by a bishop, allowing Chandler to conduct services here while the church remains closed. “I’ve spoken with more neighbours in the past month or so than I had before,” she says. 30 April: Sophie Matkovits (second left) celebrates her batmitzvah with friends and family around the world via Zoom from her home in Finchley. “Judaism has always had to adapt,” Rabbi Miriam Berger tells the virtual gathering. 30 April: During lockdown, the yad (pointer) was passed from family to family as they held bar and batmitzvahs. Lynne, Sophie’s mother, picked up the yad from the front garden of another family, and after the ceremony she disinfected it and left it on the doorstep to be collected by a family celebrating a batmitzvah the following week.4 May: Haredi men form a minyan – a quorum of 10 men required for Jewish worship – for shacharit (morning prayer). They congregate across neighbouring gardens in Stamford Hill, north London, in order to socially distance.7 May: Because all synagogues are closed, members of the tight-knit Jewish community of Stamford Hill come together in their front gardens and on the roadside so they can form the minyan required for daily prayer.7 May: In order to form a minyan, each participant must be able to hear the chazzan (person who leads the services).7 May: Rabbi Daniel Epstein conducts a funeral at a Jewish cemetery in Waltham Abbey for a victim of Covid-19, broadcast via Zoom. 15 May: Raheema Caratella reads to her family from the Qur’an. Her family have been reading together every day during Ramadan. 15 May: Irhfan Mururajani leads his family in prayer at their home in Leicester during Ramadan. “This is the first time I’ve done the night prayer with a female member of my household,” he says. “The very first time we are praying as a whole family. It’s a lovely feeling.” 3 April: The Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden, the largest in western Europe, empty at Friday prayer time during the first full week of the lockdown.20 May: Imam Faruq Siddiqi, the Muslim chaplain for the Royal London hospital in east London, prays in an empty consulting room during Ramadan.16 May: Iftar meals are cooked and prepared for distribution from Saffron Kitchen in Leyton by the charity Supporting Humanity. In conjunction with the East London mosque, meals are delivered to NHS workers at the Royal London hospital.20 May: Nurse Ayesha Khan breaks her fast with an iftar meal delivered by Serving Humanity and East London mosque. “My faith has definitely deepened” during the Covid-19 crisis, she says.16 April: Father Rayner Wakeling, of St Silas church in King’s Cross, prepares to deliver a service to his parishioners via Facebook from his home. “I didn’t initially think I would do any live streaming. Certainly celebrating mass at home on my own was going to be really strange. [But] on Sunday something like 300 people watched on Facebook, compared to around 35 people who come to church each week. Well, I was amazed!” 5 June: A Ghanaian funeral ceremony takes place outside the home of a 59 year-old man who died in March. The undertakers brought his coffin to his home in Croydon so his family and friends could hold a religious ceremony on the roadside. “The deceased man was in our care for two months while the family waited in the hope that they could have a traditional funeral. I’ve seen people’s faith tested to the very limits,” says the funeral director Gary Valentine-Fuller. Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/jul/03/keeping-the-faith-religion-in-the-uk-amid-coronavirus

Delhi police accused of filing false charges over February riots


Democracy campaigners say officers ignored violence by Hindus during clashes with MuslimsDelhi police have been accused of filing false and politically motivated charges against pro-democracy activists to blame them for the Delhi riots – while not arresting any ruling party figures and police officers for their role in the violence.More than 80 charge sheets have been filed naming those allegedly responsible for inciting the riots, which broke out in February in some of the worst religious violence in India for decades. Related: Inside Delhi: beaten, lynched and burnt alive Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/23/delhi-police-accused-after-charging-activists-over-february-riots

'Nothing will ever be the same': how faith groups adapted to lockdown in England


As places of worship reopen in England, one church reveals how its congregation grew from 15 to 1,500 peopleCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageWith places of worship in England opening on Monday for private prayer, we spoke to people about their faith and how they’ve been coping during lockdown. Related: 'People are too afraid': churches begin to reopen – but will worshippers go back? Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/15/nothing-will-ever-be-the-same-how-faith-groups-adapted-to-lockdown-in-england

Two Muslim students face 'bogus' charges of inciting Delhi riots


Lawyers say pair were peacefully protesting against Indian citizenship actDelhi police have been accused of slapping two Muslim student activists with “bogus” charges of conspiring to incite the recent riots, the worst religious violence in India’s capital for decades, and in which the police were accused of being complicit.Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, students at Delhi’s Muslim-majority Jamia Millia Islamia University, were charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which is usually reserved for terrorist activity and means they can be held for six months. Related: Inside Delhi: beaten, lynched and burnt alive Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/22/two-muslim-students-face-bogus-charges-of-inciting-delhi-riots

Sunday best: London's faithful in their finery – in pictures


“Most of my work explores themes of community,” says London-based documentary photographer Katie Waggett. Her new book, Sunday Best, published by Hoxton Mini Press, is a celebration of London’s cultural tapestry through a series of portraits of people from diverse religious backgrounds and a response to the “narrow definition of British identity”. Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2020/apr/18/sunday-best-londons-faithful-in-their-finery-in-pictures

Divided Delhi under lockdown: 'If coronavirus doesn't kill me, hunger will'


India’s shutdown is catastrophic for Muslims driven from their homes by sectarian carnage and now without food or shelterAs the wealthy quaff wine in comfort, India’s poor are thrown to the wolvesIt wasn’t possible for Mohammed Idrish to watch Narendra Modi’s address to the nation last Tuesday exhorting 1.3 billion Indians to stay at home. His TV was looted along with everything else in his home in Delhi during the recent anti-Muslim riots in the Indian capital.When Idrish, a carpenter, heard about Modi urging Indians to stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading, he shook his head again and again. “I don’t understand … I don’t understand. Doesn’t he know we have no home?” Related: As the wealthy quaff wine in comfort, India’s poor are thrown to the wolves Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/30/divided-delhi-under-lockdown-if-coronavirus-doesnt-kill-me-hunger-will

Delhi's Muslims despair of justice after police implicated in riots


Allegations mount that police in Indian capital incited and aided recent mob violence and failed to help Muslim victims On one side of the marketplace, it was carnage. As the Hindu mob descended, Muslim-owned stalls selling car parts were slowly reduced to debris and ashes. But just 100 metres away stood two police stations.As the mob attacks came once, then twice and then a third time in this north-east Delhi neighbourhood, desperate stallholders repeatedly ran to Gokalpuri and Dayalpur police stations crying out for help. But each time they found the gates locked from the inside. For three days, no help came. Related: Death toll from Delhi's worst riots in decades rises to 38 Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/delhis-muslims-despair-justice-police-implicated-hindu-riots

Religious festivals cancelled or scaled back due to coronavirus


All major world religions are limiting large gatherings and physical contact to halt transmission of Covid-19Events to mark important religious festivals could be cancelled or curtailed in the coming weeks because of the coronavirus crisis.Next month, most of the world’s major religions have festivals involving large gatherings of people. Easter is on 12 April (a week later for Eastern Orthodox churches); Passover begins on 8 April; Rama Navami, an important Hindu festival, is on 2 April; while the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi is a few days later. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins around 23 April. Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/14/religious-festivals-cancelled-or-scaled-back-due-to-coronavirus

'I cannot find my father's body': Delhi's fearful Muslims mourn riot dead


One week after the Indian capital’s worst religious violence in years, displaced Muslims describe losing everythingThis article contains an image that some readers may find distressingAs Mohammad Arshad’s body was brought into the courtyard, his lifeless face covered in a white shroud, the wailing began. The 22-year-old house painter, who had been beloved by his six sisters and would always bring them fruit when he finished work, had died a brutal death two days earlier. He had been killed because he was Muslim.Several of Arshad’s sisters reached out to touch his cold bruised cheeks. “Please wake up, brother,” they cried. “Wake up. Please open your eyes.” Related: Inside Delhi: beaten, lynched and burnt alive Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/06/how-can-i-go-back-delhi-fearful-muslims-mourn-riot-dead

Inside Delhi: beaten, lynched and burnt alive


Violence in India’s capital has left more than 40 dead and hundreds injured after a Hindu nationalist rampage, stoked by the rhetoric of Narendra Modi’s populist governmentHe lay in a bloodied ball on the floor, but the baton blows kept on coming. As the 30 strangers beat him without stopping, Mohammad Zubair closed his eyes, brought his forehead to the ground and prayed.“The blows kept raining on my head, hands and back,” said Zubair, 37. “I did not ask them to stop beating me. I became silent, tried to hold my breath and stiffen my body.”They kicked my stomach and my whole body. I pleaded with them not to harm my baby, but they kept kicking Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/india-delhi-after-hindu-mob-riot-religious-hatred-nationalists

The violence in Delhi is not a ‘riot’. It is targeted anti-Muslim brutality | Kenan Malik


Blame the poisonous ideology of the Hindu nationalist BJP for the blood on India’s streetsIn August 1958, gangs of white youths began systematically attacking West Indians in London’s Notting Hill, assaulting them with iron bars and meat cleavers and milk bottles. One policeman reported a 300-strong mob shouting: “We will kill all black bastards. Why don’t you send them home?” The attacks continued for a week before order was restored.The incident is still referred to as the “Notting Hill riots”. It was nothing of the sort. It was a vicious week-long racist attack. Mr Justice Salmon, sentencing nine white youths at the Old Bailey, called it “nigger hunting”. There is, though, a long history of describing racist violence as a “riot”, to portray it as a general violent mayhem rather than as targeted attacks.In August 2019, the government stripped Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status Continue reading... [...]

Click here to Read full Details Sources @ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/01/violence-in-delhi-is-not-a-riot-it-is-targeted-anti-muslim-brutality
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