In India, private firms open rooftops for Muslims to offer Friday prayers

NEW DELHI, Dec 30 (INP): After Muslims were barred from performing prayers in community parks by police in India’s Uttar Pradesh, private firms opened up their rooftops to allow the religious minority to offer Friday prayers.

The Noida police had warned multinationals of strict actions if their Muslim employees offered Friday prayers at a public park in Sector-58.

The ban was issued after the police received complaints of employees offering prayers in the absence of permission by authorities.

The companies in the area had earlier petitioned the district magistrate to grant their employees permission to offer Friday prayers in the park but to no avail. A week to the police orders, private firms tackled the situations by allowing their Muslim workers to pray in office premises. While some Muslims headed towards a tomb adjacent to a public park to offer the prayers. Speaking to Hindustan Times, a private firm owner said his employees have been offered prayer area for the past 12 years. He also spoke of arraning an Imam to recite the Holy Quran. Imam Mohammad Abbas told HT that he had “been coming to the company every Friday for the past 12 years.” “It started when the owner was looking for an Imam for his Muslim employees. The owner has also arranged for a priest for the Hindu employees of the company. It is incredible how the environment of mutual respect has been carried for more than a decade.” Indian officials accused of excluding Muslims from Assam citizens’ register Kadir Khan, an activist from Dankaur, commented on the controvery that “public parks are not meant for offering namaz, and one should either offer prayers in their homes or masjids. The gesture by owners is commendable, and speaks volumes about the ethos of our country.” INP/AJ