When a Masjid welcomes non-Muslims to bridge gap between communities

coastaldigest.com news network
March 22, 2021

JumaMasjid.jpg

A historic mosque located at Kalbadevi, an old neighbourhood in Mumbai, for the first time opened its doors for “non-Muslim brothers” on March 21, 2021, as part of its efforts to bridge the gap between communities.

Dozens of people from different faiths were taken around the 18th-century structure of Juma Masjid, showcasing everything from the pond located in the downstairs main courtyard, to the large minarets that flanked either side of the mosque. 
  
The visitors were guided into the main prayer room and shown the minbar: a white, hollow pillar-like structure, once used by the imam to give the call for azaan. Those assembled were also given a demonstration of how the namaz is offered. 

One of the people conducting the tour explained the different postures that the namaz incorporates and their respective meanings. “A unique thing about namaz is that while praying, a king and a pauper can be standing next to each other without any discrimination. Equality is one of the highest virtues of Islam.”

According to Shoaib Khatib, chairman of the Jumma Masjid Bombay Trust, “The main idea behind starting this tour is to bridge the gap between different communities. These are tough times in today’s political environment…where some people have made a gap between Hindus and Muslims for their own political advantage. Ours is an effort to bridge this gap—and what better ground to do so than at our masjid, where our non-muslim brothers can be brought and shown what exactly is Islam and what does it teach.”

“Our country is beautiful—it has given each and every citizen the right to practice and preach whichever religion they choose. But there are some people present in all religions, whose actions give the entire faith a bad name. It must be remembered that the actions of the individual are different and from the actions of the entire faith,” he added.

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Mafazah Sharafuddin
June 1,2021

postcovid.jpg

The pandemic has swept the world in a panic. It has come with the pervading sense of fear and loss, and completely unexpectedly to the common man. Although environmentalists have been predicting a rise in pandemics as a consequence of the same things that caused climate change, to the layman, it arrived out of the blue. 

The pandemic has taken away several things that make us social beings. Physical touch, gatherings, dining together etc. have all gone from being something one does for fun to something that could be potentially fatal.

It does not come as a shock that people all of the globe are suffering during the pandemic. While they are unsure of how much longer this will go on, the spread of the vaccines make people hopeful that it will soon come to an end. 

When the pandemic ends, what will it leave behind?

The anxiety of being

With fatal illness and massive death-tolls, anxiety comes as an almost inevitable companion. The compulsive act of using hand sanitizer after touching anything in public is slowly becoming second nature. 

A US study comparing the number of adults experiencing symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder saw the number raise from 11% in January 2019 to 41.1% in January 2021. It also showed an increase in suicidal ideation and substance use. 

Another unfortunate consequence of the pandemic is a possible rise in agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a specific anxiety disorder. It is defined by a fear of being in part of a public environment or activity from which leaving or escaping is perceived to be difficult. Due to the frequent and persistent lockdowns and the association of danger with being in public spaces, the slip towards agoraphobia is understandable. 

An integral part of the human experience is physical touch. While some may be isolating with family, there are many people all over the world who are living along in the middle of the pandemic. The pandemic may also lead to an increase in ‘touch-starvation’ as the stress relieving hormone, oxytocin, is released through touch.

The prevalence of mental illness after a calamity is not a new phenomenon. The aftermath of war and natural disasters have left people suffering in its wake. This is, however, a calamity of global magnitude. Like the survivors of war, those who come out of this pandemic alive are going to carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

A state of grief 

Aptly dubbed the ‘grief pandemic’ by sociologist Holly Prigerson, the Coronavirus pandemic has taken away many loved ones. Children are left orphaned and parents mourn their children. The elderly are kept under keen watch by their loved ones in fear that they, too, will be taken away. 

Grief and mourning have become an everyday thing since the pandemic showed its full strength. With entire families being wiped out, and crematoriums unable to process the bodies at the rate at which they arrive, we as a society are experiencing death in high definition. 

The processing of is complex. It is made more complex by the situation we are in. the constant anxiety and fear of safety are severely detrimental to the processing of grief. There is no room to process grief in a situation where death is continuous. As of now, we are in a persistent state of grief.

Money matters 

The economic implications of the pandemic have been spoken about often at a global scale. Small businesses have shut down. Daily wage laborers struggle to find jobs with the lockdowns in place. Several people who, before 2020, believed they were secure in their jobs, have been unexpectedly dismissed. 

Survival in the middle of a pandemic, even without getting infected, with no incoming money is precarious. People are dependent of the goodwill of social workers and people who give out food, donations, etc. People are being rendered homeless because they are unable to pay rent. The inability to properly socially distance or isolate, however, increases the risk of infection.

If survival for the poor without getting infected is precarious, surviving COVID is a miracle. They have to combat steep prices for treatment, trouble with transportation, being unable to afford medication and several other issues. 

Not only is getting infected and showing symptoms a death sentence for so many, it comes with the fear that it will bankrupt their family. 

The state the economy is in right now has no quick fixes. There are small scale industries that have suffered in a way they may not recover from. An alarming percentage of medium and small enterprises have faced permanent closure. The recovery of the economy is going to a long, arduous process. 

On a positive note

While the pandemic has been a cause of suffering for people everywhere, the long term social implications of it are not all bad. 

For environmentalists, the pandemic has been proof that there can be no real solution to climate change until bog corporations stop contributing to it. With the common people staying at home most of the time, hugely reducing the amount of fuel used by the public, there has been no huge change in the state of the world. 

While it may always be the socially responsible option to continue to use environmentally friendly options, the onus truly does fall on large corporations to limit their damage before it is unsalvageable. 

It addition to this, curb-side pickups, online learning, work from home etc. have shown that it is possible to do these actions remotely. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities for people with disabilities not only in employment and education, but day to day activities.

When accessibility has been made possible because there is no other way, employers and management of educational institutes can no longer give excuses for their lack of accessibility for disabled employees or students. 

The pandemic may leave behind a more accessible world. 

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Ramesh Mishra
 - 
Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021

COVID-19, PANDEMIC
Has put the world behind at least 25 years but India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, and Nepal 50 years. During the coming 50 years, India would face massive internal conflicts dividing the Provinces. India lacks skilled leaders.

Ramesh Mishra
Victoria BC CANADA

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News Network
June 2,2021

Bengaluru, June 2: All export-oriented businesses in Karnataka will be allowed to operate from Thursday, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said, even as he indicated that strict Covid-19 regulations will continue after June 7, when the current lockdown is scheduled to end. 

“The export-oriented businesses will be allowed from Thursday,” Yediyurappa said. Asked if the lockdown will end, he said: “No, no. We will extend (the lockdown) and take some strict measures.”

He added that he had meetings lined up to discuss what should be done going forward. 

“On the whole, coronavirus has not come under complete control. It’s still high in rural areas,” Yediyurappa said. “Today evening, I’m discussing with everybody. Today or tomorrow, we will take a call (on lockdown). I’m discussing this with senior officials today,” he added. 

He also said that he would announce another Covid-19 relief package “in another two days”. 

The Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended that the lockdown be continued in Karnataka after June 7. The opinion seems divided among Yediyurappa’s Cabinet colleagues.

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News Network
June 15,2021

New Delhi, June 15: The Hajj Committee of India on Tuesday announced that all the applications for the pilgrimage this year stand cancelled as Saudi Arabia has stated that only a limited number of people residing in the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Haj due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a circular, the committee said that the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has issued a statement informing that due to coronavirus pandemic conditions it has decided to allow citizens and residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only to attend Haj this year in limited numbers and international Haj has been cancelled.

"Hence it has been decided by the Haj Committee of India that all the applications for Haj 2021 stands cancelled," the circular signed by Haj Committee of India's Chief Executive Officer Maqsood Ahmed Khan read.

Last year also the government had decided that Muslims from India will not travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj 2020 after the Kingdom conveyed that pilgrims should not be sent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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