Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bomb blasts: Why did terrorists choose the historic Mecca Masjid

By Syed Akbare
Hyderabad, May 19: Terrorists have chosen the historic Mecca Masjid
for the Friday's bomb blast for the simple reason that the mosque has
been linked to the sentiments of Hyderabadis.
For the 25 lakh Muslims of Hyderabad, Mecca Masjid is more than a
mosque. It is a sacred place of high reverence and the mosque of their
aspirations. And for the people of Andhra Pradesh, irrespective of their
religion, the 400-year-old Mecca Masjid is a historical monument of
great eminence.
Terrorists know well that anything sacrilegious at the mosque will
arouse the emotions of people and lead to communal disturbances in
the city. Moreover, Mecca Masjid has always been the focal point of
communal trouble in the city. The mosque has open access and there's
no security mechanism.
Mecca Masjid is one of the seven wonders of Hyderabad and the
biggest mosque down the Vindhyas. Only the other historic Jama
Masjid in Delhi is bigger than Mecca Masjid. Incidentally, the Jama
Masjid was built by Emperor Shahjahan while the Mecca Masjid was
completed by his son Emperor Aurangzeb.
"The Mecca Masjid was selected as the target site as the casualties will
be higher. It is the principal mosque in twin cites and devout Muslims
generally prefer to offer the Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid. Even
those who come from outside straightaway visit the grand mosque for
the Friday congregation. The mosque harbours the holy relics of
Prophet Muhammad, besides a black stone (Sang-e-Siya) specially
brought from Mecca during the mosque construction," observes senior
Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujat Hussain.
A peep into the past shows that Mecca Masjid was the "starting point"
for almost every "retaliatory" step by local Muslim youths. The mosque
has emerged as the centre of protests particularly after the demolition
of the historic Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992.
"Though the mosque is controlled by the State government's minorities
welfare department, officials have always failed to maintain its sanctity
when it comes to controlling violent protests by some misguided
elements everytime a major incident related to Muslims or Islam takes
place around the globe. The mosque has an open access. Erection of
metal detectors outside the mosque and thorough frisking of people
visiting it will prevent such incidents," points out All-India Shia Youth
Organisation general secretary Mir Hadi Ali.

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