New Delhi: Pakistani-Canadian writer Tarek Fatah Friday shared an image purportedly showing a large number of Muslims performing namaaz in the middle of the road, blocking the way for vehicles.
Fatah claimed that the image shows Muslims in India holding Friday prayers by “blocking traffic on a highway”, and said the mass prayer was instead a “demonstration of numbers”.
The Toronto Sun columnist shared the image with the caption, “Blocking traffic on a highway in India to perform Friday prayers. This doesn’t seem to me as a prayer; it’s a demonstration of numbers to intimidate others. Any attempt to ask them to move to designated prayer spaces will be labelled ‘discrimination’.”
His post was liked by over 7,300 people and retweeted more than 2,600 times.
Commenting on his tweet, another Twitter user wrote, “Rules of Namaz says: performing prayers on street/road is disapproved” and also posted an image which stated the “Rules of Namaz: Places where performing prayers is disapproved”.
Rules of Namaz says: performing prayers on street/road is disapproved. pic.twitter.com/LkYLQphrb7
— Aashish Speaks (@AashishVM) December 17, 2021
“What is presently happening is the mixing of religion with politics. This is bad for a cohesive society,” wrote one user.
Another responded, saying, “Not presently, it’s been going on since the time of Neru, it was him who initiated it. (sic)”
What presently happening is the mixing of religion with politics.
This is bad for a cohesive society.
— Ravindranath Nair🇮🇳 (@RavindranathN16) December 17, 2021
Many other Twitter users shared the image with the same caption as Fateh’s. The image was shared widely on Facebook and Whatsapp too.
Fateh shared the image with the same caption on Facebook, but here he said the image is from Bangladesh. His caption read: “Blocking traffic on a highway in Bangladesh to perform Friday prayers. This doesn’t seem to me as a prayer; it’s a demonstration of numbers to intimidate others. Any attempt to ask them to move to designated prayer spaces will be labelled ‘discrimination’.”
His post received 782 shares and 566 comments.
A Facebook with the user name ‘I Support Arnab Goswami’ shared the image, with the same caption, and it was shared by 460 users.
The image was taken in Bangladesh by a photographer called Ratul Dhar during Biswa Ijtema congregation in 2019.
Considered the second largest congregation of Muslims after the Haj, Biswa Ijtema, an annual gathering of Muslims, has been held in a 160 acre space on the bank of the Turag river at Tongi on the outskirts of Dhaka since 1967.
Dhar had posted the image twice on his Instagram profile earlier this year with the caption ‘World Ijtema 2019’ and ‘Bishwa Ijtema of Bangladesh’.
In January last year, Fatah tweeted a video of burqa-clad persons dancing to a Bollywood song and wrote: “Could someone confirm if this video is from the #CAA_NRCProtests at #ShaheenBagh or nor (sic)?”
He shared the post despite the visible hints that the group was dancing around a woman dressed as a bride.