Saturday, 27 September 2008

Security concern in mosques this Ramadhan


September 27, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 26: Security has been on the priority list of mosque committees in the city this Muslim holy month of Ramazan with incidents of terror attacks on the rise, of late.
Breaking the religious tradition of avoiding cameras and TVs in holy places, management committees of several mosques in the city have installed closed circuit cameras to keep a tab on the movement of people visiting mosques. At least a dozen mosque committees have gone in for CC TV cameras.
The State government has already installed CC TV cameras in the two mosques under its control, the historic Mecca Masjid near Charminar and the Royal Mosque in Public Gardens at Nampally. Since most of the mosques do not have fixed monthly income, the committees raised special funds as part of the Ramazan drive to set up closed circuit cameras.
"We are also thinking of erecting metal detectors. But the cost involved is too high for us to bear. With great difficulty we could gather money for the CC cameras. Places of worship including mosques have become favourite target spots of terrorists. The best way to prevent attacks is to keep a close watch on those
visiting places of worship. We have also received a communique from the police on the need for high security measures in mosques," said Shabbir Ahmad, custodian of Ibrahim Gulshan mosque at Borabanda in the city.
Religious leaders, who generally oppose photography as part of Muslim tradition, have now endorsed the move by some committees to set up CC TV cameras. "Why should we oppose, when the move is quite good. There are cameras even in the Grand Mosque in Mecca," said Khaleeq Ahmad Saber, general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Andhra Pradesh.
He demanded that the government should provide subsidy to management committees of temples, mosques, churches and Gurudwaras to set up metal detectors and CC TV cameras. "There should not be any police interference. It should be purely on voluntary basis," he said adding that CC TV cameras will expose the real terrorists and save innocent people from police harassment and torture.
"We are unnecessarily being targetted. Muslims themselves are the victims of terrorism in Mecca Masjid and several mosques across the country. Cameras in all places of worship irrespective of religion will help check terrorism and anti-social activities," senior Muslim religious leader Shabbir Naqshbandi told this
correspondent.

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