The St Thomas Church, popularly known as Marthoma Cheriapally, a local church at Kothamangalam in the Ernakulam district of Kerala threw open its doors for thousands of Muslim Namazis to offer Namaz at its premises on Saturday last week while they were in a protest march against the legislation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the central government.
Mathew Kuzhalnadan, the Youth Congress leader and All India Professional Congress state president (Kerala) had approached the church authorities seeking their permission to allow the namaz at the church premises. According to Kuzhalnadan, the church authorities were more than happy to grant him the approval to organise namaz at the church.
During the 10-KM long march against the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act which started from Muvattupuzha and ended at Kothamangalam, thousands of Muslim protestors halted at the church to offer their namaz.
The vicar of the church, Father Jose Parathuvayalil has been a place of worship for not just Christian but members of other communities as well. However, he added that it was the first time that the Church got an opportunity to host Muslims for their namaz prayers. It was a significant moment for all of us to underscore the prevailing communal harmony, he said.
The son of the Indian Union Muslim League’s former state president Panakkadu Sayyid Muhammed Ali Shihab Thangal, Sayyid Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal, who led the namaz to the church took to the social media to hail the church’s gesture of allowing Muslims to offer their namaz within their church premises. He also added that the church vicar himself provided water for the Muslim believers to perform the ablution- “Wudhu”.