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Ujjain: Muslims protest Afsar Khan over a social media post depicting namazis praying during Muharram as pigs

A Muslim youth posted an offensive post against Shias celebrating Muharram, depicting namazis replaced with a pig's snout while they were praying was shared online.

Outrage swept Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh after members of the Muslim community took to the streets protesting against an offensive post made against namazis who offer prayer during Muharram, an Islamic festival chiefly followed by the Shia sect of Islam. The youth reportedly depicted Namazis with “pig” faces during Muharram in his post, sparking outrage.

Upset community members surrounded the Kotwali police station late Sunday night, demanding action against the person who posted the offensive content. The Muslim community members stayed at the police station for a long time and also chanted slogans against the youth.

According to the information received, Arshad Khan, son of Sattar Khan and resident of Maniharbadi, arrived at the Kotwali police station with members of the Muslim community and filed a complaint. He reported that Pappu, also known as Afsar, son of Sardar Khan, had made an offensive post on social media.

The complaint stated that the young man made an online post with faces of namazis replaced with a pig’s snout while they were praying. The status read that people celebrate during Muharram, and their prayers and faces are like this. This post caused outrage among the Muslim community. In response, the Kotwali police have registered a case against Pappu, also known as Afsar Khan, for the offensive post.

The offensive post and the subsequent outrage bring forth the divide between two major Muslim sects: Sunni and Shia. While the Sunnis don’t consider Shias to be true Muslims, the Shias, in turn, don’t consider Sunnis to be true Muslims.

Out of these 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, approximately 85% are Sunni and 15% are Shia. Although both sects share many fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam, they differ in doctrine, law, rituals, and religious organisations.

The main distinction between them concerns their views on the rightful successor to Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that the caliphate should be decided by consensus, whereas Shias believe it should be inherited through Prophet Muhammad’s bloodline, particularly through his cousin Ali and his descendants.

The group that became known as the Sunni sect prevailed and chose the Prophet’s close friend, Abu Bakr, as his successor and the first caliph of Islam. The other group, which wanted the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, to succeed him, became known as the Shia sect.

Ali became the fourth caliph of Islam only after two successors of Abu Bakr were assassinated. In 661 A.D., Ali was assassinated with a poison-laced sword in a mosque in Kufa (present-day Iraq) amid the escalating power struggle between the two sects.

Ali’s sons, Hasan and Hussein, succeeded him, but Hussein and his relatives were massacred in the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D. in Iraq. This event is mourned annually by the Shia community during Muharram.

Sunnis, on the other hand, believe they are the true followers of the Sunnah and regard the first three caliphs of Islam as rightly guided. The last caliphate ended with the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

The divide between the two sects often manifests itself, especially during Muharram, in the form of violence as witnessed in Ujjain over a post targeting those who followed the Shia sect.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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