The Times of India
New Delhi, 29 April, 1995
10. More Space for ‘namaaz’ urged
By Vidyadhar Date
BOMBAY, April 28.
Some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra have proposed that the floor space index (FSI) for mosques in Bombay be increased to accommodate a larger number of people offering namaaz (prayers). This would also help end offering of prayers on the roads outside mosques.*
The offering of namaaz on roads had caused considerable tension in Bombay two years ago with the Shiv Sena and the BJP voicing strong protests and organising maha artis on the roads.
Deputy chief minister and home minister Gopinath Munde is understood to have supported the move for granting higher FSI which would enable the mosques to build additional space in their premises. The Shiv Sena is also not averse to the idea, sources said.
President of the Bombay unit of the BJP Vedprakash Goyal said the move was not aimed at wooing Muslims. The facility could be extended to temples too. In the crowded Kabutarkhana area in Dadar a mosque, a temple and a chapel existed side by side. In such areas there was greater need to provide more space for worshippers.
Former ministers Rafiq Zakaria and Ishaq Jamkhanawala have welcomed the proposal. Mr. Zakaria said: “The Congress government should have taken the decision long ago. The move shows that the BJP and the Sena are sensitive to the requirements of the minorities.”
Mr. Zakaria said steps should be taken to ensure that the FSI facility was not misused for purposes other than religious work. Shops and other commercial establishments should be prevented from being set up. “A committee should be set up to consider the issues which were involved. Some of the mosques were remarkable for their historical and architectural value,” he suggested.
Mr. Muzafar Hussain, a noted Islamic scholar, said: “The Shariat provided for offering namaaz in three shifts when space was limited. However, in some areas in Bombay the mosques were so small that they could not accommodate the devout even in three shifts.”
said according to the basic tenets of Islam, prayers should not be offered
on a public thoroughfare. If it became necessary to use the public premises,
permission of the authorities concerned should be taken. Islam also stressed
the importance of clean surroundings at the place of prayers.
was assumed that Muslims sprawl out on roads for doing namaz simply
because the space within mosques cannot accommodate them. This is a Big
Lie. Sprawling out on public thoroughfares is a part of Muslim aggression
as advocated by their ‘religion’. “Muslims,” says the Hidayah “should
allow the narrowest passage to the Kafirs going on throughfares.” In any
case, why should Hindu taxpayers’ money be spent on widening mosques when
plenty of petro-dollars have been pouring into the country for building
bigger and bigger mosques in which firearms can be stored, and madrasas
in which warriors for Islam can be trained?