Srinagar: Right after Mirwaiz Umar Farooq offered prayers in Jamia Masjid – the grand mosque of Srinagar, youth inspired by ideology of Islamic State (IS) entered the mosque and raised pro-ISIS slogans while carrying IS flags.
Mirwaiz, who is also chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and core member of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), has always been considered as a moderate voice of pro-freedom camp in Kashmir.
However, over the years, the downtown area, where Mirwaiz has following, has seen emergence of pro-IS and pro-Zakir Musa youth grabbing the political narrative. Musa is the head of Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind, an Al-Qaeda inspired outfit, which faced a serious blow on 22 December when its six members were killed in a gunfight.
A video that has gone viral on social media shows youth who are five to ten in number raise slogans in favour of the Islamic state. They also wave flags of the IS.
One of the youth stood on the pulpit of the mosque and raised pro-IS slogans. It is the same pulpit from where Mirwaiz delivers his Friday sermons.
Mirwaiz has always denounced ISIS ideology and termed it terrorism. In February 2016, Mirwaiz in a statement had said, “Groups like ISIS, who are promoting terrorism in the name of Islam, in reality have no regard for Islamic teachings and values.”
The Friday act by some youth has garnered mixed reactions on social media with some terming the event as desecration while others praising the act.
Such attempts have been made in past also. In June 2015, similarly after the Friday prayers were over, a group of masked youth carrying a black ISIS flag had appeared in the Jama Masjid area.
Several calls by The Kashmir Walla to reach out to Mirwaiz for his comments were not responded.