11/13/2018, 12.18
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Agra, forbidden to pray in the Taj Mahal mosque for 'security reasons'

The order was issued by the Archaeological Department, appointed by the government. Muslims living in the area are allowed to participate only in Friday prayers; total restriction for all other visitors.

Agra (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Archaeological Survey of India, (Asi) has banned prayers in the square of the Taj Mahal mosque for "security reasons", arousing the irritation of the local Muslim community. For years faithful have gathered in the square in front of the mosque, to the left of the famous Islamic mausoleum dedicated to the eternal love .

The Asi is a governmental research institute, which deals with the conservation of the artistic heritage of the country. On 5 November it decided that for Muslims living in the area could gather in prayer only on Friday (holy day for Islam); all other visitors are banned, even those who pay the admission ticket are only allowed to observe the nawaz (Islamic prayer).

The ban has offended Muslim faithful and the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind group has announced that it will challenge the decision in the courts. Imam Azher points out that most of those who pray in the mosque are residents of the Tajgani neighborhood, about 500 meters away, and have small shops around the complex.

The famous white marble mausoleum of Agra (Uttar Pradesh) dates back to 1632 and was built by Emperor Shah Jahan to guard the remains of his favorite Mumtaz Mahal. It is considered a masterpiece of Muslim art in India. In 1983 UNESCO included it among the World Heritage monuments; since 2007 it is part of the seven wonders of the world. Recently it returned to the news for some controversial decisions of the chief minister Yogi Adityanath: in October 2017 his Bjp Hindu nationalist government (Bharatiya Janata Party) decided to eliminate it from the state tourist guides; later, after being overwhelmed by criticism, the guru withdrew his decision; in January 2018 he established a "closed number" of visitors to save the Taj Mahal from damage and wear.

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