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Lokhandwala Muslims Pray in Batches

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Mumbai: In a move to douse the controversy over Namaz being offered on roads, Muslims in Lokhandwala area of Mumbai’s Andheri are offering prayers in 2-3 batches if there are more people gathered for the purpose. “We are doing this since last 6-7 years. Whenever there are more people gathered for Namaz, especially during the month of Ramadan, we offer prayers in 2-3 batches instead of occupying roads for the purpose”, Sohail Masood of Lokhandwala Masjid said. “Lokhandwala Masjid is located in a market area and offering Namaz on roads would cause inconvenience to the people. So we have decided not to offer Namaz on roads”, Sohail Masood, former employee of Air India who runs an NGO Dhai Akshar headed by his wife, said. The trust works for education and social upliftment of street children.
In yet another important decision taken by the mosque management, they do not use loudspeakers to relay Azaan. “Ever since the establishment of the mosque, we decided that loudspeakers will not be used to relay Azaan”, he said. “Everybody knows the Salah time table. In fact, people gather much before the scheduled time and offer Namaz in the mosque”, Sohail Masood said. Sohail Masood shared this experience at a meeting organised by Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai. Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals gathered under the platform “Indian Muslims for Democracy,” hoped the Lokhandwala Masjid experience is repeated in other parts if possible. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism was founded by Asghar Ali Engineer and is currently being managed by his son, Irfan Engineer.