After Malegaon Mosque Bombings, Calls for Calm by Indian Imams Heeded

September 14, 2006

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On September 14, 2006 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "The smell of explosives was still lingering in the air when the discussion began. Malegaon's streets had just been seared by three bombs that killed at least 30 people, and as the crowds began to seethe with anger, the city's most revered Muslim leaders gathered to decide what to do. There was little question about the purpose of last week's attack: Malegaon is one of India's few Muslim-majority cities, and the bombs were planted near a mosque on a holy day when thousands of worshipers would come to pray. Yet even before police arrived, the imams had made a choice. They used the loudspeakers of their mosques to spread a blanket of audible calm over the frayed city, imploring patience and forbearance. And for the second time in two months, a bombing apparently designed to ignite Hindu-Muslim riots failed. For a nation whose past has lurched from one riot to another, the response to this summer's bombings in Malegaon and Mumbai (Bombay) is no small shift, suggesting that - at least for the moment - the forces of calm are eclipsing those that would sow chaos."