India Attacks Haven't Led to More Violence

December 7, 2008

Author: Siddharth Philip

Source: USA Today

When Hakim Iqbal goes to the mosque today to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, he will wear a black armband — a sign of solidarity with Mumbai's Hindus and Christians after the terrorist attacks on this city that left 171 dead.

Nearly two weeks after Islamic terrorists rampaged through the heart of India's commercial capital, this city of 19 million has resisted the temptation to descend again into violence between Hindus and Muslims.

Muslims are a minority in India, which has the world's third-largest Muslim population — behind Indonesia and Pakistan.

"These people kill, maim and destroy a city, speaking in the name of Islam," says Iqbal, who hauls handcarts along Mumbai's teeming streets. "They kill Muslims, Hindus and Christians alike. Who says they are fighting for me? The three days that Mumbai was under siege meant that I could not feed my family."

Mumbai has a history of religious bloodletting. In December 1992 and January 1993, riots left hundreds dead in Mumbai after Hindu nationalists demolished a 16th-century mosque. In March 1993, a series of coordinated bombings killed 257 people in retaliation for Muslim deaths in the riots.

But last week, tens of thousands of Mumbai residents marched for peace through the Gateway of India — next to the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the iconic hotel where terrorists took hostages and gunned down guests and workers.