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Pray for Bihari Muslims

Ahmed walked to the mosque with his head down but his eyes and ears alert. Only a few weeks ago, the small town in Bihar where he lives was the scene of rioting, as what started as an argument between two men – a Muslim and a Hindu – became a mob, with buildings set on fire and families terrorised.

During the riot, Ahmed’s bike was stolen and the windows on his house were broken. He did not go to the police, for fear of being arrested himself. His family has lived in this town for four generations and Ahmed wonders how his neighbors have become his enemies.

BBC web story madrassa

Read more: The 113-year-old India library torched in a riot

Bihar is a state in Eastern India with a significant Muslim population. Muslims in Bihar are primarily descendants of migrants from Central Asia, Persia, and Afghanistan who arrived in the region during the 12th century. They are a significant minority community
in the state, making up about 16% of the state’s population. Almost all the rest are Hindus.

Bihari culture is a mix of Islamic religious traditions and Hindu cultural traditions. Many Bihari Muslims observe religious festivals which are celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims. Several Muslim shrines and mosques in Bihar are also revered by both the communities.

See also  Pray for Kolkata, India
Women from a village in Gaya (a district in the state of Bihar, India), are seen sitting in a circle, attending a community meeting.
Women from a village in Gaya in Bihar, India are attending a community meeting | photo by UN Women Asia Pacific, Flickr CC

But despite their shared history and traditions, Bihari Muslims face a great deal of discrimination. Hindu nationalism has been on the rise in India, and the Muslim minority has been targeted by extremists, sometimes with violent attacks. This leads to tension in villages and towns where Muslims and Hindus have lived side-by-side for generations, as well as a sense of fear among the minority Bihari Muslims.

How to Pray

  • Pray for peace in Bihar, and for Muslims and Hindus to live together with respect for one another.
  • Pray for many Muslims – and Hindus – in Bihar to come to faith in Jesus and work together for the benefit of their community.
  • There are very few Christians in Bihar. Pray that they can be a bridge for Hindu-Muslim reconciliation.
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