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Indian Origin Muslim is in charge of security at the Hindu temple at Indianapolis in US

He says that it all started when he married his daughter to a Telugu boy at that Hindu temple

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  • Lt Javed Khan from the local police department is now the director of security at the Hindu temple in Indianapolis
  • Khan is now at the temple every Sunday and some Friday nights and when required
  • The temple is one of the prominent cultural centres in the city, with hundreds of people visiting it daily

Setting an example of inter- faith cooperation and a social harmony, a Muslim police officer in Indianapolis takes up charge of the security of a Hindu temple in Indianapolis, US. A Muslim protecting a temple sends a strong message of harmony and peace especially during these times of religious intolerance and terrorism in the name of God.

Lt Javed Khan from the local police department is now the director of security at the Hindu temple in Indianapolis. He is an eight-degree black-belt in Taekwondo and a kickboxing champion and has over twenty years of experience in martial arts training. He has trained several military personnel, police officers, film stars, and models and is also the creator of several self-defense programs, mentioned the Deccan herald.com report on July 24.

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Khan, who was born in Mumbai and raised in Lonavla, Pune, had been coming to the US since 1986 for participating in the various martial arts championship. He migrated to the United States in 2000 and settled in Indiana, a year later.

Image Source: rediff.com
Lt Javed Khan. Image Source: rediff.com

According to the Deccan herald.com report, Khan believes in religious equality and says that what he is doing is his duty and isn’t something extraordinary or special. “We are Indians. Half my family is Hindu. I do not believe in the Hindu-Muslim thing,” he tells The Press Trust of India (PTI) in a phone interview from Indianapolis. “My message is this; we are all one. We are all the children of God. There is only one God and then there are different forms and names, we choose to worship.”

Khan is now at the temple every Sunday and some Friday nights and when required. He says that it all started when he married his daughter to a Telugu boy at that Hindu temple. He started to get to know people at the temple and felt that there was a need for its protection.

He says,” I offered my services. I am director of security for the temple now. While the temple has been in existence for the past several years, its formal opening ceremony — Kumbhabhishekam — was held last year, which was attended by top state leaders.”

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The temple is one of the prominent cultural centres in the city, with hundreds of people visiting it daily. Many top state leaders and other well-known personalities attend the special ceremonies held at the temple. Mike Pence who is now the vice presidential candidate of the Republican party was the Governor of Indiana and last year had said in a message that the Hindu place of worship would uplift its people and enrich the cultural heritage of the state.

“Your place of worship adds another significant landmark to the city of Indianapolis and I am certain that it will play a key role in enriching the cultural heritage of our state, as well as, the learning and spiritual growth of its devotees and visitors,” he said in June last year during the formal opening of the temple that was built at an estimated cost of USD 10 million.
He is considered by many visitors to the temple as a Hindu and Khan says that the temple and its pleasant atmosphere makes him feel as if he had never left India. “We have some great people here. People are nice,” says Khan to PTI.

Mr Ravi Pattar, the chairman of the temple Board of Trustees says that Khan, who has been deputed by the police department, provides security during major events and on the weekends

“This is very refreshing. He takes a very keen interest in providing security to the temple,” said Dr Mohan Razdan, a renowned Indian-American who played a key role in the construction of the temple. He also adds that Javed Khan is well known among the devotees and is respected by all.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Pakistan Reacts Sharply To U.S. Religious Freedom Charges

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused

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Pakistan
A Pakistani nun holds a candle during a vigil for victims of a deadly suicide bombing in a park, March 28, 2016, in Lahore. VOA

Pakistan is denouncing a U.S. decision to place it on a list of countries Washington says are the worst offenders of religious freedom.

“Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities… there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise,” the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a strongly-worded statement.

The reaction comes a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his designation of “countries of particular concern” that allegedly have engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Freedom Violations

The countries on the blacklist are exposed to punitive sanctions, but Pompeo waived them for Pakistan, citing U.S. national interests.

Pakistan had until now been on a U.S. watch list for governments that have “engaged in or tolerated” severe violations of religious freedom.

Pakistan
Pakistani volunteers collect debris from an Ahmadi mosque demolished by an angry mob, in the eastern city of Sialkot. VOA

While rebuking Tuesday’s U.S. pronouncement as “unilateral and politically motivated,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry noted Pakistan is “a multi-religious and pluralistic society” of more than 200 million people, mostly Muslims.

“Around four percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths. Ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan,” it said.

Ahmadis most persecuted community

The statement did not mention the Ahmadi sect, which critics say is the most persecuted minority in Pakistan. The constitution bars the community from “posing as Muslims” and from calling their worship places “mosques.”

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback while defending downgrading of Pakistan reiterated Tuesday the challenges facing the Ahmadi community.

USA, Pakistan
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington. VOA

“The Pakistani government criminalizes the identification of Ahmadis as Muslims, and then also — and this one has really been difficult and troubling for a lot of people — the government often fails to hold accountable perpetrators of killings and violence against members of religious minorities targeted on account of their religious beliefs or affiliations,” said Brownback.

Blasphemy laws

He cited, among other things, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as a cause for the downgrade of the country’s religious freedom ranking. The laws prescribe the death penalty for those found guilty.

Rights groups have long complained Islamist groups misuse the law to intimidate minorities in the country.

Insulting Islam or its prophet is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where mere allegations have led to mob lynchings. A former provincial governor, a federal minister, judges and lawyers are among those assassinated in Pakistan by extremists merely for calling for reform of the blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse or for hearing cases and defending alleged blasphemers.

Asia Bibi

In a historic judgement this past October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been on death row for eight years after being convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammad. The women denied the charges from the outset as an outcome of a local feud and the country’s highest court cited lack of evidence in overturning her conviction by a lower court.

Pakistan
Radical Islamists rally to condemn a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Bibi and her family have been in hiding since her release. Her lawyer fled Pakistan shortly after the landmark court ruling announced on October 31, saying his life was in danger.

Bibi is awaiting a rehearing of her case by the Supreme Court and is residing in a safe place under government protection, say Pakistani officials.

Pakistan also arrested hundreds of Islamist activists and their leaders last month for staging days of mass violent protests to denounce the court for freeing Bibi.

Also Read: Muslims in Malaysia Rally In Kuala Lumpur To Keep Status

The government has charged the detainees with treason and terrorism and officials have vowed to put them on trial in special courts.

“It’s our hope that they will, the new leadership in Pakistan, will work to improve the situation. There was some encouraging signs seen recently on how they’ve handled some of the recent protesting against the blasphemy laws, and we continue to watch very carefully what’s happening to Asia Bibi,” said Brownback.

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused of committing severe violations of religious freedom. (VOA)