Destruction of Synagogues in Nazi Germany and Mosques in India
Nazi Destruction of Synagogues
To the Nazis, synagogues served as a powerful physical reminder of the Jewish presence in Germany. In the months before Kristallnacht (the Night of the Broken Glass), synagogues in Munich, Nuremberg, Dortmund, and Kaiserslautern were demolished on the orders of local Nazi party officials. In other German towns, anti-Jewish vandalism became common.
The Night of the Broken Glass was November 9, 1938. The violence became nationwide. It is named after the smashed glass that covered the streets, from the windows of shops and synagogues that had been looted, burnt and vandalized during the attacks. An estimated 267 synagogues were burned or destroyed during the pogrom.
The BJP-RSS Destruction of Mosques
On December 6th, 1992, a large group of the RSS-allied group Vishva Hindu Parishad, led by prominent BJP leaders, demolished the 16th-century Babri mosque based on the unproven claim that it was built on the site of the birthplace of the mythological Hindu God Rama. This was followed by widespread attacks on Muslims all over India, resulting in the death of at least 2,000 people, a majority of whom were Muslims.
In a travesty of justice, a special court acquitted all 32 accused in the illegal demolition of the historic mosque nearly three decades after the incident.146 Additionally, the land was allocated to the very people who destroyed the mosque on their strong belief that it was the
birthplace of Rama, even while the court held that the destruction was illegal.
This is another manifestation of a pliant judiciary under the extremist BJP-RSS regime in which Hindutva ideology takes precedence over all principles of justice and international norms. The court’s verdict stood in stark contrast to the findings of the Union government’s Liberhan Commission, which was constituted to inquire into the demolition.
Hindutva Attacks the Taj Mahal
The BJP-RSS regime is wiping out the Muslim architectural heritage from India. The method is the same as applied to the Babri mosque: First claim that it was a Hindu temple; then attack the mosque; then go to the courts without proof of ownership; then demolish and rebuild a temple in its place. Now an icon of Muslim India, the Taj Mahal, is under attack. A leader of India’s ruling BJP has called for the destruction of this monument of love in Agra to be replaced by a Hindu temple. The stunning white marble mausoleum was built in the 17th century by Mughal King Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in Agra, about 115 miles from the Indian capital, New Delhi. https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/with-itsleaders-taj-mahal-rant-bjp-tests-ground-for-2019-1763867
Militant Hindutva groups often talk about a movement of reclaiming over 3,000 mosques, but specifically mention the Shahi Idgah mosque adjacent to the Hindu Lord Krishna’s temple in Mathura and the Gyanvapi mosque built adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. A prominent BJP minister has remarked that the “white structure” (referring to the mosque in Mathura) “hurts the eyes of every Hindu.”
Gurugram Prayer Spaces, 2021
In Gurugram, the richest suburb of Delhi, Muslims’ congregational Friday prayers were disrupted by Hindutva groups for months in a row. Faced with a shortage of mosques, Gurugram’s Muslims had been offering their Friday prayers in parks and on empty lots for years with approval from the authorities. About 100 such sites were earmarked for the purpose.
Persistent protests by Hindutva groups prompted city officials to withdraw permission from most of the sites. Every Friday as Muslims began to gather for prayers, foot soldiers of several Hindutva outfits turned up at different areas of Gurugram shouting slogans including “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Rama), playing loud devotional music and heckling worshippers; their “success” was measured by the reduction in the number of spots where Muslim prayers were previously allowed.
It should be noted that while Hindutva elements obstructed the Muslim prayers, Hindu rituals such as Durga Puja and Navratri are routinely organized in open public spaces all over India.
Tripura Mosques, 2021
In November 2021, at least 16 mosques were attacked and vandalized in the small northeastern state of Tripura by members of RSS-aligned groups. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated on Twitter, “USCIRF is particularly alarmed about reports from Tripura of mobs desecrating mosques and torching properties of Muslims. The Indian government must bring those responsible for instigating and engaging in religious violence to justice and must prevent further attacks.”