India and its 180 million Muslims

SHAFAQNA - An Indian official has revealed that the Asian peninsular country is home to more than 180 million Muslim population.

The number was revealed by Indian Deputy National Security Advisor Dr Arvind Gupta in a meeting last Tuesday with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb who holds the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world.

“Al-Azhar is an international institution, respected by the whole world, and we are interested to cooperate with it and to learn about its vision to counter extremism and terrorism,” Gupta was quoted as saying by the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) on Wednesday, July 29.

During the meeting, both leaders reviewed the conditions of the Islamic world, especially the role of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in dealing with the course of variable events in the Muslim world,” said a statement by Al-Azhar.

Dr Gupta praised Al-Azhar efforts in fighting the militant group ISIL.

Similar figures for the number of Indian Muslims were revealed during last year’s general elections.

According to several media reports, Muslims account for 180 million of India’s 1.1 billion people, the world’s third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

Muslims have long complained of being discriminated against in all walks of life in Hindu-majority India.

Official figures indicate that Muslims, who make up around 13 percent of India’s population, are lagging behind in literacy.

Muslims also complain of being discriminated against in jobs.

They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees, and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India’s 1.3 million-strong military.

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