Online petition launched demanding activist Faisal Khan’s release

Khan had been arrested for offering namaz within the premises of a Mathura temple

Faisal Khan

An online petition has been launched demanding the immediate release of peace activist Faisal Khan who had been arrested for offering namaz or a traditional Muslim prayer inside the premises of the Nand Baba temple in Mathura.

Khan along with a few other members of the group Khudai Khidmatgar was on a five-day tour of the Brij region of Uttar Pradesh as a part of an inter-faith harmony building exercise. On October 30, the group visited the Nand Baba temple. The petition that has been launched on, says, “When it was time for the midday namaz (Muslim prayer), Faisal was going to pray outside, but the priest invited him to pray right there in the temple. Faisal and one of his associates, Chand Mohammed, prayed in the temple compound.” However, the display of communal harmony appeared to have backfired a few days later.

“Unfortunately four days later, Faisal Khan was arrested in Delhi and jailed in Mathura, UP. The same priest that had invited Faisal to pray had filed the FIR (police complaint). The charges against Faisal are two-fold: 1) conducting Muslim prayers in a Hindu temple withut permission and with intent to create community disharmony; and 2) creating Khudai Khidmatgar as a pretext for raising funds from foreign sources for nefarious activities,” says the petition.

Highlighting Faisal Khan’s unwavering commitment to secularism and long track record of working towards building communal harmony, the petition says, “Faisal Khan is a Gandhian activist. He is the National Convener of Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) India. Khudai Khidmatgar is an organisation and movement started by nonviolent peace activist and freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Badshah Khan and Frontier Gandhi. Faisal revived this movement for peace and interfaith harmony in 2011.” The petition further says, “He has been associated with the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) for the past 15 years, working for communal harmony and people’s empowerment. He is an executive committee member of Socialist Party (India). He has helped establish Sabka Ghar (The People’s House) in Delhi and Kanyakumari, dedicated to all those killed in the name of Religion, Caste, Gender, Race and Boundaries. Faisal is also a member of the Advisory Board of Hindus for Human Rights.”

The petition asserts, “Faisal Khan devotes his life to building and promoting interfaith peace and harmony and spreading the message of love. He is carrying on the legacy of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. To accuse such a man of creating communal disharmony is meaningless and absurd. He prayed in the temple only at the invitation of the priest.”

It further clarifies, “Khudai Khidmatgar was incorporated legally as a Trust in 2011, and all their legal papers are intact. Khudai Khidmatgar does not have FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 1976) status required for accepting funding from foreign sources. Therefore, not a penny has been received by Khudai Khidmatgar from any foreign source.”

The petition has been launched by Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a US based civil-liberties advocacy group that is committed to the ideals of multi-religious pluralism both in the United States and India. 

The entire petition may be viewed here.



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Two different prayers, two different responses from UP Police!
Faisal Khan’s commitment to communal harmony and peace is exemplary
We stand with Faisal Khan and his work for love and harmony: ANHAD
Faisal Khan was asked to offer namaz in the temple: Khudai Khidmatgar



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