On June 30, Jamia Ashrafia, an Islamic religious educational institution in Lahore, issued a declaration banning the construction of religious places for religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and other non-Muslim faith groups in Pakistan.
The declaration stated, “In Pakistan, an Islamic state, existing places of worship of non-Muslims could exist and could be maintained. However, according to Islamic law of Shaira, renovation of ruined places of worship or construction of new is unlawful.”
The decree has been issued following the start of construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad. The groundbreaking ceremony for the temple took place on June 23.
On June 30, Justice Aamer Farroq of the Islamabad High Court rejected a plea of a stay order seeking to stop the construction of the temple.
“Construction of a new temple in Islamabad is against the spirit of Islam. It is an insult to the state of Madina,” Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Pervaiz Elahi, declaired. “We do not oppose the rights of religious minorities. They should renovate existing temples, however, construction of a new temple, particularly in Islamabad, is against Islam. This country came into being in the name of Islam. Such things should not be allowed.”
Since the groundbreaking ceremony of the temple in Islamabad, hardliner Muslims have opposed providing space to religious minorities. Dozens of posts on social media have criticized the decision of the Islamabad High Court. Construction of this temple was approved in 2017, however, it was delayed due to hurdles put in place by the local administration.