The increasing anti-Muslim tension in India reached new heights on the early hours of Tuesday morning with the senseless murder of a young Muslim teacher named Riyaz. He was hacked to death by a number of unknown assailants. Riyaz had taught at the madrassa next to Muhayuddin Jumma Masjid for eight years.

The case highlights the ongoing tensions between Hindus and Muslims that have reached a near all-time high under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi, who recently secured a crushing victory against his political opponents in the populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Riyaz lived in a room adjacent to the mosque’s khateeb, Abdul Azeez. On the night of the incident, Azeez heard a cry and opened the door to investigate. He was hit by stones and so immediately closed the door and rushed to the mosque through the internal corridor to alert nearby locals. When the locals had gathered, they discovered Riyaz lying in a pool of blood in his room, his throat slit. Riyaz, who was 30 years of age, leaves behind his father, wife and son.

Police are said to be investigating the matter. They have revealed that they suspect the killers are locals, likely numbering two individuals, and came on motorbikes.

To protest the murder, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal (strike/protest) in Kasaragod constituency on Tuesday, resulting in the deployment of heavy police force.

“Though we don’t want to point a finger at anyone, we see this as an attempt to create communal tension in the region and this should be probed,” said IUML leader N A Nellikkunnu.

Tensions in the country have been stoked to this extreme once again largely on the back of the appointment of the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh by Modi, Yogi Adityanath.

He has unashamedly incited violence against Muslims, openly called for India to be enshrined as a “Hindu rashtra” (or Hindu nation); he supports the rebuilding of a temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of a razed 16th-century mosque (a project that was halted after it incited bloody religious riots in the 1990s) and has fuelled debate over religious conversions and inter-religion marriages.

We ask Allah have mercy upon brother Riyaz and to protect the Muslims of India as they enter a tough, new era.

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