2022 – The attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul, according to the Islamic state, is retaliation for insulting the Prophet.

Islamic State in Khorasan said on its Telegram channel that Saturday’s attack was an “act of revenge” after insults to the Prophet Muhammad by members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Nupur Sharma, the party’s spokeswoman, had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during a panel discussion on a news channel, and her comments allegedly came after anti-Islam comments by another party leader on Twitter.

Kabul police reported that seven armed men tried to storm the temple in the early hours of Saturday morning and all were killed after a standoff that lasted several hours.

In a telegram, ISIS said that the suicide bomber, Abu Muhammad al-Tajik, managed to reach the temple by throwing a grenade at the security guard at the entrance, killing him.

“He was armed with a rifle, a pistol and hand grenades, and he kept shooting,” said believers inside the structure, according to the Islamic State in Khorasan.

A temple official said there were 30 people in the temple at the time.

ISIS Khorasan also claimed that its members clashed with fighters from the Taliban government who tried to reach the temple and attacked them with a car bomb and four other explosive devices.

It said that the clashes between ISIS fighters in Khorasan and the Taliban lasted three hours and resulted in the death of the Tajik suicide bomber.

“The IE [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] Strongly condemns the attacks by the enemies of the Afghan people on the Hindu shrine in Kabul. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter, referring to the Sikh temple, that the International Energy Agency offers its condolences to the families of the victims and confirms that serious measures are taken to identify and punish the perpetrators of this crime.

anger grows

Afghanistan, once home to tens of thousands of Sikhs and Hindus, has seen numerous attacks on religious minorities since the Taliban took control of the country in 2021 after US forces left.

Last year, ISIS called for another attack against the Sikh sect, killing more than two dozen people at another temple in Kabul.

Saturday’s attack comes amid growing anger in the Muslim world toward India over comments by BJP members, and New Delhi is struggling to stem diplomatic fallout from Muslim-majority countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Oman and Iraq.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the latest attack and called on Twitter to “protect all minorities in Afghanistan, including Sikhs, Hazaras and Sufis.”

The EU ambassador to Afghanistan also condemned the attack, saying: “Religious (and ethnic) pluralism must be protected with all our might.”

India’s foreign ministry said it was “deeply concerned by reports from Kabul of an attack on the sacred gurdwara in that city”.

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