India home to 180 million Muslims

NEW DELHI: Muslims account for 180 million of India’s 1.1 billion people, Indian Deputy National Security Advidor Arvind Gupta announced  on Saturday.

The number was revealed in a meeting between Gupta and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Egyptian grand Imam of al-Azhar and a prominent figure in the Muslim 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.

Similar figures for the number of Indian Muslims were revealed during last year’s general elections, leaving India to stand as the world’s third-largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.

Official figures indicate that Muslims, who make up around 13% of India’s population, are lagging behind in literacy and have complained about job discrimination.

They account for less than 7% of public service employees, only 5% of railways workers, around 4% of banking employees, and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India’s 1.3 million-strong military.

Conditions of the Muslim world and Al-Azhar’s role in dealing with the course of variable events in the Muslim world, came under discussion during the meeting.

Gupta was said to be all praise for Al-Azhar and his efforts in fighting the Islamic State.

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