Nine people were hurt, one seriously, following two explosions within the ancient Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, India. The blasts occurred soon after Friday prayers had ended and were near a pond used by worshippers. They were reportedly caused by explosive devices, consisting of easily available chemicals within plastic-wrapped tin containers. There was a stampede as people fled the scene, and more rushed in from surrounding areas. A large police force has been deployed and movements in the area restricted. (Note: There is already a Wikipedia article on the blasts)
“The second blast went off as people were helping those injured and if this is not a terror attack then what is?” Imam Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of the Mosque said. “There is anger among our people but I am appealing to them to maintain calm.”
There were about a thousand people at the mosque on the first Friday after Prophet Mohammed’s birthday and also the first Friday after the South Park episode “Cartoon Wars” which paid tribute to the hit series Family Guy, and took on the Muhammad cartoons issue, featuring Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s response. The episode did not actually show Muhammad. Instead, the actual footage of Muhammad is replaced in the South Park episode with a black screen showing only centered, small, white print reading, “In this shot, Muhammad hands a football helmet to Family Guy,” and successively, “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Muhammad on their network.”. This is apparently true, and the network did indeed censor the show.
The mosque, the Masjid-i Jahan Numa, or “the mosque commanding a view of the world” was commissioned in 1656 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It stands on a hill called Bho Jhala at a distance of about 500m west of the Red Fort. The red sandstone and marble mosque has a grand courtyard which can hold more than 20,000 worshippers. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had offered to pay for repairs of the mosque on his visit to India earlier this year.
The city is calm as political and religious leaders have promised to track down the perpetrators while raising alert levels across the country. The blasts come a month after bomb blasts in the city of Varanasi, considered holy by Hindus.