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Smriti Irani-led rare non-Muslim Indian delegation pays visit to Madina

Courtesy: Geo News

In a rare Riyadh-New Delhi diplomacy, a non-Muslim Indian delegation has been given access to the holy city of Madina

In a rare diplomacy, a non-Muslim Indian delegation has been given access to the holy city of Madina Munawara in Saudi Arabia.

The non-Muslim Indian delegation, led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani, reached Saudi Arabia on Monday to pay a two-day official visit.

The Hindu delegation visited Masjid Nabawi (SAW), Uhud Mountain, Masjid Quba, the first mosque in the world established by the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

There is a total ban on non-Muslims entering Makkah as well as parts of the holy city of Medina. Attempting to enter can result in penalties, including fines or deportation. The Irani-led delegation thus is the first group of non-Muslims to enter the city and visit historic places of Islam.

The Saudi authorities granted special permission for the visit on Irani’s request. V Muraleedharan, Indian minister of state for external affairs and parliamentary affairs, was also in the delegation.

Interestingly, besides Irani, another woman in the delegation was Nirupama Kotru, a Kashmiri Pandit IRS officer posted as joint secretary in the Indian Ministry of Minority Affairs.

The two women in the delegation moved around in Sari and Shalvar-Kameez without covering their heads. Smirti had also worn Bindiya on her forehead. The male state minister had a traditional male Indian outfit of off-white Dhoti and saffron Kurta. Former artist Irani, who played Tulsi in the Indian soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, posted a collage of images of her visit to Madina Munawara on X and wrote:

“Undertook a historic journey to Madinah today, one of Islam’s holiest cities included a visit to the periphery of the revered Prophet’s Mosque, Al Masjid Al Nabwi, the mountain of Uhud, and periphery of the Quba Mosque – the first Mosque of Islam. The significance of the visit to these sites courtesy Saudi officials, intertwined with early Islamic history, underscores the depth of our cultural and spiritual engagement.”

Smriti Z Irani@smritiirani

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