India

Irrfan Khan: Bollywood actor criticised over Islam remarks

Indian actor Irrfan Khan speaks to the media next to his son Aayan at the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on June 19, 2016, on Father's Day. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Irrfan Khan is known for his roles in The Namesake and Slumdog Millionaire

Muslim clerics have criticised Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan over comments he made about the practice of animal sacrifice in Islam.

Khan on Thursday said that "we perform these rituals without knowing the meaning behind them".

Clerics advised the Muslim actor to "concentrate on his film career" and refrain from "making random statements about our religion".

The actor is known for his roles in The Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire.

"The meaning of qurbani (religious practice of sacrificing animals) is to sacrifice something which is close to you instead of any goat or sheep which you just buy to sacrifice," Khan told the Deccan Herald.

Many Muslims over the world sacrifice animals to mark Eid al-Adha, one of the two most important Islamic festivals.

The actor also commented on fasting observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

"Rather than fasting during Ramadan, people should self-introspect. Animals are being slaughtered in the name of qurbaani during Muharram [a Shia religious event]. We, Muslims, have made a mockery of Muharram. It is meant for mourning and what we do? Take out processions," he said.

Wahid Khatri of the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, one of India's leading Islamic organisations, told the India Today website that the actor had made such statements "for the publicity of his upcoming movie".

Sher Qazi Khalid Usmani, another cleric, said the the actor "should keep his mouth shut as he has no knowledge about the religion".

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