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Germany expresses concern over India's detention of Muslim journalist

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Germany has expressed concern over India's detention of Muslim journalist Mohammed Zubair, saying that the importance of press freedom "also applies to India."

"Free reporting is beneficial to any society and restrictions are a cause for concern," German foreign ministry spokesman Christian Wagner said during a press conference.

"Journalists should not be persecuted and imprisoned for what they say and write," Wagner said, adding that the German embassy in India was "monitoring this very closely."

He added that Germany would work with its EU partners on the ground, incorporating the issue in their ongoing dialogue with India.

Zubair was arrested in India's capital city of New Delhi on June 27 for a 2018 tweet that allegedly hurt religious sentiments. He is accused of violating the country's law on religious harmony.

The Muslim journalist is the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News and has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Zubair also routinely calls out hate speech by Hindu fringe groups on the internet and writes about the marginalization of India's Muslim minority, the German news agency Deutsche Welle pointed out.

Mohammed Zubair has long been in the crosshairs of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for his organization's relentless debunking of fake news and false claims mostly pushed by India's Hindu supremacist groups, Al Jazeera said.

Last month, Prime Minister Modi's extreme right government faced one of its worst diplomatic crises in recent years after two BJP officials made derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha.

More than a dozen Muslim nations, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members with whom New Delhi has strong ties, condemned the remarks and demanded an apology, forcing the BJP to issue a rare statement saying it "respects all religions".

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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