Days after he met eminent people from the Muslim community, together with former chief election commissioner S Y Qureshi and former Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung on the RSS headquarters right here, Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday visited Masjid Kasturba Gandhi Marg, headquarters of the All India Imams Organisation (AIIO), and met its chief, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, who referred to as Bhagwat “rashtra pita (father of the nation)”.
Whereas Ilyasi stated they “meet typically’’, RSS insiders stated the assembly materialised as a result of each side “felt the necessity for a dialogue’’. Sources stated this want for a dialogue has led to Bhagwat’s “elevated conferences’’ with the Muslim group.
The AIIO claims to characterize half-a-million imams throughout 3 lakh mosques in India. It additionally claims to be the “largest Muslim organisation in India”.
Ilyasi stated, “It was an important honour for us that Bhagwat-ji got here for tea within the morning…. Woh hamare rashtra pita hai aur desh ke rashtriya rishi hai (he’s father of the nation and India’s chief saint).”
Requested whether or not issues of the group, and points reminiscent of a survey by the UP authorities on madrasas or the Gyanvapi mosque matter, amongst others, had been mentioned, Ilyasi stated, “Why ought to we deal with the negatives? We should always not deal with the fights (controversies), however as an alternative deal with creating concord between totally different communities, and the love that exists.’’
In a press release, RSS prachar pramukh (communications head) Sunil Ambekar stated, “Sarsanghachalak meets individuals from all walks of life. It is part of the continual basic ‘Samvad’ (dialogue) course of.”
Not divulging particulars of what transpired within the assembly, which lasted about 90 minutes, Ilyasi, who turned the chief imam of AIIO in 2009, stated: “We had just one intention behind the assembly — to encourage love and concord, and strengthen the connection between each communities. Our strategies of worship might differ, and so might our faith, however the greatest faith of all is that we’re all Indians. Woh paigam-e-mohabbat laye (he introduced the message of affection) — not only for imams or Muslims, however for all Indians.”
Ilyasi is not any stranger to conferences with members of the ruling dispensation. He has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a number of events, after their first assembly in 2018, and likewise met Residence Minister Amit Shah. Ilyasi has additionally had conferences with religious leaders reminiscent of Jagadish Vasudev (Sadhguru) and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, amongst others.
The RSS, a supply within the Sangh stated, has been reaching out to the Muslim group since 2002, so there’s “nothing new” on this assembly. “What you’re seeing now’s the impression of 20 years of labor. In fact, each RSS and Muslim organisations really feel the necessity for a dialogue extra now, which is why we’re seeing elevated conferences by the RSS chief,” the supply in RSS stated.
The Muslim Rashtriya Manch was launched after the 2002 Gujarat riots underneath the steerage of then RSS chief Okay S Sudarshan with an goal to achieve out to the minority group.
Ilyasi stated, “On July 23, we performed a workshop through which roughly a thousand Muslim representatives participated, and all of them acknowledged that that they had Hindu roots. In July final yr, Bhagwat-ji had identified that the DNA of all individuals dwelling in India is similar, forwarding the idea of 1 India, one individuals. When issues come up, then dialogue is the one strategy to resolve them. Except you meet, how will you resolve points?”
Whereas Ilyasi didn’t say something about having mentioned points affecting the minority group, the AIIO web site does level to a few of these points, together with under-representation of the group, its backwardness, illiteracy, and “unequal distribution of wealth”.
The web site says: “None can deny that Muslims, the most important minority and the second greatest majority, in India are additionally going through such a scenario. Muslims usually do really feel that they don’t seem to be getting correct illustration within the respective spheres…on one hand sure vested pursuits are attempting to seize their non secular locations and however they don’t seem to be getting a possibility of equal participation within the means of improvement.’’
The web site additionally claims that authorities establishments, organisations and authorities haven’t been equally considered to Muslims, and have been the first purpose for Muslims not getting their due.
On different Muslim organisations, the AIIO says on its web site, “…varied organisations are at work to propagate fundamental tenets of Islam and they’re placing of their greatest efforts to perform their goals, however to our nice disappointment, we do not need any widespread platform. We’re criticising one another and discovering faults simply to justify our respective existence. We’re having variety as an alternative of unity…”