Mohan Bhagwat is 'rashtra pita', says Imam organisation head after meeting RSS chief at mosque
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat visited a mosque in central Delhi's Kasturba Gandhi Marg on Thursday and followed it up with a visit to the Madarsa Tajweedul Quran in Azadpur in the nation's capital.
As part of his outreach to the Muslim community, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday visited a mosque and a madrassa in New Delhi. He also held discussions with the All India Imam Organisation Chief Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, who termed Bhagwat 'rashtra pita'.
The RSS 'sarsangchalak' went to a mosque in central Delhi's Kasturba Gandhi Marg and followed it up with a visit to the Madarsa Tajweedul Quran in Azadpur in north Delhi. This is the first time he has visited a madrassa, an RSS official accompanying him said.
Bhagwat interacted with kids at the madrassa and heard them reciting verses from the Quran. A Sangh official, who accompanied the RSS chief, stated that the children raised the slogans of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Jai Hind'. The RSS chief also emphasised to the kids the importance of learning more about the country and the need to respect all religions, regardless of how they are practised.
All India Imam Organisation chief Umer Ahmed Ilyasi used the 'rashtra pita' descriptive for Bhagwat while talking to children at the madrassa. However, Bhagwat intervened to say there is only one father of the nation and said everyone is 'Bharat ki santan' (child of the nation), according to the RSS official.
The All India Imam Organization, which asserts to be the largest imam organisation in the world, speaks for the community of Indian imams. At the mosque, which also serves as the home of the cleric and the office of the All India Imam Organization, Ilyasi and Bhagwat spoke for almost one hour.
"He is a 'rashtra pita'. We discussed several issues for strengthening the country," Ilyasi told PTI, adding that Bhagwat had visited the mosque and madrassa at his invitation.
"With this visit of Bhagwat, a message should go that we all want to work towards strengthening India. For all of us, the nation comes first. Our DNA is the same. It is just that our religion and methods of worshipping god are different," Ilyasi said, echoing the RSS chief's words.
Senior Sangh officials, including joint general secretary Krishna Gopal and supporter of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch Indresh Kumar, followed Bhagwat.
In a statement after the visits, RSS Prachar Pramukh Sunil Ambekar said, "Sarsanghachalak meets people from all walks of life. It is a part of the continuous general 'Samvad' process."
The significant visits by the head of the BJP's ideological mentor came on a day multiple probe agencies conducted raids across the country and arrested more than 100 activists of the Popular Front of India for allegedly supporting terror activities.
Responding to Bhagwat's meeting with Muslim intellectuals and clerics, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi told reporters, "Everybody knows the ideology of the Sangh and these Muslim elites are meeting Bhagwat. They have nothing to do with ground reality."
Over the past two weeks, the RSS chief has spoken about enhancing intercommunal harmony with Muslim intellectuals. He recently interacted with former Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah, Former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, former lawmaker Shahid Siddiqui, and businessman Saeed Shervani.
Bhagwat reportedly raised the issue of using the term 'kafir' for Hindus during the discussion, claiming that it sends the wrong message. On their part, the group of Muslim intellectuals objected to some right-wing activists calling Muslims "jihadi" and "Pakistanis". Additionally, they reportedly informed the RSS chief that while the word 'kafir' originally had a different meaning, it is currently being 'abused' in some circles.
The RSS chief, it is learnt, acknowledged the views of the intellectuals and underscored that the "DNA of all Hindus and Muslims are same".
The All India Imam Organisation is the representative voice of the community of Indian imams and claims to be the largest imam organisation in the world.
(With inputs from PTI)