RSS director Mohan Bhagwat, who met Muslim leaders in an unprecedented outreach, visited a mosque in Delhi and held a meeting with its chief rabbi.
Mohan Bhagwat met Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, chief rabbi of the All India Imam, at a mosque in central Delhi, not far from government and government offices. Mr Ilyasi called Mr Bhagwat”pita rash“, PTI news agency reported.” Our DNA is the same, only our method of worship is different,” said the top cleric.
It was described as a “closed meeting” lasting more than an hour.
“It sent a very good message to the country. We had discussions as a family. It was wonderful that they accepted our invitation,” said Suhaib Ilyasi, the cleric’s son. .
The head of RSS then visited a madrasa and interacted with the students.
The head of RSS has been meeting with Muslim intellectuals recently to try and “strengthen community harmony,” according to the organization. This action was significant in the aftermath of the Hijab row in Karnataka and the suspension of BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s comments about the Prophet, which sparked violence and protests. The group sought a meeting weeks after Mr Bhagwat’s statement questioning the need to “find a Shivling under every mosque”, amid a petition asking for prayers. Hindu prayers at a temple in Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque complex.
RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is BJP’s ideological consultant. “RSS Sarsanghachalak meets people from all walks of life. This is part of an ongoing joint ‘Samvad’ (discussion) process,” said RSS spokesman Sunil Ambekar.
On August 22, Mr Bhagwat met with five Muslim intellectuals and shared his concerns about the “current atmosphere of discord” in the country, it is known. Both sides have agreed to drop divisive rhetoric and discuss what each opposes.
Former Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, who was present at the 75-minute meeting, said Mr Bhagwat said even he was worried about the situation in the country. “I am not satisfied with the atmosphere of discord. That is completely wrong. The country can move forward only with cooperation and cohesion,” he quoted the head of RSS as saying.
Bhagwat discussed points of interest, such as the slaughter of cows, which irritates Hindus, he said.
“So we say it’s banned practically nationwide,” said Quraishi. “Muslims obey the law and if anyone breaks it, it’s a big mistake and there should be punishment.”
According to Mr Bhagwat’s report, the use of the word “kafir”, or non-believers, “gives a bad feeling to Hindus”.
“We say the original word in Arabic, which means unbelievers. Some people believe in Islam, they are called ‘Momin’. Those who do not believe are ‘kafir.’ It is a from neutrality and now it has become abusive. We have no problem stopping it,” said Mr. Quraishi.
Muslim leaders make the point “that some rightists call Muslims jihadists and Pakistanis”.
“They doubt the loyalty of Muslims and want them to prove their patriotism,” Mr. Bhagwat said. Muslims are also Indians.” “We share the same DNA. Most of the Muslims here are converts,” he quoted the head of RSS as saying.
“He gave us a lot of reassurance. His statement about Shivling is also very strong and we welcome that,” Mr. Quraishi said.
Former Delhi Governor Najeeb Jung, former Rector of Aligarh Islamic University, Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, former MP Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani also attended the meeting.