Days after meeting with Muslim intellectuals, RSS chief visited a Delhi mosque and a madrasa on Thursday what is called an “unprecedented Muslims outreach programme”.
Mohan Bhagwat met with Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the chief cleric of the All India Imam Organization, at a mosque in the heart of Delhi. It was described as a “closed door meeting” that lasted more than an hour.
Bhagwat also visited Madrasa Tajweedul Quran in the old Delhi area, and interacted with the children there.
Madarsa director Mahmudul Hasan told IANS that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat reached the madrasa around 10 a.m.
“You have the responsibility of the country… so you have to work for the country by reading and writing,” Bhagwat told the students.
He stayed at the madrasa for about an hour and met the teachers besides the children.
Bhagwat also reviewed the education infrastructure and sought some details such as the number of children enrolled there.
Recently, Bhagwat met five Muslim intellectuals and discussed with them issues ranging from cow slaughter to the use of derogatory references. They also decided to meet periodically to continue dialogue on issues affecting both communities.
While Ilyasi has been known to be an RSS sympathizer, the meeting is seen as part of a larger plan to bring the communities together. According to sources, there will be more such meetings in the days to come.
“RSS Sarsanghachalak meets people from all walks of life. It is part of the continuous general ‘Samvad’ (interaction) process,” RSS spokesperson Sunil Ambekar said. During the meeting, Bhagwat discussed his concerns about the “current atmosphere of disharmony” in the country.
According to former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, who was part of the meeting, Bhagwat said he was worried about the situation in the country. “I’m not happy with the atmosphere of disharmony. It is completely wrong. the country can move ahead only with cooperation and cohesion,” he quoted the RSS chief as saying. Bhagwat shared a couple of points that were of particular concern to him. One was cow slaughter, which upsets the Hindus, he said.
“So we said it is banned practically across the country. The Muslims are law abiding and if anyone violates it, it is a huge mistake and there should be punishment,” Quraishi said. The other was the use of the word “kafir” or non-believers, which “gave the Hindus a bad feeling”.
Quraishi described the meaning of the Arabic word ‘kafir’. “The word means non-believers. Some people believe in Islam, they are called “Momin’. The non-believers are “kafir”. It was a neutral word and now it has become abusive. We don’t have a problem stopping it,” he said.
In turn, the Muslim leaders made the point “that some right-wing people call Muslims jehadi, and Pakistani”.
He implied that the Hindus and Muslims desperately need to sit together to allay doubts and misconception between the communities about their faiths. – India News Stream