Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday met Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the chief of All India Imam Organisation. The closed-door meeting was organized as the RSS chief attempted to reach out to the Muslim community.
The meeting at Kasturba Gandhi Marg mosque lasted for more than an hour in New Delhi. Bhagwat was accompanied by senior Sangh functionaries Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal and Indresh Kumar. “RSS Sarsanghachalak meets people from all walks of life. It is part of the continuous general ‘Samvad’ process,” RSS Prachar Pramukh Sunil Ambekar said. RSS sources said issues like hijab controversy and Gyanvapi were discussed in the meeting.
Bhagwat has met several Muslim leader and intellectuals in the last few days as part of Sangh’s outreach to the minority community. Reports said the closed-door meeting between Bhagwat and Imam organisation chief Umer Ahmed Ilyasi at the mosque in Kasturba Gandhi Marg in central Delhi lasted for more than an hour. Bhagwat was accompanied by other RSS leaders Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal and Indresh Kumar.
“Mohan Bhagwat ji visited on my invitation today. He’s ‘rashtra-pita’ & ‘rashtra-rishi’, a good message will go out from his visit. Our ways of worshipping god are different but biggest religion is humanity. We believe country comes first,” said Dr Ilyasi, Chief Imam in the evening.
However, Bhagwat intervened to say there is only one father of the nation and said everyone is Bharat ki santan’ (child of the nation).
“The chief talked to the children about what is taught inside the madrassa. 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 added.
During the meeting, Bhagwat reportedly raised the issue of the usage of the word “kafir” for Hindus, which he said does not send out a good message. The group of Muslim intellectuals, on their part, objected to some right-wing activists calling Muslims “jihadi” and “Pakistanis”.
Later, Bhagwant interacted with children at the madrassa. He told them that they are the future of the country and so they should focus on their studies and work for the nation.