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'Followed Islamic tenets': Significance of Imam's presence at Ram Mandir ceremony

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed* 

Despite abusive calls and messages, and known to have received "sar tan se juda" threats in the past for calling RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat “rashtra pita”, a term used for Mahatma Gandhi, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi recently remained unfazed, asking his detractors to follow the path of piety and humaneness suggested by Prophet Muhammad.
He said that by attending the Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha (consecration), he had just carried the Islamic tenet that it is one of the worst sins in Islam to hurt a human heart.
Ilyasi believes that Allah will save him from any terror mongers, and the law of the land will protect him. He had received the most sought after invite to attend the Ram Mandir consecration. He took the decision to go to Ayodhya, as he knew that sections of his community would be after his jugular.
In the comity of Indian imams, Imam Ilyasi, connected with lakhs of mosques, took too bold a decision to attend the consecration of the most talked about Ram Mandir, attracting a positive response from sections of Muslim community, including clerics and Muslim organisations. The stand of the Imam is considered historic. It is being commended as a peace move towards interfaith dialogue.
Ilyasi is president of the All India Imam Organisation and is associated with more than half a million imams. He is one of those Muslim clerics who has repeatedly addressed the UNHRC, the European Parliament, the Canadian Parliament, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the Royal Institute International Affairs.
He is the recipient of the highest awards of UAE and Abudhabi and was honoured by the Pope in Vatican, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, the Dalai Lama as well as the Imam-e-Haram in Saudia Arabia for his efforts for world peace.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ilyasi said that he has reached out to every community and sent a strong message that Ram Mandir belongs to the Rashtra (nation) and not Hindus alone. Hailing the RSS Sarsanghchalak, with whom he has old and intimate links, he said that, on that particular occasion, all the interfaith hearts gelled well like sugar and milk.
One who talks highly of Adityanath Yogi, the UP Chief Minister, about Lord Rama, the Imam said that He is the legacy of India and vision of Bharat. He added, the Constitution of India salutes His humaneness, adding, Lord Rama was for a discrimination free society based on a peaceful, progressive and prosperous society.
When asked how he had felt being amongst the seers of different faiths, he replied, “I was told by many seers that I have raised the stature of Muslims by attending the ceremony. Religion unites people, and to reduce differences, dialogue is the only way forward”, adding, the two communities have already “fought a lot” and this was the time to move on and work together towards nation-building.
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*Former chancellor of Maulana Azad Maulana Azad National Urdu University, grandnephew of Maulana Azad

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