Shahi Imam invites Pak PM Nawaz Sharif for son’s anointment, not Modi
NEW DELHI: Delhi’s Jama Masjid’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed
Bukhari on Thursday triggered a controversy by inviting Pakistan Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif as well as political leaders in India but not Prime Minister
Narendra Modi for the anointment ceremony of his son on November 22.
19-year-old Shaban, who is pursuing Bachelors in
Social Work at a private university, will be anointed as the ‘Naib Shahi Imam’ at
a ceremony in the historic Jama Masjid which is expected to be attended by
religious leaders including some from abroad.
“I have invited several Indian and foreign political
leaders for attending the anointment ceremony of my son. Pakistan Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif has also been invited, but I have not sent invitation to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Muslims have not forgiven him for the Gujarat
riots,” Bukhari said here.
Among those invited by him are BJP leaders Rajnath
Singh, Harsh Vardhan, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Vijay Goel, West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Congress leaders
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Justifying the decision of not inviting Modi, Bukhari
said “It is not a personal fight. He does not like us and we do not like him.
Modi never tried to reach out to the Muslims and kept the Muslims at a
Reacting sharply to Imam’s statement, the BJP said it
was unfortunate and asked what message he wants to send out by his action.
“He is raising questions on himself. Indian Muslims
are born in India and they love India and they would never ever think of
Pakistan and what message Shahi Imam wants to send out,” BJP national
spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.
Shaban was picked for the influential post due to his “strong
inclination” toward humanities besides his religious capabilities, said Bukhari
who has been holding the prestigious post since 2000.
Shaban will be groomed under his father, who will
remain the “Shahi Imam” for his life. Shaban will then take over the mantle
from his father as 14th Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in the