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Jama Masjid's new Naib Imam hates 'communal politics'
Friday October 31, 2014 9:43 AM, IANS

Shaban Bukhari, formally named the new Naib Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Thursday said he was bitterly opposed to "communal politics" and stood for harmony in the country.

Shaban Bukhari

"I am against the politics of hate. I will try to spread the message of peace and harmony. I will try to engage with the youth," the 19-year-old told IANS.

But he quickly added that he had "much to learn from my father", Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of what is reputedly India's largest mosque.

The younger Bukhari denied he had any political leanings. "I am away from politics. I am still a student. I don't like the communal politics that happens today."

But he said he agreed with his father that Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents "only a section of the society".

The senior Bukhari has not invited Modi but has welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend a special dinner slated for Nov 29 -- one week after Shaban Bukhari will be formally annointed the Naib Imam.

Shaban, who is pursuing his Bachelors in Social Work from Amity University, said "he would learn from his father and groom under him".

Shaban, who calls himself "gadget savvy", expressed happiness that he would one day be the Shahi Imam of the 17th century mosque, built during the Mughal era.

"I am very happy because my father has taken the decision to appoint me as 'Janasheen' (successor).

"I will live with my father. I will learn and take training from him. But I will work in a new way, will try to."

Asked why his elder brother Aram was not named the Naib Imam, Shaban said: "He told my father he was not interested. He is a businessman. So my father chose me."

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