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Modi represents a 'section', yet to win confidence of Muslims: Shahi Imam
Friday October 31, 2014 2:33 PM, & Agencies

Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not represent entire India, but only a 'section' - an apparent reference to Hindus, and was yet to win the confidence of the Muslim community that constitute about 14% of the country's total population.

Ahmed Bukhari
[Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari with his 19 year-old son Shaban Bukhari, who has been chosen to succeed his father as the 14th Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in the country. The annointment of Shaban, will take place Nov 22. (Photo: IANS)]

"Modi has not done anything for Indian Muslims even after coming to power. Indian Muslims have not forgiven him for the 2002 Gujarat riots," Ahmed Bukhari said ahead of his son Shaban Bukhari's annointment as Naib Imam.

"Modi has not even apologized (for the riots) and reached out to Muslims. He is yet to win the confidence of Muslims", he added.

Shaban Bukhari echoed his father's views.

"It would have been better had he (Modi) represented the 125 crore people of India," Shaban said.

The Bukhari senior stirred a controversy by snubbing Modi and inviting other BJP and Congress leaders, and even Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the ceremony and dinner to be hosted for Shaban Bukhari's annointment.

Ahmed Bukhari's son, 19-year-old Shaban, will be annointed the Naib Imam of Jama Masjid, reputedly India's biggest mosque, Nov 22.

Bukhari said he was inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but not Narendra Modi to mark his son's annointment as the Naib Imam.

"We have invited the prime minister of Pakistan as we have had relations with him since my (late) father's time, unlike with Modi, whom we have not invited," Bukhari told IANS.

Bukhari, however, said he had invited four Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, for the Nov 29 dinner to mark the occasion.

He said invitations for the dinner had also been extended to Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.

The Bukharis, originally from Central Asia, have been the traditional custodians of the Jama Masjid since it was built during the Mughal era in the 17th century, facing the Red Fort.

The late Abdullah Bukhari became politically influential after coming out openly against the Congress party following the Emergency rule of 1975-77. He was later courted by politicians of all hues.

The present Shahi Imam, Ahmed Bukhari, has often courted controversies, mainly over some of his radical views and the political choices he makes during elections.

Meanwhile, BJP criticized Shahi Imam for inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ignoring Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the ceremony to announce the name of his successor.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the move is deplorable and shows the mindset of Bukhari. He said Imam has no right to give any certificate to anyone.

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