‘Masjid sab ke liye’, a unique event of visit to a mosque by non-Muslims following a hurtful WhatsApp post happened amidst an atmosphere of brotherhood and camaraderie, at Chandrapur, on Thursday. The venue was Chhoti Masjid, situated at the centre of the city.
The visit was organised by Chandrapur’s Muslim community following a post in lawyers WhatsApp group that said arms were recovered from several mosques in Kashmir following revocation of Art 370. This had prompted a lawyer, Farhat Baig, to talk to the community leaders, including Imams, to know if non-Muslims could be invited to show around the city mosques so that their misgivings could be removed. The community leaders had welcomed the idea and had organised the programme on Thursday evening.
“Over 175 people belonging to all castes and religions participated in the programme that was suffused with an atmosphere of brotherhood and camaraderie,” Baig told The Indian Express.
Baig is a founder member of Muslim Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation that had taken the lead in organising the programme.
Interestingly, the young lawyer, who had posted the controversial content on WhatsApp, also participated in the programme. “We kept his identity secret. I only introduced him to the mosque Imam, Mufti Walilullah. The young lawyer expressed regret for the post and also apologised. We said we were, in fact, thankful to him since that actually served as an inspiration behind Thursday’s programme,” Baig said.
Non-Muslim visitors were taken around the mosque and explained how it functions. Namaz was also performed in front of the visitors. Mufti Walilullah told the gathering that mosque is where Muslims pray for the well-being of humanity and peace. There is no place for arms here, he said.
Social activist Bandu Dhotre said on the occasion that it is the need of the hour to organise such programmes all over the country. Another speaker Manish Tiwari said that India had been a multi-religious country since ancient times and the attempt to divide people along religious lines must be done away with. BJP leader and Brijbhushan Pazare also praised the initiative.
The participants included people belonging to all prominent political parties, including Congress and Shiv Sena.
Also in the gathering was social activist Baliraj Dhote, who was arrested last week for since “offensive” posts pin BJP-RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several political parties and social organisation had protested his arrest. He also spoke and called for shunning false propaganda on social media.
“People also wrote remarks profusely praising the initiative and about how it had made them happy,” Baig said.
The Muslim community has decided to make it a monthly feature with visits by other communities on the first Thursday of every month.
The next programme is to be held at the city’s Jama Masjid.