All India Imam Organisation (AIIO) head Umer Ahmed Ilyasi on Thursday said that our DNA is same and only our method of worship is different.
Ilyasi's comment came after he met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) cheif Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday.
Ilyas also called Bhagwat "rashtra pita" —Father of the Nation— and said the nation always comes first.
"We all believe the nation comes first," said Ilyasi.
Bhagwat on Thursday met Ilyasi at a mosque in Delhi with senior RSS functionaries. This is being seen as part of the RSS outreach to the Muslim community.
The closed-door meeting between Ilyasi and Bhagwat lasted for more than an hour. It was held at Kasturba Gandhi Marg mosque where the office of AIMO is located.
Bhagwat was accompanied by senior Sangh functionaries — Joint General Secretary Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal, and Indresh Kumar. While Lal was earlier organisational secretary of the BJP, Kumar is patron of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch.
Sharing details of the meeting, Suhaib Ilyasi, brother of Ahmed Ilyasi, said, "It was great that Bhagwatji came on our invitation on the death anniversary of our father. It also sends out a good message to the country."
Bhagwat has been holding discussions with Muslim intellectuals for strengthening communal harmony. He had recently met Delhi's former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, former chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, former MP Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani.
During the meeting, Bhagwat had raised the issue of usage of the word "kafir" for Hindus which, he said, does not send out a good message. The Muslim intellectuals, on the other hand, objected to some right-wing activists calling the Muslims "jihadi" and "Pakistanis".
The Muslim intellectuals also told Bhagwat that the real intent behind the usage of 'kafir' was something different, but in some quarters now, it is being used as an "abuse".
The RSS chief acknowledged the apprehensions of the intellectuals and underlined that the 'DNA of all Hindus and Muslims are same'.
Responding to Bhagwat's meeting with Muslim leaders, RSS Prachar Pramukh Sunil Ambekar said, "Sarsanghachalak meets people from all walks of life. It is a part of the continuous general 'Samvad' process."
The All India Imam Organisation is the representative voice of the community of Indian Imams and claims to be the largest imam organisation in the world. It was formed to undertake at all levels the socio-economic issues which directly influence the earnings of Imams, their status in society and the expectations that the community and state have from them.
(With PTI inputs)