Wednesday, June 3, 2015

PM Narendra Modi likely to visit India's oldest mosque during Kerala trip

PM Narendra Modi likely to visit India's oldest mosque during Kerala trip

The main purpose of the visit will be to inaugurate the completion of the first phase of Muziris heritage project funded by Kerala tourism. "The prime minister agreed to visit Kerala to inaugurate the Muziris project. But the date has not been finalized," tourism secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao told TOI on Saturday.
The Cheraman Juma Masjid is said to have been built in 629 AD by Malik Bin Dinar, a contemporary of Cheraman Perumal, the ruler of Kodungalur and adjoining parts of Malabar, who subsequently converted to Islam.

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Over centuries, the mosque developed a syncretic legacy, with many non-Muslims even holding the 'vidyarambham' ceremony to initiate children to the world of letters here by lighting a traditional lamp inside the masjid.

"If Modi visits the mosque, it will be a welcome move because the BJP's usual propaganda has it that Muslims in India are the progeny of 'invaders'," said Dr Fasal Gafoor, president of Muslim Educational Society.

The PM is expected to touch down by chopper on the ground of Kodungallur Kunhikuttan Thampuran Memorial Government College. He will carry out the inauguration of the Muziris project at the International Research and Convention Centre.

"Officers from special branch visited the mosque and enquired about security aspects, like the number of gates and entrances to the mosque, as part of the PM's visit to Kodungallur," said Faisal Edavanakkad, the administrator of Cheraman Juma Masjid.

Modi may also visit two other historic places of worship — the Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple and St Thomas Church, believed to one of the churches established by Christ's apostle.
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