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The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald
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March 14, 2012

Bonding with Bohras: Narendra Modi greets Bohra spiritual head Syedna Dr Burhanuddin on his 101st birthday

Modi greets Syedna Sahib
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi greeted the spiritual head of Dawoodi Bohra community Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin on his 101st birthday celebration at Surat.

Modi personally visited Surat and attended the event. In a rare gesture, he bowed before the Muslim sect leader and also sat by his side. Bohras, a Shia Muslim sect, engaged in business and trade, are concentrated in Western Indian states.

The visit could pave the way for a change in Modi's image among Muslims. Syedna Sahab is the head of the Bohra community and wields influence over the financially-strong community.

Muslims feel that he didn't do enough during the horrific riots that took plcae in the state in the year 2002. Earlier, he had refused to accept a skullcap from a Sufi Muslim cleric last year. This had caused an uproar across the country.

Political watchers believe that for Modi to play a pan-Indian role in the national politics, it is imperative that he becomes acceptable to Muslims, who are the biggest religious minority in India, with a population of over 200 million (20 crore).

A section among Muslims in Gujarat have said that the horrors of 2002 anti-Muslim riots should be forgotten. Some Bohra groups were amongst the first to take steps for reconciliation towards the right-wing BJP that has consistenly been winning Assembly elections in the state.

TIH Bureau

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