100 religious leaders to attend Jama Masjid ceremony
New Delhi: Over 100 religious leaders from India and abroad will Saturday attend a ceremony at the Jama Masjid here when the son of Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari will be anointed the Naib Imam of the 17th century mosque.
Ahmed Bukhari refused to comment on criticism against the event, telling IANS that "he would respond to all the criticism in the court".
The two-and-half-hour ceremony will begin at 5.30 p.m., he said. Among those expected to attend are Muslim leaders from Tunisia, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Arabia.
"Besides, thousands of Muslims will be present. There will be religious speeches," Ahmed Bukhari told IANS.
Shaban Bukhari, 19, is pursuing his Bachelors in Social Work at Amity University. The post of Naib Imam will put him in the line to become the Shahi Imam of the country's largest mosque.
Ahmed Bukhari said: "Shaban needs to be groomed. I was appointed the Shahi Imam in 2000, which was 27 years after I became the Naib Imam."
Ahmed Bukhari refused to say if Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accepted his invitation to attend the event -- to which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not been called.
"I will tell you in a day or two," the Shahi Imam said.
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.