Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned 70 on September 17. Bharatiya Janata Party organised a "Seva Saptah" from September 14 to 20 coinciding with the Prime Minister's birthday. The party undertook social initiatives across the nation during this week-long event.
The same day, ANI published a report saying that the Muslim community in Delhi celebrated PM's Birthday outside the Nizamuddin Markaz building. The occasion included prayers and cake cutting. Nizamuddin Markaz is the global headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat network. Early this year in April, the Tablighi Jamaat, which is an Islamic religious reform movement, was vilified by the media. In fact, the Markaz was identified as a COVID-19 hotspot. The report gives the impression that Tablighi people also commemorated the PM's birthday.
"Today is a big day for the whole country. The people of India are very lucky to have a Prime Minister like Modiji after so many years. Muslim people across the country are celebrating this joyous occasion," Maulana Suhaib Quashmi is quoted as saying.
"In the last 6 years, the PM has never spoken about religion, caste, or creed. He has only spoken about the 130 crore people in our country. Today we prayed for his well being and longevity. We believe that he will take our country to the top of the world. India's relationship with other Muslim countries has also flourished in the last few years and the countries who really want peace are behind Modiji," he further said, according to the report.
"Many people try to spread fake news and create disharmony in society. We urge Muslims in India to stand with the PM for the progress and development of the country," he had added, as per the report.
Business World picked on the ANI report.
A video of the event is also being circulated on social media with the same claim that PM Modi's birthday was celebrated outside Nizamuddin Markaz by 'Maulana sahab.' "Maulana sahab celebrated Modi's birthday in front of Nizamuddin Markaz gate (Translated from Hindi)," reads the caption of these posts.
'Muslim community' celebrated PM Modi's birthday at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi.
The claim is misleading.
The 'Maulana Sahab' referred to in the viral posts and the 'Maulana' quoted in the ANI report is Suhaib Qasmi (also mentioned in the report).
On September 17, Qasmi uploaded a video from the event on his Facebook profile. In the video, a group of Muslim men can be seen celebrating PM Modi's birthday outside Nizamuddin Markaz.
According to his Facebook bio, Qasmi works with the RSS. On his Twitter profile, @sahaibqasmibjp, he shared another video where the same group of men can be seen marking the PM's birthday outside the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarter in Delhi.
The other person quoted in the ANI report is Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad. The chancellor has been supportive of BJP's political initiatives earlier as well.
Reports on his support of the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir can be read here, here and here. Further, Muslim Rashtriya Manch, the Muslim wing of the RSS, had published one of his articles titled "A fair tale of the RSS".
Similarly in 2018, ANI had published a report which passed off an RSS-affiliated Muslim organisation as "people in Lucknow" celebrating Bakrid by cutting a cake.
Therefore, ANI misleadingly claimed an RSS backed organisation, as the 'Muslim community' celebrating Modi's Birthday.
The claim was earlier debunked by Alt News.
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