KOCHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the centuries-old Cheraman Juma Masjid, India’s oldest Muslim shrine, when he visits Kerala in July or August.
Cheraman Juma Masjid was constructed by a group of Arabs led by Malik Bin Dinar in the year 628 AD. Legend is that it is named after Chera King, Cheraman Perumal who embraced Islam when he visited Arabia. The mosque developed a syncretic reputation over the years where many non-Muslims held their ‘vidyarambham’ ceremonies.
The date of the PM’s visit has not yet been finalised, but Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao confirmed on Saturday that the primary reason for the PM’s visit is to initiate the end of the first phase of the Muziris heritage project by Kerala tourism.
“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 inauguration of the Muziris project will take place 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.
The PM might also pay a visit to historic St Thomas Church; allegedly founded by Christ’s apostle, and the ancient Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple.
The article originally appeared on Times of India