Since the Gujarat riots in 2002, Raees Kasbati, a Muslim philanthropist, has become an integral part of all things holy to Hindus in Raslod village of Sabarkantha district, located just over 100 kilometers from Ahmedabad.
Not only does Kasbati organize the festivities for Guru Purnima in the village, his presence is necessary during the foundation laying ceremony for any temple in the village, The Times of India reported today. Kasbati offers aarti at the Hanuman temple of Raslod village, and he performed the last rites for its priest, Mahant Mohandasji.
While Kasbati serves on the trusts of Hindu temples, he is also the trustee of two mosques.
"The country is discussing intolerance, but being a Muslim I have never faced any intolerance," Kasbati told TOI. "According to me, the only real binary is humanity and inhumanity. So we should focus on spreading the message of humanity."
Kasbati, whose ancestors were also involved in strengthening communal harmony, intensified efforts to secure peace after the Gujarat riots, in which over 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims.
Four persons including three British nationals were killed in the area around Raslod village, but Kasbati says that the violence was contained after he organized meetings between the leaders of both the religious communities.
Maulana Muhammad Nabeer, who heads a local mosque, told TOI, "Raeesbhai is taking all communities forward in his march towards humanity. We welcome this."
Also on HuffPost India: