"It is not necessary to sacrifice an animal in Islam... If you show mercy towards all living beings, so will Allah," said Raja Raees, convenor of the outfit set up in 2002 by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.
"Muslims can cut a cake baked in the shape of a goat," he told NDTV.
It is a message that the outfit's representatives say they has been trying to get across to the community ahead of Bakrid to commemorate what Muslims believe was Prophet Ibraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail.
Some of them have equated animal sacrifice to the practice of instant divorce under triple talaq and called for boycott of people who don't fall in line. "Giving sacrifice during Bakrid is 'haram' (not approved) in Islam," MRM's Syed Hasan Kausar said this week.
"At least let us celebrate our festivals in peace. To create controversies over festivals can only be part of an agenda," shot back Muslim cleric Khalid Rashid. "At this rate, tomorrow they will argue tomorrow that the Quran does not have the word Islam too," he added.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali said there were references to sacrifice in the Quran but wondered why Muslims were being singled out.
"There are temples too where animals are sacrificed. Why is such advice only aimed at Muslims," he said.
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