Fight against terror is not a fight against Islam: PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi:Prime Minister chaired a conference on ‘Islamic Heritage: Promoting Understanding & Moderation’ at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today in presence of King of Jordan HM King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, which was attended by a galaxy of Muslim religious leaders, professionals and achievers from the community.

In his address, PM Modi averred that Indian democracy was a celebration of age-old pluralism. “Whether it’s Buddha or Mahatma Gandhi, the message of peace was spread from here”, he said, adding that India had laid the foundation of its composite culture (ganga-jamni sanskiriti) with a fusion of the Vedic tradition, the eightfold path (Ashtanga) of Gautam Buddha, ahimsa (non-violence) of Mahavir Jain, Sikh teaching on unity of the Divine as well as the monotheistic creed (tawheed) of the Semitic religions—Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Speakers during the conference recalled that Islam arrived in India in the lifetime of Prophet , as historically recorded. The first mosque was built in South India’s Kerala. It gave great impetus to Islam’s convergence with Indian ethos of pluralism, syncretism and moderation.

This motif found resonance in the words of Jordan’s King Abdullah, when he said: “Inclusion is the path to the coexistence we need. We need to build strong successful countries… This is not just the responsibility of institutions and public bodies. As important as they are, it is for everyone in how we deal with each other and the hand of friendship we extend to one another”.

PM Modi urged people to reclaim the true essence of the religion from the extremists. “Those who attack humanity don’t understand that the damage is caused to the very faith for which they claim to be standing up”, he said. King Abdullah endorsed this point, while speaking of radicalization: “Today’s global war against terror is a fight by moderates of all communities against extremists whose faith is hate and violence. We need to take back the airwaves and internet from voices of hatred.”

These significant remarks of both Indian PM and the Jordanian King will strengthen the moderate and inclusivist narrative of Islam which is upheld in India and Amman, but is drowned by the aggressive posturing of hardliners in different parts of the world. Since the leaders of all Islamic denominations, academics and other influential people of India assembled in this gathering, it will help to advance a strong narrative to mitigate the internal security threats posed by foreign or home-grown extremists. 

One of the salient aspects of PM’s address that Indian Muslims need to welcome is the cogent point that modernity and tradition go hand in hand. “Muslim youth should have the Quran (tradition) in one hand and computer (technology) in the other”, he pointed out.

“It is difficult to describe in words your (Jordanian king) role in establishing Islam’s identity. Your nation is situated on a land from where the message of God was sent out across the globe”.

It was befitting welcoming remark of the Indian PM to the King of Jordan who championed the inclusivist interpretation of Islam through the Amman Message, which assumed global significance against the backdrop of increasing radicalisation and terror attacks.