Just a day after a Muslim student in Bengaluru had been called by his teacher ‘Kasab’ provoking a storm in the social media against the teacher’s embedded Islamophobia, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval today said the meaning of Islam is antithetical to terrorism and extremism.
While addressing a conference on the roles of Ulema in fostering social harmony and interfaith peace in India and Indonesia, Doval said, “As you all are aware, both our countries have been victims of terrorism and separatism. While we have overcome the challenges to a considerable extent, the phenomenon of cross-border and ISIS-inspired terrorism continues to pose a threat. Cooperation of the civil society is essential in countering the threat from ISIS-inspired individual terror cells and returnees from theatres like Syria and Afghanistan.”
He pointed out that the objective of the conference is to bring Ulemas of both the countries together to promote cooperation and enhance social harmony. Doval added that such cooperation will strengthen the fights against “extremism, terrorism and radicalisation.”
In presence of Indonesian minister Mohammed Mahfud MD who is attending the conference on Doval’s request, the NSA said, “None of the ends for which extremism, radicalisation and the misuse of religion are employed are justifiable on any ground. This is a distortion of religion against which all of us need to raise our voices. Extremism and terrorism is against the very meaning of Islam because Islam means peace and well-being (Salamati/Asalaam). Opposition to such forces should not be painted as a confrontation with any religion. That is a ruse.”
He also spoke about the real meaning of religion that stands for humanism and peace. Explaining the term Jihad, he said that the original Jihad is Jihad-e-Afzal that means struggle against one’s ego. Doval continued, “Indeed, as the Holy Quran itself teaches, killing one person is like killing all humanity and saving one is akin to saving humanity.”
The conference will consist of three sessions – first on Continuity and Change in Islam, second on Harmonizing inter-faith society: Practice and Experience and last session will be on Countering Radicalization and Extremism in India and Indonesia.
The Ulemas who have come from Indonesia, a country of the largest Muslim population will interact with their Indian counterparts and will find out the ways to promote social harmony and cooperation.
NSA Doval earlier in July while addressing another interfaith meeting in New Delhi said that there are elements who are trying to provoke communal discords. Calling for the ban of popular front of India, he said, “Some people on basis of religious beliefs want to create discord impacts within and outside the society. The majority is silent. We can’t be mute spectators. We have to organise and raise voices, improve on the mistakes.”
He also added, “They're creating acrimony & conflict in the name of religion & ideology, it's affecting the entire country while spilling over outside the country too.”
However, the recent statement of Doval came at a crucial time when the professor’s Islamophobia enraged social media to a formidable extent.