Ulemas Have A Key Role In Promoting Tolerance
01 December 2022
NEW DELHI: In a strong message to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval while emphasising the role of Ulemas (religious scholars) of India and Indonesia in promoting tolerance and harmony said that “we need to work together to develop common narratives on de-radicalisation". He highlighted how despite overcoming the challenges to a considerable extent the phenomenon of cross-border and ISIS inspired terrorism continues to pose a threat.
“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 theaters like Syria and Afghanistan,” Doval said.
Doval was speaking at the inaugural session of a seminar organised by the India Islamic Cultural Centre in Delhi on the “role of ulemas in fostering a culture of inter-faith peace and harmony in India and Indonesia”. Addressing the Indonesian delegation of Ulema led by their coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Mohammad Mahfud MD, the NSA asserted that everyone is well aware of the fact that both our countries have been victims of terrorism and separatism.
He emphasised that the Ulemas play a very important role in Islamic society and their role in promoting tolerance, harmony and peaceful co-existence will bolster the fight against “violent extremism, terrorism and radicalisation.”
Doval asserted that countries like India and Indonesia, with their experience of multi-faith harmony and co-existence, can send a joint message to the world to eschew violence and conflict. “This will be a powerful symbol of the determination of two large countries (together we have 1.7 billion of the world population) to preserve and promote the true values espoused by religion,” he added. Doval also highlighted the fact that Indonesia is the world’s largest Islamic country and India is home to the third largest Muslim population in the world.
He asserted that “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,” added.
Highlighting that extremism and terrorism is against the very meaning of Islam because “Islam means peace and well-being”, Doval said that “opposition to such forces should not be painted as a confrontation with any religion”.
“Islam ordains that the most excellent form of Jihad is "Jihad Afzal" - that is, Jihad against one's senses or ego - and not against innocent civilians,” he added.
He also said that there was a need to counter disinformation and propaganda that can impede peaceful co-existence among the followers of different faiths.
He sought special focus on youth as they are often the primary target of radicalisation. “The Ulema must also be adept in the use of technology and utilise various technological solutions to thwart the evil designs of propaganda and hate,” he added.
A joint press statement released after the day long deliberations at the seminar emphasised that “noting the key role of Ulema and other religious leaders as well as education in countering radicalisation and extremism, the participants agreed on the need to work together to develop common narratives on de-radicalisation.” The statement denounced “all hate speech, prejudice, propaganda, demonisation, violence, conflict and condemned the misuse of religions for these ends.”