New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval Tuesday said that extremism and terrorism were against the very meaning of Islam.
Addressing a conference at the India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi on the role of Ulema in fostering a culture of interfaith peace and social harmony in India and Indonesia, Doval 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 wellbeing (Salamati and Asalaam). Opposition to such forces should not be painted as a confrontation with any religion. That is a ruse," he said.
"Instead, we should focus on the real message of our religions, which stands for the values of humanism, peace, and understanding. Indeed, as the Holy Quran itself teaches, killing one person is like killing all humanity and saving one is akin to saving humanity. 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," the NSA said.
He said that the aim of the discussion was to bring together Indian and Indonesian Ulemas and scholars who could take forward the cooperation in promoting tolerance, harmony, and peaceful co-existence.
"This will bolster the fight against violent extremism, terrorism, and radicalisation," Doval said.
He also expressed condolences to the victims of the recent earthquake in Indonesia.
The NSA said that together India and Indonesia could send a big message to the world.
He lauded Indonesia on being an epitome of social harmony and said that the country continued to be associated with old its customs despite having the world's largest Muslim population.
Doval said that tourism had been an important bridge of cooperation between the two countries, as millions of Indians visit Bali, and Indonesians visit Taj Mahal in India.
He said that the economic and security relations between the two countries had been progressing rapidly.
The NSA expressed hope that the countries had the potential to enhance peace, regional cooperation and prosperity in Asia owing to their history, diversity, shared traditions and growing bilateralism, against the backdrop of a tectonic shift in the global order.
He said that cross-border terrorism and ISIS-inspired terrorism continues to pose a threat to humanity.
"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," the NSA said.
Coordinating Minister for the Political, Legal, and Security Affairs of Indonesia Mohammed Mahfud is in New Delhi on the invitation of NSA Doval.
Mahfud is accompanied by a high-level delegation of Ulema. The visiting Ulema from Indonesia would also interact with their Indian counterparts.
The discussion would be on the 'Role of Ulema in fostering a culture of interfaith peace and social harmony in India and Indonesia'.
There would be three sessions, first on ‘Islam: Continuity and Change’, second on ‘Harmonising inter-faith society: Practice and Experience’, and last on ‘Countering Radicalisation and Extremism in India and Indonesia’.
During the visit, Ulemas from Indonesia would also interact with the leaders from other faiths.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population.
NSA Doval had visited Indonesia for the second Indo-Indonesia security dialogue in March this year. The NSA then invited minister Mehfud to India. (With NDTV and IANS inputs)