Modi urges Sufi saints, scholars to counter extremist forces

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, August 28, 2015

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said that the ideology propounded by Sufi saints was an integral part of Indian ethos, and had contributed significantly to the creation of a pluralistic, multi-cultural society in India but forces of extremism were attempting to weaken it.
At a meeting with a delegation of 40 Barelvi Sufi scholars from various parts of the country here yesterday evening, he urged Sufi saints and scholars to counter such forces through various avenues, including on social media, so that the ideology of extremism did not take root in India.
Mr Modi said that the tradition of Sufism has kept evil at bay, wherever it has continued to flourish. 
He exhorted the Muslim community in India to take maximum advantage of the skill development schemes and programmes being initiated by the Union Government. He assured the delegation that issues of Waqf property raised by the members would be looked into. He said Sufi culture and music should be suitably promoted in each State. 
Earlier, during the course of their interaction with the Prime Minister, members of the delegation stated that Islam did not preach hatred or extremism.
An official press release said members of the delegation expressed concern that certain forces did not wish the Muslim community of India to keep good relations with the Prime Minister and noted that, so far, the divisive politics of vote-banks has resulted in the Muslim community interacting with the Government only through intermediaries.
But now they want the Prime Minister to establish direct contact with the people of India, including the Muslims, the release said.
They urged the Prime Minister to work towards development of people which is irrespective of caste, community or religion. 
The delegation members said that the spread of terrorism in the name of Islam represented a danger to peace all over the world, and there was urgent need to take action to marginalize the forces promoting "Jihad" for social, economic or political considerations. 
They added that there is need to spread awareness among the Muslim community that organizations such as the ISIS and Al-Qaeda, do not represent the path of Islam. 
The members also gave several suggestions for the promotion of Sufi thought and culture in India. They suggested the creation of a "Sufi circuit" to promote tourism, and steps for the rejuvenation of Sufi shrines and sites in India. 
The delegation members included: Hazrat Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhowchhwi, President and Founder of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB); Hazrat Syed Jalaluddin Ashraf, Chairman, Makhdoom Ashraf Mission, Kolkata; Hazrat Syed Ahmed Nizami, Sajjada Nashin, Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, New Delhi; Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed Musliar, General Secretary, All India Muslim Scholars Association; Hazrat Syed Mehndi Chishty, functionary of the Dargah-e-Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty, Ajmer Sharif; and Janab Nesar Ahmed, Educationist.