"Extremism, Terrorism Against The Very Meaning Of Islam": NSA Ajit Doval

Advocating a crucial role for Islam in establishing peace, Ajit Doval said none of the ends for which misuse of religion are employed are justifiable

Ajit Doval (right) during his meeting with Indian and Indonesian Ulemas in New Delhi today

New Delhi:

India's National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said today that "extremism and terrorism are against the very meaning of Islam because Islam means peace and well-being".

The NSA was speaking at a special meeting between Indian and Indonesian Ulemas at the Islamic Cultural Centre here, while inaugurating the first Dialogue on the 'Role of Ulema in fostering a Culture of Interfaith Peace and Social Harmony in India and Indonesia'.

Advocating an important role for Islam in establishing peace, Mr Doval stressed how India and Indonesia have been victims of terrorism and separatism. "The phenomenon of cross-border and ISIS-inspired terrorism continues to pose a threat," Mr Doval said.

He stressed 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. Extremism and terrorism are 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 said.

He added: "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 of humanity and saving one is akin to saving humanity."

According to the NSA, civil society also plays a crucial role in countering the threat of radicalisation from extremist elements in Syria and Afghanistan.

Highlighting the need to work together to develop "common narratives on de-radicalisation, the NSA said: "In a democracy, there is no place for hate speech, prejudice, propaganda, demonisation, violence, conflict and misuse of religion for narrow ends."

He said state institutions must also come together in identifying potential negative influencers and share information to counter their activities. "In this, the Ulemas, due to their deep connect with civil society, can play a vital role," he added.

While saying that Ulemas play a key role in educating people on the tolerant and moderate principles of Islam and in countering radicalisation and extremism with progressive ideas and thought, Mr Doval added: "Our youth are often the primary target of radicalisation, but if their energies are nurtured in the right direction, they can emerge as harbingers of change and building blocks of progress in any society."

He said countries like India and Indonesia can send a joint message to the world "to eschew violence and conflict", which will serve as a powerful symbol of determination of two large countries "to preserve and promote the true values as espoused by religion".

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