(Rahnuma) India is home to the third largest population of Muslims globally. In a first, India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was asked on Friday to address the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting at Abu Dhabi as a guest of honor. The Minister cited verses from the Rig Veda, and the Holy Quran to stress that the menace of terrorism is caused by “distortion of religion” and “misguided belief”, not religion itself.
Swaraj quoted from the Holy Quran, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” and went to add a verse from Sura Al Hujurat of the holy book that reads, “O Mankind! We created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one another, not that you may despise one another.”
“Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 Names of Allah mean violence. Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood,” Swaraj said.
India’s Minister of External Affairs, who attended the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting in Abu Dhabi, as the guest of honor, referred to the Rig Veda to say, “God is One but learned men describe Him in many ways.”
During her speech, Swaraj further emphasized that “the fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion”, quoting a couplet of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, “First, Allah created light; then, by his creative power, he made all mortal beings. From that one light, the entire world came into being. So, who is good, and who is bad?”
At the OIC meet, Swaraj called for building pressure on the countries that support terrorist groups to dismantle terror infrastructure on their soil and stop funding such outfits. Her comments came amid heightened tension between Islamabad and New Delhi.
Ties between the nuclear nations took a downward spiral after a deadly Pakistan based terror attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama killed 40 Indian soldiers on February 14.
Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack. While Pakistan initially refused to take responsibility for the attack, the Indian Air Force carried out a deadly preemptive strike at a terror camp in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Pakistan decided not to send its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Abu Dhabi in protest to the invitation extended by the 57-member OIC to India as a guest of honor.