Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the World Sufi Forum in New Delhi on 17th March, 2016. The Forum was hosted by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board from March 17-20, 2016 to discuss the role of Sufism in countering rising global terror and radicalization in the name of religion. The Forum included an international seminar and a grand public conference in which hundreds of Islamic scholars, Sufi luminaries, writers, journalists, unviersity academicians, social activists and grassroot workers from across the world took part. Mr. Tolegan Mukhamedzhanov, famous poet, composer and former member of Senate from Kazakhstan attended the Forum.
In his address, Prime Minister Modi categorically denied any link between religion and terror and added that those spreading terror in the name of religion are nothing but anti-religious. He described the World Sufi Forum as an assembly of those whose life itself is a message of peace, tolerance and love. He reiterated India’s abiding belief in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the World is one family. He said that Sufism has emphasized an enduring lesson of human history that it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers. He opined that for the Sufis, service of God meant service to humanity. "In the words of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, of all the worships, the worship that pleases the Almighty God the most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed," he said.
The Prime Minister explained that the message of Sufism is in harmony with the soul of the Bhakti saint’s saying in the Hindu tradition “Into the bosom of the one great sea, Flow streams that come from hills on every side.” He highlighted that none of the 99 names of Allah stand for violence. He underscored that Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion and equality; a call to universal brotherhood.
He explained how Sufism has helped strengthen the inclusive culture, which is India's great contribution to the world's cultural tapestry. He said that India is moving forward on the strength of the struggles, the sacrifices, the bravery, the knowledge, the skill, the art and the pride of every member of every faith in the diverse and yet united nation.
Referring to the global challenge of terrorism, the Prime Minister said, “when the spiritual love of Sufism, not the violent force of terrorism, flows across the border, this region will be the paradise on earth that Amir Khusrau spoke about". He added, “when terrorism and extremism have become the most destructive force of our times, message of Sufism has global relevance”. Referring to the horrors unleashed across the world by terrorists, he said that the impact of terrorism cannot be captured by statistics alone. He said that there are forces and groups, which are instruments of state policy and design, and there are others recruited to the cause in misguided belief.
Describing the battle that mankind must fight against terror, he said that it is not a confrontation against any religion, but a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity. He added, “it is a battle that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions”. He said that the message of Sufism is not just confined to combating terrorism, but also encompasses his creed of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas” (“Together with all, Development for all”).
Quoting extensively from holy scriptures and great mystics, Prime Minister Modi called for challenging the forces of violence with the kindness of love and universal human values.
In his remarks, Hazrat Syed Mohammad Ashraf, Founder President of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, said that the Muslims of India stand confident of their future in the country, and committed to upholding the unity, integrity and territorial sovereignty of the nation.
On the concluding day, the Sufi leaders passed a resolution condemning terror groups like Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS and appealed to the people to shun extremist organisations that misinterpret the Quran.
Please click the LINK to download the the full text of Prime Minister Modi’s address.
March 23, 2016, Astana