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Friday, 18 March 2016 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday used the platform of the first World Sufi Forum in

Friday, 18 March 2016 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday used the platform of the first World Sufi Forum in the national Capital to assert that terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion, but it is a battle that must be won through the strength of values and “real” message of religions.

Modi was greeted by loud chants of Bharat Mata ki jai by audience at the inaugural of the three-day conclave. The PM said, “Sufism is celebration of diversity and pluralism… Sufism blossomed in India’s openness and pluralism. It engaged with her spiritual tradition, and evolved its own Indian ethos.”

Without naming any country, the Prime Minister stressed there were terror groups that were instruments of State policy and design and said terrorism uses diverse motivations and causes that cannot be justified.

“The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be. It is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity,” he said.

Modi made an oblique reference to Pakistan and pointed out that some terrorists are trained in organised camps. “There are forces and groups that are instruments of State policy and design. There are others who are recruited to the cause in misguided belief. There are some who are trained in organised camps. There are those who find their inspiration in the borderless world of cyber space. Terrorism uses diverse motivations and causes, none of which can be justified,” he said at the forum convened by the All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board to discuss the role of Sufism in countering rising global terror.

Claiming that terrorists “distort” a religion, Modi said they kill and destroy more in their own land than they do elsewhere, while making the entire world “insecure and violent”.

“Terrorists distort a religion whose cause they profess to support. They kill and destroy more in their own land and among their own people than they do elsewhere. And, they are putting entire regions in peril and making the world more insecure and violent,” he said.

“It is not a conflict to be fought only through military, Intelligence or diplomatic means. It is also a battle that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions,” he said.

Modi said the world must reject any link between terrorism and religion, as well as those who spread terror in the name of religion as anti-religion. “And, we must advance the message of Sufism that stands for the principles of Islam and the highest human values.

This is a task that states, societies, sages, scholars and families must pursue,” he said.

Modi also said that since the beginning of this century, tens of thousands of families have lost their loved ones in thousands of terrorist incidents globally and just last year alone, over 90 countries experienced terrorist attacks.

“Parents in 100 countries live with the daily pain of their children lost in the battlefields of Syria. And, in a globally-mobile world, one incident can claim citizens of many nations.

“Every year, we spend over $100 billion on securing the world from terrorism, money that should have been spent on building lives of the poor. The impact cannot be fully captured in statistics alone. It is changing the way we live,” he said

Claiming that Sufism represented the rich diversity of the Islamic civilization that stands on the solid bedrock of a great religion, Modi said, “It is a civilization that reached great heights by the 15th century in science, medicine, literature, art, architecture and commerce.

“It drew on the immense talents of its people and also Islam’s engagement with diverse civilizations, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Africa; the Persian, Central Asian and Caucasian lands; the region of East Asia; and, with Buddhism and Indian philosophy and science,” he said.

He said from its origins in Egypt and West Asia, Sufism travelled to distant lands, holding aloft the banner of faith and the flag of human values, learning from spiritual thoughts of other civilisations, and attracting people with the life and message of its saints.

“In the different settings of Saharan Africa or in South-East Asia, in Turkey or in Central Asia, in Iran or India, Sufism reflected the universal human desire to go beyond the practice and precepts of religion for a deeper unity with the Almighty,” he said.

Talking about the significance of the forum, Modi said this was an extraordinary event of great importance to the world, at a critical time for humanity.

“At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the noor, or the light of hope,” he said, adding, “When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals.”