(India) a think tank holds discussion on national integration and communal harmony at Agra

Word for peace

Addressing the assembly, Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai said that Islam stresses on non-violence and peace building and whatever hatred is being spread in the name of Islam globally, is not what this religion stands for.



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A think tank meet was organised in Agra pertaining to communal harmony.

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Large section of people from Hindu and Muslim community attended the function.

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They discussed various topics bothering India right now, including Rohingyas.

In view of the growing rift among Hindus and Muslims in India over the issue of the so-called radicalization of Muslims and the Rohingya crisis, Hindustani Biradari, an organization established by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in 1927, held a discussion aimed at national integration in Agra, which was attended by members from all sections of the society.

Addressing the assembly, Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai said that Islam stresses on non-violence and peace building and whatever hatred is being spread in the name of Islam globally, is not what this religion stands for. He said, violent barbarity is being committed by terrorists all over the world in the name of Islam and there is an urgent need to popularise the true understanding of Islam, one rooted in a commitment to peace, non-violence, inter-community harmony and prosperity for all people.

He said that the Central government has recently filed an affidavit in the court claiming that Rohingya Muslims have ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and the army has been asked to push back the Rohingya refugees trying to enter India at the Indo-Burmese border. Aghai claimed that not all of these Rohingya Muslims are extremists, in fact, the number of extremists would be only a fraction of the poor, homeless Muslims who are seeking shelter from the ethnic cleansing going on in Burma. He demanded that the Rohingya Muslims should be allowed to seek asylum in India so that they could save themselves from the religious persecution of the Myanmar government.

UP Sarvdaleey Muslim Action Committee district president Syed Irfan Salim opined that Muslims need to come out of the shell of traditions that have continued for centuries. He said that Muslims cannot insist upon the recreation of the days when Islam was on zenith. He said that the approaches of hate, exclusivity, establishment of Caliphate, being promoted by the radicals/terrorists was bogus and contradicted Islamic values.

He said that there is an urgent need to articulate and promote a positive approach to conflict-prevention and resolution towards restoring peace. Muslims should take inspiration from Quran and from the life of the Prophet, which stresses on refraining from reckless violence, besides affirming peaceful co-existence with other communities.

Mufti Mudassar Ali Qadri said that all of us should make ourselves useful to others, which itself would help reduce differences, defuse conflicts and build inter-community relations. To keep alive and strengthen ‘Unity in Diversity’, which is the core value of this country’s culture, needs to be nurtured and allowed to spread all over.

Qadri said that there are countless examples of Hindus and Muslims working together even at religious sites, the first and foremost example being that of Amarnath shrine, which was discovered and still cared for by a Muslim family, in a Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. Even in Braj region, the dresses of Lord Krishna for Janmashtami are prepared by Muslim artisans. There are thousands of Muslims working in the handicrafts industry of Agra, creating idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Elsewhere in India, he said, in the Basirhat town in West Bengal, Hindus and Muslims celebrate Raksha Bandhan festival together and Muslims have been helping Hindus clean up their temples, while Hindus are helping in the cleaning up of mosques in flood-hit Gujarat, showing mutual tolerance and spirit of human-bonding which is beyond any religious boundary.

Social activist and Rotary Club of Agra, Governor Digamber Singh Dhakrey said, the first need of any human being stranded in a deserted place is to find another human being with whom he can socialize and build communication. When he finds one, he does not ask whether that person is Hindu or Muslim or of any other religion. He first expresses his gratitude to whichever God he believes in, for having helped him meet another human.

In reality, he said, the whole world is just an island in a vast, inhospitable void of space, where the entire humanity is living. It is our only home and we need to co-exist to make this world a better place for our future generations to live in, since there is almost no possibility for humanity in the near future of leaving this planet to live elsewhere.

Senior citizen Rama Shanker Sharma said that in the pre-independence times, this distinction between religions was largely limited to the urban areas where politics held sway. In the rest of the country, especially the rural areas, Hindus, and Muslims co-existed peacefully and even celebrated each other’s festivals together.

A daughter’s wedding was attended by the entire village, irrespective of the religion of the girl because she was the entire village’s daughter. But times have changed now and this Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb of ‘Hindustan’ is withering away fast.

The rift between the two communities has especially widened since 1990 and extremist politics from both sides is responsible for that. Today, a Hindu feels proud to denigrate Urdu, while a Muslim patronizes Arabic and both of these ideologies are being spoon-fed to these two communities by politicians. This should stop if this country has to remain a peaceful oasis in an otherwise chaotic neighborhood.



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