Ulemas and other religious leaders of India and Indonesia agreed on the need to work together to develop common narratives about deradicalization, according to a joint statement released Tuesday following their day-long deliberations.
In a unique initiative, a delegation of ulema and other religious leaders from Indonesia accompanied Mohammad Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, who is visiting India at the invitation of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
During his visit to Indonesia, Doval had invited Mahfud to attend the second India-Indonesia Security Dialogue in Jakarta on 17 March.
Mahfud, the Indonesian counterpart of NSA Doval, accepted the invitation to visit India and had expressed a desire during the visit to bring a delegation of ulemas and leaders of other religions in Indonesia to India, where they could meet in a more “formal setting” officials have said.
The India Islamic Cultural Center organized a dialogue on the role of ulema in promoting a culture of interfaith peace and social harmony in India and Indonesia.
The dialogue aims to bring together Indian and Indonesian ulemas and scholars who can foster cooperation in promoting tolerance, harmony and peaceful coexistence, Doval said in his opening address at the conference.
“Contemporary challenges of religious radicalization and extremism in India and Indonesia were discussed, along with the need to counter disinformation and propaganda that can hinder peaceful coexistence between adherents of different religions,” the statement said.
Given the key role of ulemas and other religious leaders, as well as education in countering radicalization and extremism, participants agreed on the need to work together to develop common narratives about deradicalization, it said.
Discussions were divided into three sessions — Islam: Continuity and Change, Harmonizing Interreligious Society: Practice and Experience; and countering radicalization and extremism in India and Indonesia. Former Union Minister MJ Akbar and Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retired) and Khusro Foundation Chairman Akhtarul Wasey addressed the gathering from the Indian side. Indonesian Ulema Masykuri Abdillah, M. Cholil Nafis and Abdul Moqsith Ghazali alongside Abdul Mu’ti and M Zaitun Rasmin addressed their respective sessions. “The religious leaders agreed that better understanding between different religions is a constructive element in the effort to build harmonious societies. The participants denounced all hate speech, prejudice, propaganda, demonization, violence, conflict and condemned the misuse of religions for these purposes,” the statement said.
The religious leaders of both countries with huge Muslim populations – Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world and India the third largest – emphasized the need to contribute all possible efforts to building mutual understanding, trust and respect in order to have safe, peaceful , and affluent societies, it said.
“The ulemas also shared views on the experience and practice of Islam in multifaith societies such as India and Indonesia. They valued the ubiquity of religious freedom, pluralism and equality before the law in both societies,” said Doval. Previously, Doval said in his opening address that the ulemas play a leading role in educating the people about the original tolerant and moderate principles of Islam … and countering radicalization and extremism with progressive ideas and thoughts.
He underlined the threat posed by radicalization and said opposition to extremists and terrorists should not be portrayed as confronting any religion.
Highlighting the important role of ulemas in Islamic society, Doval said the aim of the discussion is to bring together Indian and Indonesian ulemas and scholars to promote tolerance, harmony and peaceful coexistence, which will help the fight against violent extremism, terrorism and radicalization. will strengthen.
Doval insisted on the need to develop a common de-radicalization narrative, saying that in a democracy there is no place for hate speech, prejudice, propaganda, demonization, violence, conflict and misuse of religion for narrow purposes.
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