Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jordanian President King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein addressed a select gathering of religious scholars and leaders at a conference on ‘Islamic Heritage: Promoting Understanding and Moderation’ at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan.
Before the commencement of their respective speeches, PM Modi presented the first copy of the Urdu translation of the book ‘A Thinking Person’s Guide to Islam’ to King Abdullah II.
Written by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, the book has been translated by Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, who was present at the gathering.
In his welcome address, the PM hailed Jordan as a “holy land from where God’s message reached the world through the voices of saints and prophets”.
“India has been a cradle for all the major religions of the world,” the PM said adding that India and Indians have considered the whole world as one family.
Highlighting India’s religious tradition from before the time of Gautam Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi, the PM also mentioned how the life of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya was a testimony to India’s pluralistic tradition.
“Whatever language they may speak, whether they pray at a mosque, temple, church or gurudwara, Indians are proud of their pluralistic heritage,” the PM emphasised.
“Democracy is not just a political system, but a celebration of our age old plurality,” he said as the Jordanian King listened intently.
“Our heritage and values, the messages of our religions and their morals are the strengths with we can defeat radicalism,” PM Modi highlighted.
“Those who attack humanity in the name of religion do not understand that they are attacking the religion in the name of which they unleash violence,” the PM said.
Calling for the need of getting youth connected to moderate Islam as well as modern science, the PM said that he envisions Muslim youth to have “Quran in one hand and computer in another”.
Asserting that India will walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Jordan, the PM praised the efforts of the Jordanian King against deradicalisation.
In his speech, King Abdullah II praised India’s pluralistic society and said that the truth is that faith should draw humanity together.
He condemned those who spread hate in the name of religion.
“Hate in the name of religion distorts the words of God,” the King said adding that around the world suspicions are inflamed by different groups who don’t know about others.
He emphasised that only those who “act righteously” are the most honourable in the eyes of God.
“To act righteously is my faith and this is what I teach my children,” King Abdullah II said underlining that he grew up learning the compassionate teachings of Islam.
“Every day while growing up every day I learnt that it was a Muslim’s duty to defend the defenceless and help those in need,” he said.
The King cited the example of his great-great-grandfather, Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, who helped the displaced and persecuted Christians refugees during World War I find refuge in the Arab lands.
“My father passionately believed that leadership at any level means serving for the hopes and the good of others. This is my duty rooted in our religion Islam,” the King said.
Calling for unity, peace and tolerance, the King exhorted the world to reject the misinformation promoted by extremist groups against Islam or any other faith and “take back the airwaves and the internet from those voices”.
“Today’s global war against terror is not a fight between different religions or people. It is between all faiths and communities against extremism, hate and violence,” the King pointed out.
At the Vigyan Bhavan, the King urged the youth to draw inspiration from the great scientific achievements of both Islamic and Hindu religions.
King Abdullah II urged everyone – Muslim and non-Muslim – to reach out the hand of friendship to each other.