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 Relating terrorism to Islam betrays prejudice

 India’s vice president

By IANSO     ctober 27th, 2009

NEW DELHI - No religion condones terrorism and those seeking to attribute its origin to Islam display ignorance or “downright prejudice”, India’s Vice President Hamid Ansari said Tuesday.

Terrorism is not of “recent origin but globalization and technology have now made it transnational in reach and devastating in its impact”, he said.

Ansari was speaking after inaugurating the second international conference on terrorism organised by the Jama Masjid United Forum (JMUF) here, attended by leaders and Islamic scholars from many countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Morocco and Sudan.


“It (terrorism) cannot be, and has not been, condoned in any belief system and yet at different points of time, adherents of various religions have been labelled as terrorists. Those trying to locate the origin of terrorism in Islam or in any other faith display ignorance of history or downright prejudice,” said Ansari, who is also chairman of the Rajya Sabha.


Ansari said it was “important to remember that those advocating extremist, fundamentalist and terrorist causes constitute a tiny minority”.


“They neither have the religious nor political mandate for their abhorrent actions and ideologies.”


He said a majority of humanity is too poor and struggling to survive. “Their vulnerability lies in their poverty; it is this that provides an opportunity to peddlers of extremism. This opportunity gets fructified only because those tasked with political governance and religious and moral leadership have failed.”


He said terrorist acts “emanate from a radicalization of the mind propelled by perceived grievances and sought to be anchored on ideology or faith.


“The steps taken so far by individual states and the international community are essentially preventive or punitive, aimed at dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism, and do not deal sufficiently with the mental orientation that leads to terrorist acts.


“Combating terrorism thus becomes a sociological, psychological and political effort as much as a security one; the corrective effort on each of these needs to begin simultaneously rather than sequentially,” he said.


He said the initiatives like the conference by the Jama Masjid United Forum would contribute to better understanding of the phenomenon of terrorism and means of tackling it, both nationally and internationally.


The JMUF is an NGO promoted by Imam Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, one of India’s biggest mosques, to promote peace, communal harmony and better understanding of religions in today’s conflict-driven world.




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