Extremism, intolerance not an expression of a religion called Islam:Ansari

Extremism, intolerance not an expression of a religion called Islam:Ansari

Submitted by Newseditor on Fri, 2015-11-06 13:36 On board Air India One, Nov.6 (ANI): Urging for greater religious tolerance and communal harmony in society, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who returned from a five-day visit to Indonesia late on Thursday night, said extremism and intolerance in any form does not have or find expression in the spirit of a religion called Islam. “Extremism is a political aberration for whatever reasons, valid or less valid. The whole world knows from us (India) about plurality of society. Indonesia is another example of a country learning from us. Nowhere, is the performance for promotion of communal harmony, religious tolerance and plurality of society 100 percent, the aspiration for it, however, is 100 percent, the vice president said in response to a question on the reason why Indian society is accepted the world over for its plurality during an interaction with media on board the special aircraft that was en route to New Delhi. He stated that communal amity and religious tolerance had constitutional import and were core values enshrined in Indian society, and there was no question of debating on them. Replying to another question as to the content of his discussions with representatives of Muslim civil society in Jakarta, Indonesia, earlier in the week, Ansari said that in the Indonesian system, there are two very large social, not political groupings of the community with very high levels of membership, running into hundreds of thousands, and both of them were committed to the values enshrined in the Constitution of Indonesia, and worked within its framework. He said the representatives had mainly expressed their concern as to why the phenomenon of extremism is inextricably and unexplainably linked with or related to a peace-promoting religion like Islam. “”I expressed the view that there was and is a public perception emanating out of Western countries and others that somehow the agenda relating to Islam is being set in West Asia and I conveyed to them, that 50 percent of Muslims live in Arab countries and 70 percent live in Asia. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the region, followed by India, Bangladesh is third, Pakistan is fourth, and followed by Turkey, Iran and China (where the numbers are fuzzy). So out of the 70 percent (Muslims in Asia) 60 to 65 percent are from these five to six countries, and these are not committed nor are their Muslim populations committed to an agenda of extremism, either in terms of religion, or in political life,” Ansari said. “So, instead of looking at Islamic societies in terms of actual functioning and or looking at countries in West Asia who have their own political background and who have their own political problems in a contemporary sense, why not look at those countries; why not look at India or Indonesia and see how they have managed it (not committing to an agenda of extremism or religious intolerance),” he added. The vice president said India’s commitment to plurality and religious tolerance is “self-evident”. “”it is written down in the text of our Constitution as the Fundamental Rights. No political party says that intolerance is their agenda; everybody’s agenda on tolerance is the same. I am talking about the proclaimed agenda. If there is a shortcoming on this, then that is another matter,” Ansari said. (ANI)