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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

No place for hate speech, demonization in a democracy: NSA


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New Delhi: In a democracy there is no place for hate speech, demonization and misuse of religion for narrow ends, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Tuesday addressing an interfaith peace and social harmony conference of Ulemas and scholars of India and Indonesia at India Islamic Cultural Centre here.

“We need to work together to develop common narratives on de-radicalization. In a democracy, there is no place for hate speech, prejudice, propaganda, demonization, violence, conflict and misuse of religion for narrow ends,” said Doval while stressing on the role of Ulemas in “educating the people on original tolerant and moderate principles of Islam.”

“It’s here that the Ulema have a pivotal role to play… Our youth should receive special attention towards this end. They are often primary target of radicalization, but if their energies are nurtured in the right direction, they can emerge as harbingers of change and building blocks of progress in any society,” he said.

The NSA said that the essence lies in disseminating the positive discourse far and wide, and not merely in reacting to the agenda set by inimical forces.

“State institutions also need to come together in detecting and identifying potential negative influencers and share information to counter their activities. In this, Ulemas, due to their deep connect with civil society, can play a vital role,” the NSA emphasised.

The NSA said that extreme and terrorism is against the very meaning of Islam because Islam means peace and well being.

He said that opposition to such forces (extremists and radicals) should not be painted as a confrontation with any religion.

“None of the ends for which extremism, radicalization and the misuse of religion are employed are justifiable on any ground. This is a distortion of religion against which all of us need to raise out voices,” Doval said.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for the Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Dr Mohammed Mahfud MD is in the capital on invitation of NSA Ajit Doval. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation of Ulema and various Islamic scholars.

The two attended the conference on interfaith peace and social harmony aimed to bring together Indian and Indonesian Ulema and Islamic scholars to promote tolerance, harmony and peaceful co-existence to counter fight against violent extremism, terrorism and radicalization.

The NSA said that both India and Indonesia have been victims of terrorism and separatism.

“While we have overcome the challenges to a considerable extent, the phenomenon of cross border and ISIS-inspired terrorism continue to pose a threat. Cooperation of the of the civil society is essential in countering the threat from ISIS inspired individual terror cells and returnees from theatres like Syria and Afghanistan,” said Doval.

The NSA began the address by condoling the loss of lives in the recent earthquake in Indonesia.

“I want to say how saddened we all feel by loss of lives and damage to property from the earthquake in Indonesia. Our deepest condolences to victims and their families. We wish a speedy recovery to the injured. India stands with Indonesia in this hour of grief,” the NSA said.

He highlighted the vast and extended economic and cultural contacts between the two countries saying both countries play important role in flourishing democracies in the Indo-Pacific region.

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