Indonesia is world’s largest Islamic country and India has the third largest Muslim population in the world. This makes India and Indonesia home to the world’s largest Islamic populations, said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at an event in India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi.
“Much like in India, Islam in Indonesia was spread by traders from present-day Kerala and Gujarat and Sufis from Bengal and Kashmir. This peaceful spread led to the development of a syncretic culture, where not only pre-Islamic religions flourished side by side, but age-old traditions and local customs greatly influenced religious practices,” the NSA said. “We may speak different languages, but we share a common desire for peace and harmony. Our dialogue today is a vital medium to help us achieve that objective,” he said.
He was addressing to a team from Indonesia, which comprised leading Indonesian Muslim scholars and members of other faiths, during a debate on the role of ulema in building interfaith peace and societal harmony in India and Indonesia.
According to Doval, Indonesia is a significant neighbour of India and our two countries have many complementary traits. “For 1600 years, up until the 14th century, we had extensive and broad ties in terms of our cultures, economies, and spirituality. These interactions taught us the value of being open, involved, and respectful of differences “he said.
“None of the ends for which extremism, radicalisation 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 our voices. Extremism and terrorism are against the very meaning of Islam because Islam means peace and well-being (Salamati/Asalaam). Opposition to such forces should not be painted as a confrontation with any religion. That is a ruse,” the NSA said.