Chidambaram in Deoband: Condemn communalism in word and action (Lead)November 3rd, 2009 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS
Deoband (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 3 (IANS) Emphasising that communalism was against “pluralism” and opposed “political freedom to people”, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Tuesday called for tolerance to “strengthen the strands that bind civil society”.
“Communalism is the negation of pluralism. Communalism also opposes modernity, rejects the idea of civil society, and opposes political freedom to the people,” Chidambaram told a gathering of clerics and followers at the Deoband seminary here.
More than 500,000 people, including about 10,000 clerics, are attending the seminary’s annual conference in Deoband, about 150 km from New Delhi.
The home ministry reminded the gathering, which had only last year issued a fatwa (decree) against terrorism, that civil society was based on a compact and tolerance was at the core of this compact.
“The sharper the differences, the greater must be the degree of tolerance. When this compact is eroded, the foundations of civil society are shaken. It is our duty to spread the message of tolerance and strengthen the strands that bind civil society,” he said.
“In the final analysis, it is the assurance of political freedom, and all the rights associated with such freedom, that will defeat communalism.”
The home minister condemned all manifestations of communalism and said: “The worst kind of communalism is unleashing communal violence. Violence and violent means to achieve any objective is the antithesis of a civilised society governed by the rule of law.
“The demolition of the Babri Masjid was a manifestation of religious fanaticism and an act of extreme prejudice. Likewise, taking to the path of violence in the name of religion must also be deplored in unequivocal terms.”
Recalling the contribution of Muslims to the freedom struggle and then the building of modern India, Chidambaram said India could not view Islam as an “alien faith”.
“We cannot view Islam as an alien faith. Our Muslim brethren are honoured citizens of India. This is the land of your forbears; this is the land of your birth; and this is where you will live and work. It is a matter of pride for us that all major religions of the world, including Islam, exist and thrive in India.”
“A nation can ignore its minorities only at its peril. The golden rule in a democracy is that it is the duty of the majority to protect the minority, be it religious, racial or linguistic. It is a self-evident rule. It is a rule that is firmly rooted in the universality of human rights,” Chidambaram said at the conference being organised by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.
Hailing the clerics for their bold declaration denouncing terrorism, Chidambaram said: “I regard that decree as a call to duty to not only Muslims but to all right thinking people. I would urge that more voices be raised, loudly and clearly, against terrorism and all forms of violence.”
–Indo-Asian News service
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Tags: antithesis, babri masjid, civilised society, clerics, communal violence, communalism, extreme prejudice, freedom struggle, home ministry, manifestation, modern india, modernity, negation, pluralism, political freedom, religious fanaticism, seminary, strands, union home minister, uttar pradesh