India disturbed by rise of intolerance worldwide: E. Ahamed

November 13th, 2008 - 12:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownUnited Nations, Nov 13 (IANS) India was disturbed by the rise of intolerance worldwide and troubled by the resources being made available to groups that misuse religion to “propagate their extremist agendas”, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed said here.Addressing an inter-faith meeting of the UN General Assembly, Ahamed said Wednesday that modern society should not tolerate extremism and violence.

An initiative of Saudi Arabia, the meeting is being attended by some 70 heads of state and high-level officials. These include Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Israeli President Shimon Peres, US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Stressing that inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue was not new in India, the minister said the historical tradition of dialogue in the country had drawn upon respect for knowledge, willingness to question as well as a desire to learn.

Emphasising the significance of dialogue among different culture and religions, Ahamed said it was in the absence of such dialogue and understanding that intolerance, bigotry and violence flourished.

“This is one reason why extremist ideologies, violence and terrorism have grown in a world in which we seem to be moving away from dialogue and understanding. There can be no disputing that terrorism, which is a manifestation of extremism, intolerance and violence, is the antithesis of all religions,” he said.

Asserting that India was disturbed by the rise of intolerance worldwide, Ahamed said: “We are troubled by the increase in resources, financial and otherwise, that are being made available to violent and intolerant groups that misuse religion to justify and propagate their extremist agendas.”

The effort to counter such tendencies diverts attention and much needed resources from development efforts in a country like India. Moreover, the destructive activities of such groups can have potentially serious consequences to social stability, peace and tranquility, he argued.

Stating that countries of the world must come together to tackle such evils, Ahamed said: “Modern societies cannot and should not tolerate extremism and violence. Those who consciously or unconsciously abet extremism and terrorism would be well served to remember that these are monsters that may not easily go away.”

The two-day interfaith meeting concludes Thursday with a joint statement. US President Bush and British Prime Minister Brown are scheduled to address the meeting later Thursday.

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