An outfit representing Sufis on Sunday asked the government to alleviate the “sense of fear” among Muslims over riots even as it urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rectify “historical blunders” in India that brought in extremist ideologies threatening the community.
The All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) also urged governments across the world including the Modi government to “revive” Sufism in their bid to combat terrorism.
“There is a sense of fear among Muslims due to riots. The government should alleviate this fear and Union Home Ministry should spell out what steps have been taken with regard to all the small or big communal incidents and riots that have taken place so far in different parts of the country,” the AIUMB said in a 25-point declaration released at a mass congregation at Ram Lila Maidan to mark the conclusion of the first World Sufi Forum here.
Addressing the congregation, AIUMB president Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichuachwi asked Prime Minister Modi to “rectify historic blunders” and pay heed to the community’s demands including initiation of measures to tackle the trend of replacing Sufism by extremist ideologies.
Mr. Kichuachwi expressed concern that there have been “concerted efforts” to weaken Sufism in India and to replace it with “extremist and radical” ideologies and sought the government’s intervention in arresting the trend.
“In the past few decades, there have been concerted efforts to weaken Sufism in India and replace it with extremist and radical ideology… The phenomenon is dangerous, not just for the Muslim community but also for the country. We request the Prime Minister to rectify these historical blunders,” he said.
The AIUMB president also said there has been a lack of representation for majority of the Muslim populace on “key positions” and urged the government to look into it. The outfit denounced “every course” of sectarianism and described it as “threat to India’s solidarity.”
“We request all governments of the world, especially the government of India, to extend full cooperation for the revival of Sufism,” it added.
Asked about the alleged “atmosphere of intolerance,” Mr. Kichuachwi said, “We cannot determine the picture based on a few incidents. We should treat these as causes for alarm. We should try and ensure that our Ganga-Yamuna culture is not affected since there are signs that it is being weakened. Then we should try and strengthen it.”
The four-day World Sufi Forum, inaugurated by the Prime Minister, was attended by delegates from 22 countries.
Influential Pakistani cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri drew thousands to the last day of the four-day event. In his lengthy speech, the cleric identified terrorism as the common enemy of both India and Pakistan.
He urged the Indian and Pakistani establishment “to reflect as to whether they will remain enemies forever?”
The declaration also demanded the creation of central Sufi centre in New Delhi and in all capital cities for the promotion of Sufi literature, Sufi culture and music and for the establishment of a university in the name of Sufi saint Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz.