Jordanian King’s special talk on Islam – momentous moment for counter-extremism

Convergence of ideas of India and Jordan for  real values of Islam-religion of peace

J K News Today commentary


It is going to be a  momentous moment at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi  on Thursday when King  of  Jordan Abdullah II bin Al-Hussain  will speak  on  the need to counter the current wave of extremism that is besmirching the fair name of religion  of Islam that stands for peace .

The King of Jordan is currently on  a three-day visit of India that began  on  Tuesday  and during which India and  Jordan  are scheduled to sign memorandum of understanding in health, manpower and health sectors . But the most important is their commitment to counter the phenomenon of extremism.

This convergence of  the ideas  of the two countries   against extremism are likely to be highlighted in  King  Abdullah II ‘s  lecture on the subject “  Islamic Heritage: promoting understanding and moderation .” This top chosen by the King himself is having universal appeal as the threat posed by the global terror networks of ISIS and Al-Qaeda  is posing a serious threat to world peace .

In defeat , ISIS poses greater danger as its fighters are  most likely to return to the countries of their origin  and that can upset the stability of those countries. The need to  counter and neutralize this threat forms a common theme that India and Jordan have fostered for the overall stability and peace in the strategic region of  West Asia and South Asia.

This visit has to be seen in the context of  India’s “ Think West policy”  to give it a new boost  and make it robust in all manners  as this visit of  King Abdullah II of Jordan has come within a short span after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘s transit through Amman to Palestine . This remarkable visit of Modi to West Asia earlier this month ,which included  Jordan, the UAE and Oman was described as “ history in the making..”

On the first leg of his  his tour of West Asia, PM Modi had met with King Abdullah II in Amman. This was the first visit by  any Indian Prime  Minister to Jordan in 30 years . Both the countries look for closer cooperation since diplomatic relations were established in 1950.

Now, Jordan King’s visit emphasizes  continuity in India’s engagement with West Asia. It will definitely enhance  collaboration  between the two countries in business, investment, trade and technology .  But one wonders how India and Jordan can take  a joint venture into counter-extremism?

In this context,  the special talk of King Abdullah  II tomorrow  is expected to highlight India’s role in combating extremist thoughts by averting the threats of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Anther significant aspect is that Urdu translation of the bok written by King Abdullah’s cousin and renowned Islamic thinker , Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad  work on Islam titled “ A thinking Person’s Guide to Islam” would be released by Prime Minster at the same venue.

Notably, when King Abdullah  launched the “ Aqaba” process of de-radicalization , Prime Minister Modi as part of  the “ Aqaba” meetings, instituted new mechanisms for cooperation in counter-extremism . It appears that not only  Muslim countries , even Indian government is cognizant that counter-terrorism is not possible without engaging with the community’s leaders to guide the vulnerable sections , and that without explaining the true essence of Islam, any effort aimed at  de-radicalization will prove futile.

PM’s key note address at  World Sufi Forum  serves as a guide . In his address he had counted 99 names of Allah and remarkably stated : “ When  we think of the 99 names of Allah , none stands for violence , and that the first two names denote Compassionate and Merciful ( Rehman and Raheem).” Quoting from the world’s   Sufi scholars , PM had averred : “ Islam rejected violence  and the idea of division  on the basis of religion” and that Sufism in India is the voice of co-existence , altruistic service  to mankind and composite nationalism.

It is gratifying to note that Indian Muslims  have come together to cooperate with the Government to create this melody. In India,  leaders of all Islamic  denominations ( Sunni, Shia, Barelwi , Deobandi etc) and all schools of Islamic jurisprudence ( Hanafi, Shafi’I, and Maliki) and even on an individual level, every prominent  Muslim leader and thinker has categorically denounced the extremist tendencies . As a matter of fact, most-anti-extremism Fatwas emanated from India’s ulema and muftis ( Islamic jurists).

Both in Sunni-Sufi leadership’s conclave at Ramlilla Maidan ( World Sufi Forum) in March 2016  and JamiatUlma –e-Hind’s multi-religious  conference  ( Aman and Ekta Sammelan ) at Indira Gandhi Indoor in October 2017, thousands of Indian Muslims came together to adopt a declaration of Pluralism and counter-extremism, castigating every of violence as anti-Islamic ( ghairIslami), ‘anti-national’ ( khilaf-e-wattan)  and ‘anti-humanity’ ( ghairisani). Even the relatively conformist Islamic outfits like Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis, Jamat-Islamliand Tablighi Jamat launched anti-terror fatwas loudly claiming to protect the  Muslim society from the ideological influences of the violent extremists. In fact, the rescue of Islam from the false schools bred by outside interests started from India.

It is expected that King of Jordan ‘s special address  on Thursday  will highlight  India’s religious plurality  as a key to success in mitigating the influence of extremist Islamist groups such as ISIS and al_Qaeda. An official involved in the planning of the visit said.

Since India and Jordan share counter-terror strategies, their bilateral ties  will be well received in combating the forces of radicalism. Commenting on how India and Jordan can tackle the common threat of religious extremism, Ashok Sajjanghar, President of Institute of  Global Studies ( Former  Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia) writes: “ It has been reported that Prime Minister  Modi and King Abdullah II  will address an event themed on measures against radicalization  of youth. This reflects their conviction that the scourge of terrorism  and violent extremism cannot  be dealt with by force alone but that a counter-ideology of amity, concord and harmony is urgently needed. Both the countries share the view that nations must coordinate their positions to fight against  the misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and justifying terrorism.”

Most importantly , King Abdullah’s vehement  opposition to the Takfirist ideology which Ashok Sajjanhar cogently pointed out, has earned him global support in countering extremism. His declaration of the “ Amman Message” unraveled a crucial Islamic consensus  ( ijma’a) of the world’s leading Muslim scholars in the capital of Jordan. They developed an  Islamic consensus ( iJma’a) on three points: ( 1) inadmissibility of accusing  others apostates ( takfirism)) ( 2) inviolability of their blood , honour and property ( 3) audacity of those of those not qualified in issuing religious rulings or fatwas. In the Assembly for Moderate Islamic Thought and  Culture convened in Amman, King Abdullah II stated: “ True Islam  forbids wanton aggression and terrorism enjoins freedom of religion, peace, justice and good-will to non-Muslims . It is also a message of good news, friendship and hope to the whole world.”

Several Indian Islamic scholars including A P Aboobacker Musliyar of Kerala, Maulana  Mahmood Madni  and Prof. Akhtaul Wasey were among the participants of the Amman Message against Takfirism. They strongly believe that if the Amman Message is practiced in its letter and spirit , it would an end to the pernicious spade of violent extremism.

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