The All India Ulama & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) hosted a four-day ‘World Sufi Forum’ from 17-20 March 2016 in New Delhi. The event included an international seminar and a grand public conference, attended by hundreds of Islamic scholars, Sufi luminaries, writers, journalists, university academicians, social activists, etc. from across the world. The event was aimed at finding more constructive ways to spread the Islamic message of peace and tolerance, discuss the issues of extremism and find ways to work out with effective counter-narratives.
India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in his inaugural address emphasised that the world must advance the message of Sufism that stands for the principles of Islam and the highest human values. He reiterated India’s abiding belief in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the World is one Family. He said that the event is extraordinary as it comes at a critical time for humanity when the world needs a call to universal brotherhood.
Of particular significance were his comments about Islam where he said that the Islamic civilization stands on the solid bedrock of a great religion. Islam has historically engaged with diverse civilizations and as it enriched itself, it also enriched the world. The 99 names of Allah denote compassion and mercy, encapsulating the spirit of Sufism and of Islam.
India has a distinct Islamic heritage which can be seen in the fields of art, architecture and culture, and the spiritual and intellectual traditions of India. The values Islam espouses, of peace, diversity and equality of faith, are the need of our times. The highest ideals of Islam have always rejected the forces of terrorism and extremism and he urged for the revival of this glorious heritage.
A copy of PM Mr. Narendra Modi’s full speech is enclosed with video links.