Pan-Islamic tenets fail to appeal: Akbar
India’s secular democracy has ensured that pan-Islamic ideologies, like those professed by terror groups like Al Qaeda and Islamic State, don’t attract minorities in the country, said Minister of State for external affairs M.J. Akbar.
“Indian Muslims are the only Muslims in the world, who as such a large community, have enjoyed seven decades of continued democracy,” Mr. Akbar told an audience of international experts at a conference on “Tackling Insurgent Ideologies” in the capital.
Delivering the keynote address at the conference, Mr. Akbar added that what was important was that India wasn’t just a democracy, but a secular democracy.
“I’m proud to say I live in a country where the call of the azaan, the temple bells, gurudwara kirtan and church bells ringing follow each other each day,” he said, adding in a lighter vein that Indians “don’t believe in silent secularism, of course.”
In recent weeks, several surveys including a British study of the Islamic State on social media platforms like Facebook called “Spiders of the Caliphate” have found that Indians have a negligible presence on the Jihadist network online. The studies have concluded that “India’s Muslim population is largely resistant to both al-Qaeda and IS recruitment,” although it faced elements of the “virtual caliphate” on its borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Referring to India’s problem with “cross border terrorism” indicating Pakistan, Mr. Akbar said nations created on the basis of religion had contradictions at their premise.
“Those who believe religion could be the basis of nationalism or creation of a state, actually deny the logic of nation-state. If Islam was the basis for a state, why would there be 22 Arab states, where they all share one religion and speak one language (Arabic)?” he asked.