Abu Dhabi, March 1 (IANS) In an obvious attack on Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that states which shelter and fund terrorists must be told to dismantle terror camps on their soil.
“If we want to save humanity, then we must tell the states which provide shelter and funding to terrorists to dismantle the infrastructure of the terrorist camps and stop providing funding and shelter to terror organisations based in that country,” she said here on Friday.
Swaraj was speaking at the conference as a “Guest of Honour”, a first for India. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi kept away from the OIC meet due to her presence.
Her remarks, without naming Pakistan, came three days after India targeted a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama suicide bombing in Kashmir which killed 40 CRPF personnel. The Pakistan-based JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Swaraj said that terrorism and extremism bear different names and labels and use diverse causes. “But in each case, it is driven by distortion of religion, and a misguided belief in its power to succeed.”
She said the fight against terrorism is not a confrontation with any religion.
“It cannot be. Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence. Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood.”
“It is a verse in the Holy Koran which says La Ikrah fiddeen – Let there be no compulsion in religion. And Sura Al Hujurat says “O Mankind! We created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one another, not that you may despise one another.”
Swaraj said the menace of terror cannot be defeated solely through “military, intelligence or diplomatic” means but must be won by “strength of our values and message of religion”.
“It is also a battle, that must be won through the strengths of our values, and the real message of religions. This is a task that states, societies, sages, scholars, spiritual leaders, and families must pursue, through personal contacts and on social media.
“And, for this faiths must speak to faiths, cultures must engage cultures, communities must build bridges, not erect walls, the youth must shape the future, not destroy lives.
“This is not a clash of civilization and culture but a contest between “ideas and ideals,” she said and also referred to the remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity.
“Terrorism and extremism bear different names and labels. It uses diverse causes. But in each case, it is driven by distortion of religion, and a misguided belief in its power to succeed,” she said.
The Minister also spoke about India’s ancient civilisational values, its ethos of pluralism and its eternal message of peace.
“God is one but learned men describe Him in many ways,” she said, adding that Swami Vivekananda said that this phrase from the Rig Veda has “given the theme to all subsequent thoughts in India, and one, that will be the theme of the whole world of religions”.
Swaraj said the world is witnessing sweeping changes, multiple challenges and there were global shifts in power.
The world, she said, is also seeing the human and economic costs of climate change and “witnessing the terrible daily destruction in senseless terrorist violence”.
“It is destroying lives, destabilising regions, and putting the world at great peril. The reach of terror is growing, Its lethality is increasing and the toll it is taking, is rising. In the rich diversity of Southeast Asia, in West Asia, and the Gulf, in North Africa, and Sahel region, in Europe, and North America, in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and India, we see the terrible face of terror,” she said.
The minister said the OIC is making a new beginning at 50 years of its “completion and “the choices you make, the direction you set, will have a profound impact on humanity”.
“The OIC has a huge responsibility and a great opportunity to lift humanity to a higher level of peace and prosperity, and to make this planet a better place, not just for your people, but for rest of the world.”
She said India will work with the OIC to spread the true meaning and mission of all religions, promote respect for and between faiths, counter the language of hate with the message of harmony, advocate moderation over extremism and pluralism over exclusion, inspire youth to the path of service than of destruction, build bridge of understanding and reduce barriers across culture” and religions.
She cited a couplet by Guru Nanak Dev about one God being the origin of all humanity and a remark by former President APJ Abdul Kalam about righteousness ultimately leading to peace in the world.
Noting that she comes from the land of Mahatma Gandhi where every prayer ends with the call for peace for all, Sushma Swaraj conveyed her support and solidarity in “your quest for stability, peace, harmony, economic growth and prosperity for your people and the world.”
Swaraj said “the world we leave” should be infinitely better “than the one we inherited” and the mission has “brought us together in Abu Dhabi.”
She said India was the fastest growing economy and will work to ensure that the path to development remains open to all and the global trade regime is open, stable and fair.