Indian and Indonesian Ulemas to discuss counter radicalisation among other issues

New Delhi: A delegation of Indonesian ulemas and other religious leaders accompanying Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mohammad Mahfud MD on a visit to India will hold a day-long discussion with their Indian counterparts on various topics, including countering radicalisation and extremism, officials said Monday.
National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had invited Mahfud when he had visited Indonesia for the Second India-Indonesia Security Dialogue at the NSA level on March 17, they said.
Mahfud, the coordinating minister for portfolios such as home, foreign and defence who is also the Indonesian counterpart of the NSA, accepted the invitation.
He had suggested to bring a delegation of interfaith religious leaders to share experiences with their Indian counterparts on the “role of Ulema in fostering a culture of interfaith peace and social harmony in India and Indonesia”.
The delegation which will arrive here on Monday evening will huddle together at the India International Cultural Centre for a day-long interaction on Tuesday with Indian counterparts representing leading Islamic luminaries from Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Lucknow-based Asifi mosque, and the Bohra community among others.
A meeting of the minister with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also being contemplated, they said.
The day-long discussion will be spread over three sessions — Islam: Continuity and Change, Harmonising inter-faith society: Practice and Experience, and Countering Radicalization and Extremism in India and Indonesia.
Officials said the discussions are separate from a formal “interfaith dialogue” that takes place under the External Affairs Ministry channel but it has an “element” of that process
The discussion will be opened by Doval and Mahfud and the two leaders will move to their official discussions which will cover a “broad agenda” ranging from maritime security, infrastructure projects, and burgeoning defence cooperation, they said.
A joint statement will be issued after the event, they said.
The largest archipelagic nation having the second largest Muslim population in the world has been discussing issues related to de-radicalisation and extremism with India in the “law and order domain” in which senior police officials from that country have visited here at the invitation of top intelligence officials, they said.
The civic interaction also happens between ulemas of both countries at informal settings but this interaction will take place in a “structured fashion” with a “particular objective”, they said.
Ulemas play an important role in the Muslim community and interfaith interactions are important to ensure that religion is not used as a source of conflicts or violence and that faith can build bridges, they said.
Mahfud along with the delegation will go to Agra on Wednesday to visit the Taj Mahal and the nearby fort at Fatehpur Sikri. PTI


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