Peace and tolerance are the central values of Islam, which is a much-maligned religion in these times through its unfair association with acts of terrorism, speakers at a seminar said on Monday.

Addressing the seminar on “Islam and Non-Violence,” hosted by the Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought in Islam, Islamic scholar Moosa Raza said Islam was an inclusive religion that rejected all forms of extremism, though it was unfortunate that the world was looking at Muslims through the metaphor of the suicide bomber.

According to Mr. Raza, the Government of India, which was sympathetic to the betterment of Muslims, could help remove any feeling of insecurity in the community by ensuring that the funds allocated to the Ministry of Minority Affairs were fully utilised. He pointed out that during a recent review, the Ministry had spent only 3.50 per cent of an annual allocation of Rs. 1,850 crore.

Religious pluralism

Andrew T. Simkin, U.S. Consul General in Chennai, said India and the U.S. shared a deep commitment to the freedom of religious expression. Citing U.S. President Barack Obama's Cairo speech last year, Mr. Simkin said moderation in religion should not be confused with dilution of core values. “The stronger one's faith the stronger one's ability to respect the faith of others,” he said. Asghar Ali Engineer, Chairman, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, said the fundamental values of Islam such as truth, justice, benevolence, compassion and wisdom were all synonyms of Allah. Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali said the despicable acts of a few should not be allowed to sully an entire religion.

R. Nataraj, Director General of Police, Shakeel Akhtar, Additional Commissioner of Police, Zackriah Badsha, Forum president spoke.

Keywords: Islam studies