Sufi Muslims to hold ‘spiritual summit’

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SHAFAQNA – A body of Sufi Muslims — All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board — has announced that it will hold the first World Islamic Spiritual Summit in New Delhi in March.

The organisers claimed that the conference aims at apprising the world that Indian Muslims are the followers of Sufism and Islam was not a religion propagating terror. The members of the board include clerics from the country’s leading dargahs.

On August 27, founder and president of AIUMB, Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhowchhawi, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi along with 40 other clerics pledging to work with the PM in countering terrorism and fundamentalism.

The four-day conference will be held between March 17 to 20 and will be attended by representatives from Central Asia, South East Asia, Africa, USA and Europe — particularly Egypt, Morocco, India, Bosnia, Pakistan, UAE and Syria. The inaugural function will be held on March 17 at Vigyan Bhawan, followed by conferences on March 18 and 19 at the Indo-Islamic Cultural Centre and a public meeting on March 20 at the Ram Leela Maidan.

The organisers said though several international authorities will attend the meet, they are yet to decide on inviting the PM for the event.

“Vice-President Hamid Ansari will be invited. Since several foreign ministers will attend the event, so obviously someone from the Union government will be present as per protocol,” AIUMB spokesperson Maulana Abdul Moid Azhari said.

The PM, during his recent address at Wembley stadium in UK, had referred to the Sufi tradition of Islam as “the best antidote to terrorism”.

“If Sufism had been propagated more in Islam, people would not have picked up guns…,” he had said.

“It is true that Modi has praised Sufi tradition but we have to discuss before inviting him,” said Azhari.

Speaking on the objectives of the event, Azhari claimed that efforts are on to present Sufi Islam as a rival to religious terrorism and extremism and to acquaint the Centre and the world that most Indian Muslims believe in Sufism and not in extremism.

“The conference will illustrate that mainstream Sufi Sunni Muslims are peace loving and live in harmony and will eradicate the cancer of extremism and intolerance in the name of Islam,” he added.

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