Addressing a gathering here, "We cannot view Islam as an alien faith. Our Muslim brethren are honoured citizens of India. This is the land of your forbears; this is the land of your birth; and this is where you will live and work."
"It is a matter of pride for us that all major religions of the world, including Islam, exist and thrive in India," he said.
"A nation can ignore its minorities only at its peril. The golden rule in a democracy is that it is the duty of the majority to protect the minority, be it religious, racial or linguistic. It is a self-evident rule. It is a rule that is firmly rooted in the universality of human rights," he noted.
More than 5,00,000 people, including about 10,000 clerics, are attending the seminary"s annual conference in Deoband, about 150 km from New Delhi.