New Delhi, March 2: Keeping in mind the urgent need to tackle continued violation of human rights through use of terror by jihadist forces, more than 200 international dignitaries from 20 countries will be attending the first World Sufi Forum to be held in the national capital in March.
The four-day event from March 17th-20th which is being organized by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) will involve discussions by leading global Sufi scholars, academicians, social workers on various important issues pertaining to Islam.
The event is focused on finding constructive ways to spread the Islamic message of peace and tolerance as counterpoint on the ever rising global violent extremism. The event organizer - AIUMB is India's apex body for sufi shrines and for Muslim religious leaders such as Ulama, Imams and Muftis.
Speaking on the importance of organizing this mega event in India, Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf, founder-president, AIUMB and one of the most influential Sunni-Sufi leaders in India said "We believe it is high time for us to create a platform to seriously ponder over the radical interpretations of Islam by terror groups for political gains. The spread of terror and tyranny by jihadist forces in Syria and other parts of the world has damaged the image of Islam more than ever before. However we are of the belief that Indian Muslims can provide a real alternative to all the bloodshed being spilled across the world in the name of Islam by promoting their rich history of Sufism."
"Sufism stands for Peace, Tolerance and Unconditional Love and we aim to promote these virtues of Islam through our World Sufi Forum event. Through World Sufi Forum we intend to make India the global centre for moderate ideology in Islam" added Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf.
At World Sufi Forum, AIUMB has gathered the brightest Sufi visionaries and intellectuals from around the world to discuss the issues of extremism and find ways to work out effective counter-narratives. The event provides a platform to explore new alternatives in response to the ever-evolving socio-politico-economic nature of modern society by exploring the relevance of Sufi teachings, tradition and culture.
Few of the leading speakers and attendees of the event include Dr Tahirul Qadri (Pakistan), Shaykh Hashimuddin al-Gaylani (Sajjada Nashin: Khanqah Qadria, Baghdad, Iraq), Stephen Suleman Schwartz (Founder and Executive Director of Center for Islamic Pluralism, USA), Shaykh Afeefuddin Al-Jailani (Founder and Chairman of Al-Wariseen Trust, Iraq), Sheikh Mohammad Bin Yahya Al-Ninowy (Sufi Leader, USA), among others.
Stressing on the need promote and reinforce Sufisim in India to counter imported doctrines and idealogy of extremist groups, Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf said "Islam was warmly accepted and then later grew in India largely due to the teachings of Sufi masters who promoted concepts such as mutual respect, tolerance, brotherhood and love towards other communities.
However in the recent past import of radical and extremist ideology which claims to be representative of true Islam has brought immense loss to image of Islam and Muslims in India. Any extremist organisation waving Islamic flags and misusing the holy Qur'an such as Daesh and ISIS have actually no endorsement in the ambit of Islam.
They are nothing but terror outfits which are tarnishing the image of Islam. It is therefore important to realize and unearth the propaganda of such people and organizations that are funded by foreign entities to spread hatred and intolerance to disrupt peace and harmony in a country such as India."
Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf also said that World Sufi Forum will encourage Indian Muslims to promote an environment of peace and pluralism in the country as well as the world over.
The 4-day World Sufi Forum will be inaugurated on March 17th at Vigyan Bhavan; followed by two-day session at India Islamic Cultural Centre, Delhi. The final day will witness congregation of over one lakh followers of Islam in India who will be reaching Delhi from across India to attend the final session of the Forum at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi on March 20th.