External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is in Abu Dhabi to attend the foreign ministers’ meet of the powerful Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states, on Friday raised the issue of terrorism and said the menace is caused by “distortion of religion” and “misguided belief”.
Swaraj, amidst Indo-Pak tensions following the Pulwama terror attack, attended the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting as the guest of honour.
Related Article:MBS’s visit helps India-Saudi ties move beyond Oil and Energy
Sawaraj said the fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. “It cannot be,” she said. Swaraj’s did not name Pakistan in the address.
It is for the first time that India has been invited to a meeting of the OIC, an influential grouping of 57 Islamic countries, as the guest of honour.
The MEA said Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited Swaraj as the ‘guest of honour’ to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.
Addressing the inaugurational session of the two day meet, Swaraj told “Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence. Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood”.
India’s engagement with the OIC comes in the midst of escalating tension between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi did not attend the meeting over the failure of the grouping to rescind the invitation to Swaraj.
“Terrorism and extremism bear different names and labels. It uses diverse causes. But in each case, it is driven by distortion of religion, and a misguided belief in its power to succeed,” Swaraj told the leaders of the major Muslim countries.