Sufi meet to Time interview: Six times Modi spoke on freedom of faith


Islam is a religion of “faith and peace”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, stressing the fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion.

Modi’s remarks came at a time his right-wing government is facing criticism over alleged religious and political intolerance.

“Of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence and the first two names denote compassionate and merciful,” Modi said at World Sufi Forum, in apparent bid to reach out to Muslims.

The Opposition and a section of the intelligentsia are critical of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has accused the “ruling establishment” of abetting an “atmosphere of fear, intolerance”.

The PM has been criticised for not speaking out on attacks on minority communities, and irresponsible comments by some BJP lawmakers have drawn flak.

“We must reject any link between terrorism and religion. Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious,” Modi said at the Sufism meet.

Modi said when the spiritual love of Sufism, not the violent force of terrorism, flows across the border, this region “will be the paradise on earth”.

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