World Bulletin / News Desk
Indian Muslim leaders hailed PM Narendra Modi’s first interview after assuming office in which he said the 170-million strong Indian Muslim community would live and die for their country referring to the loyalty and patriotism shown historically by India's Muslim community.
In his first interview after becoming country’s prime minister in May 2014, Modi told CNN on Friday that the patriotism of Indian Muslims could not be put to test.
“Indian Muslims will live for India and die for India. Al-Qaeda are delusional to think that Indian Muslims will dance to its tunes,” Modi said in the interview reacting to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s recent video in which he announced an Indian jihad.
“It is a powerful testament of his (Modi’s) faith and conviction on the Muslim community,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesperson and journalist M.J. Akbar told the Anadolu Agency (AA).
Akbar, a renowned nationalist author and Muslim, said Modi has given a very powerful message of inclusive nationalism.
“It’s a rigorous message across the world that Indian Muslims are loyal to the motherland and not provoked by dangerous misleaders,” Akbar said.
Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, president of the All Indian Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations, welcomed the statement by the Prime Minister.
“We welcome this statement by the Prime Minister. He took too long to discover the truth. Perhaps he knew it all along,” Khan told AA adding that the remark will convey a clear message to Muslim-baiters in the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP.
“It’s a good signal to Sangh Parivar, and all right-wing Hindu nationalist organizations and those elements who are portraying Indian Muslims in a poor light and question their loyalty to the nation,” he said.
Shahid Latif, editor of the largest Urdu daily Inquilab, told AA that Modi’s remark is not new as his predecessor Manmohan Singh had echoed the same sentiment a couple of years ago.
“What Modi said is an honest expression and historically proven interpretation of Indian Muslims,” Latif said adding that India’s Independence struggle from British colonialism was started by Muslims and until the end, they remained at the forefront though the partition of India played havoc."
“Indian Muslims firmly believed in their Indianness and played an important role in nation-building. Their love for their homeland is time-tested and remains unquestionable,” he said adding that Modi needs to discipline some of his fellow party men who are spitting venom against the Muslim community in the form of a sinister campaign of ‘Love Jihad’.
The ‘Love Jihad’ is a sinister campaign by right-wing Hindu organizations, many of them culturally aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, that Muslim boys are forcing Hindu girls to convert to Islam.
Indian news channel CNN-IBN, a subsidiary of CNN, said the full Modi interview will go on air on Sunday September 21.Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2014, 09:31