Indian Muslims will live and die for India, and the al-Qaeda is “delusional” if it thinks they will dance to their tune, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in an interview ahead of his US visit.
“My understanding is that they are doing injustice to the Muslims of our country. If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional. Indian Muslims will live for India, they will die for India — they will not want anything bad for India,” Modi said in an interview to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
He was responding to Zakaria’s question on the al-Qaeda chief’s video and appeal on an al-Qaeda in India-South Asia which would free Muslims from the “oppression” in Kashmir and Gujarat.
To a question about very few Indian Muslims being a part of the al-Qaeda, although it exists in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, Modi said he saw it as a fight between “humanity and inhumanity”.
“I’m not the authority for doing a psychological and religious analysis on this. But the question is whether or not humanity should be defended in the world. Whether or not believers in humanity should unite. This is a crisis against humanity, not a crisis against one country or one race. So we have to frame this as a fight between humanity and inhumanity, nothing else,” he said.
Asked if India and the US could develop a genuinely strategic alliance, Modi said, “I have a one word answer, and with great confidence I say — yes.
Let me explain — there are many similarities between US and India. If you look at the last few centuries, two things come to light — America has absorbed people from around the world, and there is an Indian in every part of the world. This characterises both the societies. Indians and Americans have co-existence in their natural temperament. Now yes, for sure, there have been ups and downs in our relationship in the last century. But from the end of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century, we have witnessed a big change. Our ties have deepened. India and the USA are bound together, by history and culture. These ties will deepen further.”
Responding to a question on whether there is a genuine desire from Washington to try and upgrade the relationship with India substantially, he said relations between the two countries should not be seen “within the limits of just Delhi and Washington”. “It is a much larger sphere. The good thing is that the mood of both Delhi and Washington is in harmony with this understanding. Both sides have played a role in this,” he said.
While they welcomed Modi’s statement, Muslim organisations wondered whether this would be sufficient to stop BJP leaders from making hate speeches against the community.
“This is a very good statement he has made and it should be appreciated without any reservations. There should not be any politics in that,” said Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind general secretary Mahmood Madani.
“We welcome PM Modi’s statement that Indian Muslims will never support a terrorist organiation like al-Qaeda. We are happy that he has read the Muslim community’s mood and resolve correctly,” said Zafarul Islam Khan, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat.
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