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Sufism "inspiring antidote" to jihadist terror: Granoff

Sufism is an "inspiring antidote" to jihadist terror and a "positive enregy" needed to triumph over radicalisation, ex-vice president of UN's NGO committee on disarmament Jonathan Granoff today said.

His statement comes ahead of the four-day World Sufi Forum starting tomorrow which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Entire world, East and West, needs to rethink and reform its existing strategy on countering jihadist terror. Sufism is an inspiring antidote which awakens the human capacity for love, service, compassion and peace.

"This is the positive energy needed for success against radicalisation and terror," a statement quoted Granoff as saying.

Granoff, also president of Global Security Institute, pitched for a "comprehensive approach" that addresses causes of "political distortions of religion" from paths of peace, hope and human unity to "chaos of violence, exclusivism and fear".

He was critical of organisations and establishments which distort religious teachings to suit their own vested interests.

The Quran explicitly says there must be no compulsion in religion. Those who preach and practise intolerance and fail to pursue peace might use the language of Islam but fail to follow its tenets, he said.

Granoff, who is scheduled to speak at the forum, said anyone who "distorts" Islam as a religion that "excludes" other religions is "simply wrong" and "must be challenged".

"Nations which promote this distortion must be convinced to change," he said.

Granoff is among the 200 national and international participants from over 20 countries who are here to speak at the Forum, organised by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), an umbrella body of various 'dargahs' (shrines) across India.

Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ashraf, founder-president of AIUMB, seconded Granoff and said radical outfits such as IS can be defeated "not just militarily but by countering this diseased ideology" through counter narratives of Sufism which contain essence of classical Islamic teachings.

"Unfortunately, much has changed in the last few decades, with Islamic theology being distorted to spread extreme radical ideologies through various networks."

The Forum will involve discussions by leading global Sufi scholars, academicians and social workers on various important issues pertaining to Islam, the statement said.