PM Modi may attend global Sufi meet in Delhi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the first World Sufi Forum (WSF) – an event that will highlight India as the “global centre for moderate” Islam – to be held here this month, organisers said.

Over 200 renowned Sufi scholars from 20 countries, including Pakistan, will attend the event. Muslims constitute the largest minority in India.

Organisers have invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the March 17-20 meeting organised by the All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), its founder president Syed Muhammad Ashraf told IANS on Tuesday.

AIUMB is India’s apex body for Sufi shrines. The event is focussed on finding constructive ways to spread the Islamic message of peace and tolerance as a counter to rising global violent extremism, Ashraf said.

“We believe it is high time for us to create a platform to seriously ponder over the radical interpretations of Islam by terrorist groups for political gains. The spread of terror and tyranny by jihadist forces in Syria and other parts of the world has damaged the image of Islam more than ever before.”

He said: “Indian Muslims can provide a real alternative to all the bloodshed across the world in the name of Islam by promoting their rich history of Sufism.”

Those invited include Tahirul Qadri from Pakistan, Shaykh Hashimuddin al-Gaylani and Shaykh Afeefuddin Al-Jailani from Iraq, and Stephen Suleman Schwartz and Sheikh Mohammad Bin Yahya Al-Ninowy from the US.

The event will be inaugurated on March 17 at Vigyan Bhavan, followed by a two-day session at India Islamic Cultural Centre here.

The concluding session will be held at Ramlila Maidan on March 20 where a huge number of participants is expected from across India.