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Why is the visit of Muslim World League’s Sheikh al-Issa to India important?

Sheikh Issa visit is very significant as he is close to Saudi Crown Prince MBS and represents the reformative phase of Islam in the Royal Kingdom.

After having intensive discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed Abdul Karim al-Issa, the Secretary General of Muslim World League will call upon Indian President Draupadi Murmu and meet other political and Islamic and non-Islamic religious dignitaries in India till July 15.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval hosted a lavish dinner for Sheikh Issa on Tuesday with leading Islamic clerics such as Maulana Mehmood Madani, President of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, and Maulana Asghar Ali Mehdi, head of Ahle-Hadees, attending the show apart from Sufi clerics from Ajmersharif Dargah. Prior to that, Sheikh al-Issa addressed a large congregation at Islamic Center in Delhi, where he publicly appreciated the history and diversity of India and maintained that Indian Muslims were proud of their country. He said that India is a great model of co-existence to the entire world and it was the duty of all Indians to be patriotic.

Speaking at the same function, NSA Doval said that terrorism was not linked to any religion and that spiritual leaders were needed to counter extremism. He said it was no coincidence that despite India having 200 million Muslims, the involvement of Indian citizens in global terrorism was incredibly low.

While India’s adversaries like Pakistan and its allies in the Middle-East are trying to accuse the Modi government and India of Islamophobia, the timing of Sheikh Issa visit is very significant as he is close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and represents the reformative phase of Islam in the Royal Kingdom. Voice and face of moderate Islam, Sheikh Issa has given religious sanctity to the major empowerment of women in the Saudi kingdom under the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. Today, steps have been taken in Saudi Arabia to take into account the convenience of its citizens while offering prayers with a big no to loudspeakers and restricting the prayers to homes and mosques. Now women can drive in Saudi Arabia and have been radically empowered by the present Crown Prince.

While all the schemes announced by Prime Minister Modi are non-discriminatory and beneficial to all, his adversaries in the country and the west often raise the “Hindutva” agenda to threaten the minority community in India. Opposition parties also force multiply into this minority agenda to secure their vote banks and ensure that Indian Muslims stay away from the ruling BJP despite minorities being beneficiaries of all government welfare schemes.

Apart from extending all DBT and Health schemes to all citizens including minorities, PM Modi has also made significant efforts to counter the anti-Muslim narrative being spread around by Pakistan and its Muslim brotherhood allies in the Middle-East. He invited Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as chief guest for the 2023 Republic Day and then visited Cairo last month for the first bilateral visit by an Indian PM since 1997. He is travelling to the United Arab Emirates on July 15 to meet President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and expand bilateral ties. And there is diplomatic buzz about PM Modi travelling to Kuwait later this year.

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