In a first, PM Modi praises Islam, hosts envoys from Muslim nations
New Delhi: In an effort to reach out to Muslims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday praised Islam for emphasising on importance of education.
Citing the teachings of Quran, Modi said, “The Quran mentions the word 'ilm' (knowledge) 800 times. It is among the most repeated words after Allah. This is the importance of knowledge in the religion."
The audience included high commissioners of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and envoys of Muslim nations such as Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt and Indonesia.
The occasion was of the launch of the book 'Education of Muslims: An Islamic Perspective of Knowledge and Education - Indian Context' by historian JS Rajput and India Islamic Culture Centre president Sirajuddin Qureshi.
Emphasising on the need of education in the SAARC region, Modi said: "Education can become the strength of the entire SAARC region. If the region does not embrace modernity, it will get left behind, as the rest of the world progresses."
PM Modi, who broke a tradition by not hosting Iftar parties last year, expressed his good wishes to the guests for the month of Ramzan starting in a few days.
The meeting was the first occasion where Modi hosted high commissioners of Muslim countries for an informal tea.
Highlighting the country's diversity, the Prime Minister said it is the ‘good fortune of people living in India' that we have the opportunity to follow, understand and learn so many different religions, and strands of thought at one place.
Modi said that as India is now free of polio, it is ready to assume responsibility for eradicating it from the entire SAARC region.
He also spoke about India's plans to launch a SAARC satellite, which will work for the benefit of the entire SAARC region.