Modi: Indian Muslims will live for India, die for India

Updated 20 September 2014
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Modi: Indian Muslims will live for India, die for India

NEW DELHI: India’s new prime minister has dismissed Al-Qaeda’s plan to set up a South Asia branch, saying it was “delusional” to think the country’s Muslim minority would follow orders to wage jihad in the region.
“They are doing injustice toward the Muslims of our country,” Narendra Modi said in an interview with CNN broadcast on Friday.
“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.”
It was Modi’s first reaction to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s announcement this month that the group would set up a new operation to take the fight to India, which has a large but traditionally moderate Muslim population, as well as Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Millions of Muslims fled India for what is now Pakistan in 1947 when the British Empire partitioned the two countries at independence, and tensions persist between those who remain and the Hindu majority.
Indian Muslims have also been the victims of violence led by Hindu extremists. Hundreds died during the 2002 Gujarat riots, at a time when Modi was the state’s chief minister.
But there have been relatively few reports of young Indian men leaving to fight Islamist causes abroad, which experts say is because local grievances have kept them at home.
Modi said the threat from Islamist extremist groups was “a crisis against humanity, not a crisis against one country or one race.
“We have to frame this as a fight between humanity and inhumanity, nothing else,” he added.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was accused during the election campaign of trying to polarize votes along religious lines.
Party president Amit Shah faces charges of inflaming tensions in a speech during the campaign.
But in a widely-praised Independence Day speech in August, Modi said communal violence was “stalling the growth of the nation” and had gone on for “too long.”


Afghanistan starts anti-polio drive in high-risk areas

Updated 23 January 2019
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Afghanistan starts anti-polio drive in high-risk areas

  • Assurances given that vaccinators will not be targeted by militants
  • The war-torn country had 21 cases of polio last year, among the highest worldwide

KABUL: The Afghan government has launched a polio vaccination program covering 5.4 million children in high-risk areas, officials said on Tuesday.

The one-month campaign to inoculate children under 5 years old started on Monday after assurances from tribal chiefs and clerics that vaccinators will not be targeted by militants, and that families will allow their kids to get the lifetime immunization, the officials said.

The war-torn country had 21 cases of polio last year, among the highest worldwide. Among the reasons were health workers’ lack of access due to violence, and families preventing their children from being vaccinated because of the perception that it is hazardous to their health, said Waheed Mayar, chief spokesman for the Public Health Ministry.

Some vaccinators were killed by suspected militants in past years while touring villages. “This year, we’ve received assurances from villagers, tribal chiefs and clerics that they’ll make sure vaccinators are allowed (to do their work) as vaccination is essential for their children,” Mayar told Arab News.

High-risk areas include parts of western, southeast and central Afghanistan, the Public Health Ministry said.

“We will have five vaccination campaigns for the first half of 2019. We are using this time to build immunity among our people,” Public Health Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz said in a statement.

“We need to work together to end polio for the world… We need to help each other, open our doors, get our children vaccinated,” he added.

“Our children are innocents and rely on us to protect them from preventable paralysis. We cannot let them down.”

Parents should plan to have their children at home and available to be vaccinated during the campaign, the ministry said.

“The polio vaccine is safe, even for sick and newborn children. It is very important these children get the vaccine because they have lower immunity, which makes them more susceptible to the virus,” the ministry added. “Polio vaccination has also been strongly endorsed by national and global Islamic scholars.”