Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-09-04-Speech-4-236"

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"For a long time, India was a stable country with Hindus and Muslims coexisting peacefully alongside one another. Last week's terrorist attacks in Mumbai might well spell the beginning of increasing violence between representatives of the religious communities. I certainly hope it will not. One of the suspects has already indicated that with this act, he wanted to take revenge for last year's anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, which claimed the lives of 2 000 Muslims. Developments in India over the past fifty years had been typified by cultural diversity and a heterogeneous society. Over the past ten years, however, we have witnessed increasing alienation between Muslims and Hindus. The immediate cause is the issue involving the temple of the god Ram. The root cause, however, is to be sought more in the area of looming Hindu nationalism, where faith and national identity coincide. Hindus fear Muslims and Christians, particularly demographically speaking. Finally, needless to say, friction with Pakistan is continually placing a heavy strain on relations between them, including in India. The Indian Government should take the problems seriously, and it appears now to be doing so. An escalation must be avoided at all costs. I have tabled an amendment in which the Indian Government is urged to draw up a plan of action in this respect. India is not the only country that is facing tension between religions. Almost half of the recent violent conflicts in the world have a religious dimension. Consequently, I have expressly asked for this issue to be highlighted in my human rights report. An institutionalised dialogue should be set up between the most important world religions. The European Union should also look into this issue. For a long time, India was a good example of the peaceful co-existence of religions. It should pull out all the stops in order to again become the peaceful, stable country which it had been for such a long time."@en1

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