Hojat-ol-Islam Mohammad Mehdi Imanipour, head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), made the remarks in letters to Shri Kumar Tuhin, Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and Ramesh Chandra Sinha, chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
Invitation to peaceful coexistence and respecting followers of every confirmed religion has been stressed by all religions and India, on this path, has always been a role model for coexistence, noted Imanipour.
Recent news on conflicts in India had surprised and saddened the Muslim community and freedom-seekers across the world, he added.
“In today's complicated world, it is expected that invitation to coexistence and tolerance, which is the continuation of the perpetual tradition of tolerance and the spirit of peace that rules this country, would not allow extension of oppression that an extremist minority is conducting against the Indian Muslim community.”
The prosperity of the men in the global community relies on tolerance and guaranteeing the basic rights of citizens, he said, adding, religious leaders and key cultural and spiritual figures are expected in this violent atmosphere to take the lead in ending this situation and prevent distortion of the image of India in the public opinion of the world.
Pressures and attacks against Muslims in India have increased in the past months. In one of the final incidents last week, local media reported that several schools in the Indian state of Karnataka had denied entry to Muslim girls wearing hijab, citing an education ministry order.
Karnataka’s chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced on Tuesday that all high schools in the state would be closed for three days. He also appealed for calm.
Female Muslim students say wearing hijab is a fundamental right to religion guaranteed by the constitution.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governs Karnataka, where 12% of the population is Muslim. The ban has galvanized fears among the Muslim community about what they say is increasing persecution under the Hindu nationalist government.