Indologist Koenraad Elst says "…make it uncool to be Muslims" at the Goa conclave of the Hindutva Right, draws flak

Koenraad Elst

Utorda: Former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali Saturday walked out of the India Ideas Conclave 2014 held in Goa protesting the anti-Islam remarks by Belgian Indologist Koenraad Elst.

“I am appalled at what I heard from the platform about insulting Islam and insulting the Prophet. One can criticize this, that and the other but don’t insult. To try to destroy the whole faith is wrong”, Abdelsalam al-Majali said while walking out of the event organised by India Foundation whose directors include Union Minister Suresh Prabhu and Shaurya Doval, son of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

“We came here to understand each other and try to be peaceful. It is very sad to be at such a conference to hear insults on a religion which is followed by over one billion people”, he added.

According to the Indian Express, Elst while addressing the session on ‘Religion — Tolerance and Terror’ at the India Ideas Conclave 2014, said: “On the whole, you should make it uncool to be Muslims. That will help them. You do not forcefully need to convert them. Through this, they will themselves outgrow Islam.”

Referring to the row over the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaign, Elst said: “The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is coming under criticism for the one thing that they are doing very well which is Ghar Wapsi. We need to liberate Muslims from Islam. Every Muslim is an abductee and must be brought back.”

Elst anti Muslim rant was also criticised by Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, former secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Countries, who lodged a protest with the organisation.

“We are hearing a speech of hatred. You cannot use your freedom of speech to hurt others. I was very happy being here until I heard this speech of hatred”, Dr. Ihsanoglu said.

Gunnar Stalsett, Bishop Emeritus of Oslo, and others also questioned the “demonization” of an entire faith.