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Saudi envoy walks out

An international jurists’ conference on terror in the capital on Saturday witnessed high drama when Saudi Arabia’s ambassador Faisal-al-Trad walked out protesting comments by noted jurist Ram Jethmalani blaming Muslim nations for the spread of terrorism, reports Harish Nair.

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2009 00:56 IST
Harish Nair

An international jurists’ conference on terror in the capital on Saturday witnessed high drama when Saudi Arabia’s ambassador Faisal-al-Trad walked out protesting comments by noted jurist Ram Jethmalani blaming Muslim nations for the spread of terrorism.

Holding people from the community across the world “largely responsible” for the spurt in terrorism, Jethmalani alleged that the “Wahabi terrorism” indoctrinated “rubbish” in the minds of young people to carry out terrorist attacks.

Wahabism is a conservative school of Islam, which originated in Saudi Arabia.

Jethmalani said India should break all ties with countries that supported Wahabi terrorism. Significantly, the remarks were being made while he shared the dais with President Pratibha Patil, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan at the main hall of Vigyan Bhawan. Many other important international dignitaries were also part of the audience.

Moily, the next speaker, hurriedly distanced the government from the remarks: “I entirely disagree with the views. Terrorism cannot be attributed to any particular religion”, he said.

The ambassador, who stood outside the hall fuming, returned only after the host, Adish Aggarwala, the President of International Council of Jurists, told him about Moily’s statements and persuaded him to come back.

Earlier Jethmalani also attacked the policy of non-alignment and Panchsheel saying: “You have to align with forces of good to combat the forces of evil...India and its foreign ministers must learn to reassess the doctrines of past.”

Reacting to it, Moily said “India's commitment to non-aligned movement would not be shaken by any country or any individual.

CJI warns media

Speaking at the seminar, CJI Balakrishnan criticized the media for unrestrained coverage of terror attacks saying it could provoke a disproportionate level of anger among people, which could lead to irrational desire for retribution.

Balakrishnan said if terrorist attacks were attributed to individuals belonging to a certain community, it may result in unreasonable discrimination and retaliation against ordinary members of that community.