There is nothing like Islamic terrorism as terrorism has no religion and is rejected by good people the world over, including Muslims, says Rashad Hussain, the Indian-origin US special envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
'Religious leaders throughout the world and communities should make it clear that this (terrorism) is an ideology that is rejected by people in all faiths and has roots in no religion,' Hussain, an American of Indian descent who is tasked with bridging the gap between America and Muslim nations, told IANS.
'Our policy is that if governments work together and people work together, then we can address this issue effectively,' Hussain who is on a nine-day visit to India.
The envoy said terrorism is not connected with Islam.
'I reject the idea that there is something like Islamic terrorism. There is nothing Islamic about terrorism,' he said.
'Acts of terrorism are committed by people of all faiths...there can be many reasons for that. Recently we saw attacks on Muslims by Muslims, nearly 80 percent or higher of the victims are Muslims,' Hussain said, calling upon all religions to join the fight against the scourge.
'Terrorism is something that has no religion, it is rejected by good people all over the world, including Muslims, Hindus, Jewish, Christians and that is why we must work together to eradicate this problem,' he said.
Son of an Indian migrant couple from Bihar, Hussain is both a Quran scholar and an ardent North Carolina Tar Heels basketball fan.
Hussain's father, a mining engineer, moved from Bihar to Wyoming in the late 1960s. A few years later, during a visit to India, he married Hussain's mother, now an obstetrician in Plano.
After the 2008 presidential election, Hussain was recruited to the White House counsel's office where he has worked on national security and new media issues, and helped inform the administration's Muslim outreach efforts. Ben Rhodes, Obama's chief foreign policy speech writer, sought Hussain's counsel last year as he drafted the president's Cairo address reaching out to Muslims.
The 32-year-old, who is the youngest person to have been appointed ambassador by US President Barack Obama, said both India and Pakistan are important strategic partners for the US.
'United States will continue to work with India as a part of our partnership...we have a comprehensive counter-terrorism partnership by which we are working together,' he said adding the links with Pakistan were equally important for peace in the region.
'We have a rather strong partnership with Pakistan just as we have with India. We'll continue to work with Pakistan on issues that are important for our people and we believe it is not just important for people of the United States but for the people of Pakistan, India and the entire region,' Hussain said.
Coming down heavily on those promoting violence, Hussain rejected the idea of terrorism being reactionary to certain policies.
'There is no justification that if you have any complaints against some policy that you should go and kill any other people. We see that as unacceptable,' the envoy said, adding that the notion has been rejected by Islamic scholars all over the world.
'Anyone who is educated and has properly studied Islam has rejected this. People who are advocating this idea are people who are uneducated and have a lack of understanding of Islam,' Hussain stressed.
The envoy urged people and communities across the globe to come forward against terrorism, especially the youth who have been influenced by the idea of terror in the name of religion.
'People all around the world must make sure that this message reaches the youth, particularly those that might be influenced by the other message,' Hussain said.
(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)