It is not Sweden but Saudi Arabia that is attracting attention these days for introducing measures that would make its society and country inclusive of different religions. One could hardly suggest a better way to bring reforms in a country known for decades to export the Wahhabi version of Islam, often feared for its intolerance of other religions.
But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has unveiled a massive educational program known as Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which aspires to bring the ancient Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata into the kingdom’s school curriculum.
Denmark might be winning the soccer matches these days in the European Championship, but there are more people practicing yoga in this country than those who play soccer, but they don’t attract the media attention. There are Danes who have become practitioners of yoga, but successive governments have done nothing to integrate Hinduism or Buddhism, or for that, the epic scriptures of Ramayana and Mahabharata in the school curriculum.
The focus in this part of the world still remains on the monolithic religions of the world, even though people often define themselves as non-religious.
Sweden is in the headlines for different reasons. Crime and rape rates in the country are skyrocketing like never before. Recently, six women were killed in just five weeks in Sweden, tarnishing the country’s centuries-old image as the safest and most tolerant place for women in the world.
We live in an upside down world where pragmatic measures, political calculations and miscalculations qualify nations as tolerant or intolerant. Even at the peak of their image as one of the most tolerant countries, none of the Scandinavian states have even thought about introducing measures at a distance to include the epic Hindu literature of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, even though the Vikings in the north have a system of similar belief. a thousand years ago.
It is time for a tolerant version of Islam to be considered and supported by one of the major Arab states. No other state could play this indispensable role other than Saudi Arabia. This is the first time that it can be mentioned that other countries can learn something from Saudi Arabia by making its school curriculum more inclusive.
While Iran is unable to shake off its harsh version, while Pakistan still sponsors Islamic jihad, one of its main sponsors of religious activities, Saudi Arabia, has turned its tide. It is time for the international community to stand behind the new crown prince for his courageous action and vision. It is a risky business in a part of the world where the mullahs and maulvis have had too much influence in the political game.
Saudi Arabia has taken a step of friendship with the Indian people. We absolutely must return the favor by accepting a moderate version of Islam and extending the hand of friendship to a state that has the potential to become a longtime friend in the region.
Reform should always have come from within the Islamic community for it to have a lasting effect, and if Saudi Arabia takes the initiative, it is possible that the waves will spread to the northern Arctic.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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