Islamophobia

“Bloodiest story of human history” and its long shadow on a resurgent India

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Never since the bloodbath of the Partition in 1947 which cost two million lives have Muslims and Hindus been so disenchanted with each other as of now and understanding its complexity could steer clear a resurgent India from becoming a prisoner of its past.

Rioters have taken to streets, cost lives and burnt public property worth millions since the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed by the Parliament in the closing days of 2019. Despite Indian prime minister Narendra Modi putting all doubts to rest with a rousing speech to a mammoth crowd in the Capital, there has been no letting up on the angst on either side.

The Act in essence eases up the citizenship process for the persecuted religious minority, including Hindus, in three Islamic republics of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but its opponents want Muslims covered too even though they are not in minority in these countries and there are other avenues for them to gain Indian citizenship.

First students of a few Muslim educational institutions and then the rioters have made violent headlines and now supporters of the Citizenship Act are filling up the streets, albeit peacefully, but there is little mistaking that Muslims and Hindus are standing on the two sides of the great divide.

“Bloodiest story of human history”

Hindus historically resent almost a millennium-long persecution (8th to 18th century) at the hands of Muslim invaders who forged empires and inflicted what historian Will Durant described as the “bloodiest story of human history.” The wounds festered further when India was amputated of its western and eastern parts on the call of Muslim leaders on religious grounds by the departing British in 1947. The newly-formed Pakistan since then has forced India into four wars and supplied terrorists to turn Kashmir into a killing field. That scores of riots between the two since independence has claimed more than 10,000 lives has only bloodied the nation’s fabric.

Hindus further simmer that the Congress party, which ruled most in independent India, has “appeased” Muslims with funds and doles, created a minority affairs ministry with a separate budget and yet championed “secularism” from the rooftop. Muslims have control on their religious and educational institutions but the same is denied to Hindus. Hindus fear that such “appeasement” could cause another break-up of India like it did at the independence.

Muslims, on their part, largely detest the rise of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which Hindus view as essentially one of its own.  The party is in its second term with full majority under a hugely popular prime minister Narendra Modi who arguably has done more for Indian Muslims than Congress. Yet a series of events, such as overturning of triple talaqs (instant divorce), abrogation of special rights to Jammu and Kashmir and the favourable judicial verdict for a temple for Hindus’ deity Lord Rama in Ayodhya, has made sizeable number of Muslims long-faced.

A doctored Liberal narrative

The Liberal discourse, which controls the narrative, has largely tried to whitewash India’s violent experience with Islam and tried to present a composite Hindu-Muslim history though the truth is the great tradition of India’s ascetics and saints never caught the fancy of Muslim hearts. Nor India’s rich philosophy mattered to Muslim invaders but for a handful of notable exceptions.

Indian and Muslim literatures have largely run a parallel course. Pre-Muslim Indian history or Hindu heroes find no mention in Muslim annals. Muslim rulers have largely been indifferent to India’s magnificent traditions of sculpture. Some synthesis in language and music, or architecture, has been spruced up as proof of harmony. But it’s a stretch of imagination. Oppressors have never been seen indigenous by natives anywhere in the world. For example, Thanksgiving Day carries completely different connotations for White Americans than it does for Red Indians. While one celebrates it as the day when Pilgrim Fathers stepped on to the American soil, the Red Indians view it as a day of mourning.

The present disquiet has reopened the old wounds. While it is true that Indian Muslims by and large are peaceful, as perhaps are their majority in the world, yet it only takes a few to cause upheavals around the globe and bring Islam’s violent historical past on to the centrestage. Muslims need a credible, constructive leadership, at least in India, which speaks up against entitlement, support moves which free up their women from hardliners, and backs the long-pending Constitutional demand of a Uniform Civil Code which could help get rid of a few regressive Sharia (Islamic) laws. Till a voice emerges from within for one people, one nation, the historical suspicion of two-nation theory, which gave birth to Pakistan, would remain fresh in the mind of Hindus.

Liberals ensure that anything that makes Muslims uncomfortable must be branded as “hate” or “Islamophobia.” This puts the reformation on back-burner. Till it’s encouraged, societies around the world would be convulsed into turmoil, be it in Europe or in India.

 

Civil War in India: Are we condemned to such a fate?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

A tweet video is trending in which a Muslim is caught having just broken an idol of Hanuman and uttering that he did it in the name of the Allah.

We do not where and when it happened. We don’t know the name of the offender. We don’t know what happened to him thereafter.

Five years ago, when Modi had just ensconced himself in Centre, there was a recorded event of a Hanuman idol being attacked in Andheri (W) in Mumbai. As the news spread and devotees began to mass around the temple agitated, the possibility of an ugly turn to events was real.  However police was able to persuade the seething crowd to cool off.

Last year a temple in Howrah in West Bengal was ransacked with portraits of Hindu gods and goddesses thrown in mud. If you click on this link, you would find various attacks on Hindu idols in temples in Pakistan, Bangladesh and even United States.

I am not writing this to contrast the outrage which Lutyens Media had shown three weeks ago when a skullcap of a Muslim was thrown on the ground and police had later contested that the victim might have actually kept the skullcap in his pocket. I am also not trying to whip up an outrage among Hindu majority. And I am certainly not trying to paint millions of Indian Muslims in a corner who I believe are largely peaceful.

My point is larger and the instance I quote is of Lebanon to show how stray incidents, if not checked, snowball into something monstrous.

On April 13, 1975, a few gunmen of a PLO (Palestine Liberation Organiztion) faction barged into the Church of Notre Dame de la Deliverance in East Beirut and opened fire on the VIPs present, killing four people.

It was a religious transgression and it began the civil war in Lebanon which lasted for 15 years (1975-1990).  Around 120,000 people were killed. By 2012, approximately 76,000 people had been displaced within the country. There was also an exodus of over one million people.

It was a flashpoint and sure the genesis of it was building up over the years. At the turn of the century, Lebanon was a Christian-majority country. It was a model nation of liberal values. By 1950s, Lebanon had entered into its golden age. Politically stable, economy booking, excellent tourism, exemplary banks, envied even in Western world and termed as the Swiss of the Middle East.  After Israel, it was the most prosperous country in the Middle East and this too without oil as its backbone.

It began to change when Lebanon opened its border to accept hundreds and thousands of Palestinians during 1948-1967 period, a stretch when Israel became a nation and fought wars with Arab nations. The Muslims’ demography in Lebanon was already booming: Having 10 children in family was a norm. With the influx from across the border, the demographic equation changed, religious battles for turfs became common and Civil War loomed. A flash point was all it needed to wreak havoc.

I am not getting into the debate about the role of demography, about Islam’s ideology of propagation of faith or its resort to violence to achieve its goal. My point is still larger and its’ something which liberal world could either choose to dismiss it as Islamophobia or gird up its lions to deal with it.

We all know that the adherents of Islam are 1.20 billion in the world. That majority of them are peaceful. That only 10-15 percent, or a few millions it is, who cause horror. But this number is enough to bring the liberal world to a staggering halt.

Weren’t Germans by and large peaceful before Adolf Hitler and his ethnic cleansing program dragged them into World War II and caused millions to die? Wasn’t Joseph Stalin a role model of a “reformed” Communism who caused tens of millions to die of starvation and hunger in Soviet Union? Do we need to tell what Mao Zedong did to millions of his men? Do we need a reminder what 19 wood-cutters did to our world by bringing down the towers of World Trade Center?

Would peaceful majority of muslims deny that there are hundreds of Sharia courts in England which were unthinkable a few decades ago and which run parallel to the laws of the land? Would they disagree that there are dozens of areas in France which have been declared “no-go zones” even by the police?

Closer home, weren’t Indian muslims largely peaceful yet the Partition occurred in 1947? In view of historical and present facts, would they revisit their empathy for Rohingya Muslims? Or, to rethink if the so-called state aggression on “innocent” Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir could have a contrary viewpoint? How now do they view the “tukde-tukde” gang? How do they view the growing presence of Islamic State (IS) in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal? Do they have an opinion on Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute?

The crux is peaceful Indian Muslims need to stand up and be counted. At least those who are well-off and not struggling to meet their ends meet. They need to be angry on lynchings and be equally outraged on loses in the Hindu quarters.  They need to find a leadership within which speaks for say, Kashmiri Pandits and condemn terrorism.  The narrative of violent Islam needs a course correction and it must come from within the community. Or they would hand over the future of their own coming generations in the hands of a dreaded few.

As for Hindus, they need be aware of the danger of demography, the limits of secularism and the pitfalls of bookish “liberal” values.  Not for nothing it’s said: Those who refuse to learn from history, are condemned to repeat it.

 

Why Lanka terror holds such an important message for Indian Muslims

You might be aware of details but they bear a recount before I stress that reformation of Islam can no longer be swept under the carpet in the name of “Islamophobia.”

Sri Lanka’s spice king Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim and his third son are now under detention in Sri Lanka. Two of his sons, Ahmed Ibrahim (33) and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim (31) were suicide bombers who blew up dozens in two of Colombo’s five-star hotels—Shangri La and Cinnamon on Sunday. In between, Ilham’s wife Fathima set off a bomb which killed her three children and herself as police raided their luxury home in Deamatogoda.

Another member of the family, millionaire’s son Ismail, became a fugitive after Sri Lanka forces discovered stockpiles of explosives at a compound in Wanathawillua where it is now believed Easter Sunday’s terrorists were trained. Police got onto Ismail’s trail after his involvement to destroy Buddhist shrines at Anuradhapura came to light last year.

This is not a poor family. They were the creamy layer of the island’s political deities.  Sri Lanka had been good to them. Yet not one but all of them were sold to the ideology of hate and violence. How can now the Liberals of the world say that Islamic terrorists are the outcome of social and political oppression? Wasn’t Osama bin Laden a billionaire? Or the 9/11 bombers were filthy rich? If oppression makes Jihadi Muslims take to violence, how come other sufferers at the hands of “Satan US” haven’t turned into demons?

The longer free world keeps denying the violent ideology of Islam, farther we would be from rescuing Islam from itself. Just look at Islamist terror attacks around the world in the last dozen years, the Wikipedia entries run into scores of sheets, and you would have idea our denial is leaving behind a bloodied path for our children and grandchildren.

The adherents of Islam today number around 1.6 billion people or a quarter of humanity. Only 3 per cent of them are said to have violent leanings. That’s around 50 million individuals/families. Yet they have left the rest of over a billion peace-loving Muslims completely paralyzed. The moderate Muslims have no leadership. The reformist Muslims—such as Muhammad Taha, Irshad Manji, Maajid Nawaz, Abd al-Hamid Al-Ansari and Zuhdi Jasser among others (follow if not fund them)—are buried into obscurity by the Liberal world.

Yet this minuscule group of 50 million is adding thousands almost every month. The UN estimates in 2014, some 15,000 foreign fighters from at least 80 nations travelled to Syria to join radical jihadists. The Ibrahim family is a case in study. Tens of hundreds of youths of all nationalities and colour are being brainwashed by local networks before they are packed to Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh branches of Jihadi Islamists who then return and unleash terror in their home nations. This in turn further sinks peaceful local Muslims into a ghetto mindset, damaging generation upon generation, many of whom are easy pickings for violent ideology.

Why do I say Iraq, Pakistan and Bangladesh? Why local networks of Islamic State (IS)? What’s the fallout on local Muslims?

Let’s take the example of Sri Lanka terror attacks itself.  Intelligence points to the role of a Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba charity, Idara Khidmat e Khalq, in the attacks. It has been radicalizing Sri Lanka Muslim youths since 2004. One of the suicide bombers received training in Pakistan. Jammat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a terror group, through its Indian branch, is accused of pushing fake Indian currency and gathering classified information on India. Zakir Naik (yes, the same Naik who has vocal powerful supporters in India’s public space) has often given his virulent lectures in Sri Lanka.

A Pew study of opinions in the Muslim world shows how many in these countries hold extremist views. Three-quarters of Pakistanis and more than two-fifths of the Bangladeshis and Iraqis feel that those who leave Islam should be put to death. More than 80 percent of Pakistanis and two-thirds of Bangladeshis and Iraqis regard Sharia law as the revealed word of God. Only a tiny fraction would allow their daughters to marry Christians. Only a small number regard honour killings of women as unjustified. A quarter of Bangladeshi and one in eight Pakistanis regarded suicide bombings as legitimate.

The fallout on local Muslims is palpable in Sri Lanka. Reports say that Pakistani refugees in Sri Lanka are being subjected to violent attacks and are fleeing. Muslims in rented houses are being evicted by resentful neighbours.

Yet our Liberals are in complete denial. I doubt if you have read the above information in your newspapers. Instead, the apologists are sweet-liming the theory that Sri Lanka happened in retaliation to shootings in Christchurch. There is no admission that it’s violent Islam and its front-runners who are refusing to let a 7th century religion conform to realities of 21st century.

Somalian Muslim reformist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali says that Prophet Muhammad had two distinct phases of his life: (a) when he was wandering from door to door in Mecca and pleading to convert the local populace; (b) when he went to Medina and adopted a political philosophy to his creed.

Hirsi Ali classifies the Muslims of the world into three groupings: (1) Medina Muslims, the violent adherents; (2) Mecca Muslims or the peaceful ones; (3) and Modifying Muslims or the reformists.

Hirsi Ali suggests five essential reforms for Islam:

  • Prophet Muhammad’s semi-divine and infallible status and the literalist reading of the Quran, particular the parts which were revealed in Medina;
  • Investment in life after death instead of life before death;
  • Sharia, the body of legislation derived from the Quran, the hadith and the rest of Islamic jurisprudence;
  • The practice of empowering individuals to enforce Islamic law;
  • The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war

The Islamist attacks in Sri Lanka are first of a kind in the island nation. India has long suffered from such violent attacks. But our Liberals and disgraceful media never allow a truthful discourse.  They are also so much hand in gloves with the Marxists: A perfect example is a Muslim persecution in Xinjiang by China – yet our media, which takes out Mombatti jaloos (candle procession) on one unfortunate lynching, wouldn’t utter a word. You would have justifications for Zakir Naik, Rohingyas or state terror in Kashmir, Bengal and Kerala but never a word for Hindu refugees from Kashmir or those persecuted Hindu minorities who are being driven away in lakhs from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They would never utter a word against the practice of “Triple Talaq” and “nikah halala.” They would never promote a debate on Quran which is the first step in weeding out its ills. To term 100s of Islamic terrorist attacks as acts of individuals would never allow a hard look at its ideology.

That’s what makes them so dangerous. That’s what makes Indian Muslims believe they are the persecuted lot in India. That’s what makes them resentful against Indians and affect the perception on their commitment to the nation.

From an Indian perspective, I believe the Lanka terror attacks hold a very important message for Indian Muslims. They must enforce a debate on Islam from within. There’s no gain hiding behind a cloak of persecution complex, however hard our disgraceful media tries to weave the deceit. Things are not worse than they ever were for them in independent India. Their one act of support for the majority’s legitimate demands would earn them unaccountable respect from the masses. BJP or Congress, none would be able to leave them by the wayside. No Asaduddin Owaisi would be able to manipulate them. The choice is theirs.

 

 

No outrage on Lanka as in Christchurch shootings: The face of our Liberals

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

The bomb blasts in Sri Lanka which have killed over 200 people are markedly different from Christchurch shooting of only a month ago.

The mass-shooting in two different mosques in Christchurch which left 50 dead, justifiably drew world’s horror and outpouring of sympathy.  New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern became a global phenomenon for wearing a chadar while sympathizing with the bereaved families. Every leader of the world worth his salt shed tears. Donations poured in amounting to millions. Rock concerts were organized to help. In many ways, sympathy and support dumbed the outrage.

The Sri Lanka tragedy was already ebbing in a matter of hours. There are no editorials underlining the threat of Islamic extremism to the free world. Even though a Jihadi Islamist group, with links to Islamic State (IS), is suspected, the description in our newspapers is about a “local network…without any criminal background.” Islam as a violent ideology is not in debate. Instead, it is circumcised and localized.

Why the Western world is afraid of “Islamophobia”(fear against Islam’s ideology)?

Two things are at work here.  One, such is the flux of petro-dollars since discovery of oil in the Middle East in the 1970s that money and donations have poured in from the Wahhabi countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar,  Kuwait, UAE etc which have subsidized governments, Liberal networks and Western newspapers and led to bursts of madrasas and mosques on their lands. There is exponential growth in monumental Islamic charities around the world.

Two, is the prevalent attitude of Liberals around the world which treat Islam as a “minority” and hence a just case for protection against “Islamophobia.” They are unwilling to look at Islamic history, the resolve of its ideologues and the violence spilling blood on their streets and metros as a daily occurrence.  Inconvenient voices, such as those of Christopher Hitchens and Tommy Ribinson,  are never given a proper hearing.

No heed is paid when one of the most influential living Islamic scholars of Sunni Islam (Yusuf al-Qaradawi assures his followers: “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through the sword, but through dawa (outreach).” (As it is in India where the mention of Ghazwa-e-Hind — conquering of India–by its proponents is routinely glossed over).

How many have paid attention to WikiLeaks cables which points out how Saudi Arabia manipulates the foreign media outlets? That in Finland, citizens have to make a distinction between “Islam” and “Radical Islam” or else they stand prosecuted and fined (A Finnish politician, Terhi Kiemunki, was fined 450 euros for writing of a “culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion)? It’s true of most liberal Europe. Liberals call everyone and anyone as “xenophobic” or “Islamophobic” for criticizing Islam. They don’t realize it’s their way of life which is under threat. Everytime an Australian senator speaks out against Islam, he is publicly manhandled, and his words are brushed under the carpet. Tolerating the intolerance inherent in a creed is actually stopping it from curing itself of its dead weeds.

So watch the reaction of the world as it desists clamping down on radical Islam on Sri Lanka tragedy. They would be quick to pounce if an aggrieved citizen, sick of Jihadi Islamists around him, takes recourse to what mass-killer Brenton Harrison Tarrant did in Christchurch against Muslims. Closer home you can read Indian Express which names only the name of the suspect organization without mentioning its Islamic Jihadi roots on Sri Lanka horror.

So be aware, be vocal against the powers which cotton-wool the truth and put our world in danger and blunt the process of reformation of a violent ideology.