Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Anti-Islam Mentality

February 27, 2010
The Anti-Islam Mentality
By Saeed Qureshi

I had posted an article on my blog and also circulated it through emails that I do on weekly basis. Usually the response to such articles is mild and sober even if someone disagrees with the entire or partial assertion and contents. But of late, in response to my article, “My Perception of Islam” a Hindu believer G. Vishvas wrote the following note and I quote,
“Such statements show the inability of Muslims to be honest. Indirectly he is admitting that the Sharia is a gone-case. But he dares not say so explicitly. This is how obscurantist Islamic fascism-totalitarianism has all Muslims (even the so-called liberal Muslims) in grip. The words "suitably modified" and "phenomenally different world of today" reveals that the Shariah is actually passé. But like about the emperor's finest clothes (from Hans Anderson's tales), no one (out of fear) dared say the emperor is naked. Islam compels Muslims into an endless bout of hypocrisy and cowardice and arrogance.”
My Response,
“I would not go to the extent of reviling a religion, how unacceptable it should be to me, as I can figure out from Vishvas’ above statement that he is trying to malign a religion by using strongest invectives instead of using a modest, analytical and logical language that is called for from intellectuals like him.“I suspect Mr. Vishvas hardly has any basic understanding of religion Islam otherwise he would have desisted from using slanderous hyperbole just to denigrate a religion that he hardly understands. One can blame the Muslims but not the creed, howsoever, it may be unfulfilling.With one black brush he has painted all the Muslims with the above innuendos. I am sure he got a rare opportunity to pour out venom against the Muslims for no cogent reason although all the Muslims (even the liberals) may not be having such disqualifications that he has chosen to attribute to them in one pent up breath. Let us be rationale and sober while leading a case, no matter how repugnant it might be to you because you simply belong to another religion. Let us have the stomach and magnanimity to see other religion existing and accord respect to them. Let us be decent at least as humans”.
Usually, I try to skip over even the most scathing comments that pour in from time to time but this comment is as insidious and malicious as it is the product of complete ignorance and uncanny bias against a religion that is observed by over a billion people around the world. An individual no matter how biased and antagonistic he tends to be, has no right to ruthlessly decry another religion. After all it is a matter of faith and faith is so precious to every faithful, no matter what religion he belongs. Now to decree imperiously, insolently and rather arbitrarily that “Islam compels Muslims into an endless bout of hypocrisy and cowardice and arrogance” speaks for the perverted mentality of a person whose own religion does not tutor him to be respectful in a sensitive matter of faith and embolden him to unleash slur on Islam.
Let me at the outset make a disclosure that from religious point of view I tend to be a non conformist which means that all religions are divine and therefore, should be allowed to be observed by their adherents. Moreover, religious bias leads one to a lower level of human being the opposite of which every religion teaches. It is in that vein that despite being an extreme liberal, I would not watch any one deriding other religions simply because he is motivated to do so. It in this spirit of religious freedom that I feel like explaining it more than what I have already done.
If it is a question of finding faults with the religions and abusing them then let it be so. Islam has enough defense against the vitriol that it has been subjected to since its inception.
Islam tells of one supreme God. The prophet of Islam by his own conduct and sublime message established a pious relationship between God and the human beings. This should be appreciated rather than castigated. If Islam presents a graphic, detailed map and comprehensive charter for the human beings to live in a society as good, virtuous and peaceful individuals what is the harm in it?
If Islam ordains and emphasizes a host of values and virtues that govern the lives and societies for peace and coexistence then how could one have the audacity to decree that “Islam compels Muslims into an endless bout of hypocrisy and cowardice and arrogance”? Let me stress that Islam’s first principle is,” there is no compulsion in Islam”
Now If Islam goes in the wrong hands, it is not the creed that is to blame but those did not heed it the way they should have. But even the totalitarian dispensations in the Islamic countries, did not go as far as annihilating or tormenting the population that professed a different faith. The example is in Spain where Jews and Christian lived for 700 years as the happiest religious fraternities along with the majority ruling Muslims.
In the Indian subcontinent various Muslim dynasties always treated the other religious communities with reverence and with a secular approach. Barring the ultra right fanatic Aurgnzeb Alamgir, all the Mughal rulers were liberal and tolerant towards the religious minorities. So much so that almost all of them married with the non Muslim women. Interestingly, Aurangzeb was more prejudiced towards the sects within Islam than those out of the orbit of Islam. His wife was a Hindu woman.
The invaders who descended on India and left after a while did not come for the sake of Islam but for plunder. But the dynasties that were established in India by successive ruling families seldom exhibited any big discrimination towards the minority religions. Contrary to how the Muslims in their hay days have been laudably treating their non muslim citizens and even in unenlightened eras, the plight of the Muslims in the present day secular India is highly discriminatory and rancoruos on the whole.
Urdu language a symbol of Islamic literature has been almost washed off from the Indian soil. The Muslims in India live under frightening intimidation and unrelenting harassment from the ultra right fanatic groups. Muslims are herded in slums and are being forced to live like lower castes. The abominable caste system is a part of the Hindu religion. To fulfil the religious obligations, the Dalits, the Christians, the Sikhs and the Muslims alike are maltreated and dehumanised by extremist Hindus led by high coast Brahmins.
Muslims are not in a position to press for their due share of jobs and other civil rights. Any one crossing over to India from Pakistan by mistake is treated as enemy and is seldom released. There are such cases that show that the Pakistani nationals by merely having their visa expired are languishing in abominable Indian jails with inhuman treatments meted out to them.
The religion to which Mr. Vishvas belongs is not producing angels that everything is wrong with Muslims and all is divine and ideal with Hindus. The very Hindu philosophy founded by the Hindu forbearers like Chanakya, the architect of Maurya dynasty, adviser and prime minister to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta smack of unedifying practices in life. In his book, he believed in four ways of dealing with others: treating with Equality, Enticement, Punishment or War and Sowing Dissension. All politics from Hindus that we have witnessed before the partition of India and afterwards is a true follow up of Chanakya philosophy of deception and betrayals.
A religion totally rooted in mythology is prone to be divorced of the realities of life and can go any length of imagination to interpret its philosophy and doctrines. It is because of this that the Vedas, Puranas, Brahmanas, and Upanishads, Ramana and Mahabrta are nothing but narrations of mythical and allegorical stories of characters that never existed.
The 330 million gods including reptiles like snakes, animals like cows and beasts like elephants and Hanumans are all gods (avatars) with enormous divine powers and command reverence from the Hindu faithful. As the book “Mankind’s Search for God” mentions that Hinduism is just the “oversimplified Western concept of venerating animals, bathing in Ganges and being divided by castes” (, p-95).
The mythical gods like Krishna, Rama, Siva, Vishnu, Durga or other countless deities are repositories of a creator’s powers named as Om or Brahma. The miraculous powers that are attributed to all these metaphysical gods are like the stars in the sky and as enormous as the water in an ocean. Primarily Hindu religion is a worshipper of nature with all living and non living things included.
It is so easy to find faults with contending religions while considering one’s own belief as ideal. To that extent it is all right but to ridicule and mock other religions is indeed a very abject tendency. Despite having total denial of Hindu faith, I would still respect it because everyone has a right to practice faith without let and hindrance or oppression.
From a Hindu bigot like Vishvas living in the liberal environment of the west, should exercise some kind of restraint even if the word Islam takes his wits out and makes him a wild human kicking left and right and trampling others’ right of faith with highly offensive remarks as if the duty to declare a religion good or bad has been assigned to him.
Such provocative outburst reinforces my belief in the acumen and vision of the founders of Pakistan in creating a separate homeland for the Muslims in India. The way the Indian Muslims are discriminated and treated with suspicion and are inhibited in observing their culture, religious festivities and open, unhindered and fear free performance of their religious obligations, makes Pakistan a safe haven and draw envy of their Indian counterparts. May be the Indian Muslims in due course deserve a separate homeland to be free from the stark prejudices they are subjected to in the Indian Federation.
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