Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Old Editorial in the Pioneer

Quoting this article that I found on a newsgroup.. Bold emphasis mine. Comments in square brackets [ ] mine. Very much logical and to the point.


THE PIONEER

JULY 25, 2006
OP - ED Will Islam reform?

All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists areMuslims; it is for the community leaders to identifyjihadi elements amidst them, says Fran├žois Gautier

The Mumbai bombings have once again thrown up the samequestions: Is it possible to have a dialogue withtoday's Islam? Does it listen to reason? Does plainlogic work? Will it ever stop killing innocent peoplein the name of god?

There is a Central Government that is blatantlypro-Muslim, making sure that more and more Muslims areappointed to top Government posts. It is endeavouringto carve a sizeable chunk of reservation for Muslims,as seen in Andhra Pradesh, and constantly pandering toIndia's Muslim minority. The bombings also take placein Maharashtra, a State governed by the Congress,where many Muslims live and work, the financialcapital whose prosperity benefits all, includingMuslims.


The same illogical strain seems to have got hold ofthe Government, whether it is the BJP or the Congressin power. We keep hearing that blasts in Delhi,Varanasi or Mumbai, are the work of ISI or Bangladeshiextremists. But what they don't ask is whether itwould be possible for these people to function unlessthey receive help and sympathy from local Muslims? Andthe question has to be asked again: Why should IndianMuslims go against their own Government, which hasdone so much for them since Independence? Why shouldIndian Muslims target India, a country where they havemore freedom, than in Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia?


Every time, the Government comes out with the samelitany, "these acts are meant to create communalviolence, be peaceful, don't react." Which basicallymeans, "You, Hindus (who are targeted), keep quiet andget killed. Who cares anyway?" And a few months later,another blast claims the lives of a more innocentHindus. But how long will the Hindus keep quiet? Thisis the question that the Government must ask itself. Gujarat revealed - regardless of how reprehensible theacts of mass vengeance were - that Hindus keep quietfor a long time, but when they get riled, are made funof, are despised, their women raped, men killed, andchildren burnt in trains, then they blow up and blowup badly. Riots don't erupt in a few days; they arethe fruits of decades, of generations even, ofsuppressed anger, of frustration, of a silent majoritywhich sees it more and more marginalised and taken forgranted.

[ I can personally vouch for that. Having lived in Gujarat for many years, including Vadodara, I have seen it firsthand. Islamic goondagardi is very much common there, contrary to those stupid media reports, and pseudosecular likes of nafisa ali, who painted a totally wrong picture. ]

Yes, we do occasionally come across wonderful Muslims,open, friendly, who have somehow preserved theknowledge that all religions are same, that Islam inIndia owes a lot to tolerance of Indians, thatHinduism, yoga, meditation and pranayam are India'sgifts to the world and can be practiced by Muslims,Christians and Hindus alike. I have personally metquite a few of them, within the Art of Living family.But they are exceptions and even those educatedMuslims, whom you can talk to, will never say theQuran is in need of revision.


So will Islam change? Because the problem is not withMuslims, it is with their text, the Quran. Will Islam,instead of feeling totally paranoiac, thinking that itis under attack everywhere, whether in Palestine,Chechnya, Kashmir, or France, realise that it is Islamthat is the aggressor all over the world? That Muslimswho have settled in France or India, or the UK, havebeen sincerely accepted by these countries, givingthem citizenship and the same rights as any French,Indian or German citizen, and yet there are peopleamongst them disaffected and alienated enough to blowup innocent people? Are Muslims actually biting thehand that feeds them? Will the mullahs of Islam acceptto sit down and update the Quran, a perfectlyacceptable scripture for the Middle Age, whenmentalities were very different, but hardlyappropriate in today's context?


This is what we all are hoping for and most Westernleaders secretly crave for, when they go out of theirway to praise and favour moderate Muslims of theircountry. This is what spiritual leaders like Sri SriRavi Shankar are attempting, with a certain amount ofsuccess, by speaking to Muslim leaders, fostering tiesin Muslim countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, orreforming Kashmiri terrorists through meditation.


Unfortunately, time is running out. Muslims in Indiaand elsewhere in the world do not understand that weare slowly losing our innocence. At the moment,ordinary Muslims still benefit from public and mediasympathy, which constantly negate Islamistfundamentalism. The Western media, for instance, hadmade a hero out of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, whowas killed recently. He had organised the gruesomemassacre of hundreds of children in Beslan, a villainfor Vladimir Putin. The same media has made a monsterout of George Bush. But these people are slowly losingthat sympathy. Sooner or later, nearly the entireworld outside the pale of Islam might end up wagingwar against jihadist Islam.

[ The media again. I am not surprised somehow, seeing the current state of our pseudo-secular media, who are gladly willing to use harsh words such as superstition and illogical for Hinduism when recently, the news of idols drinking milk got famous, and at the same time, using kind words for Muslims who found sea water sweet, near a dargah in Mahim,Mumbai. ]

[ As far as I have seen, all religions have some illogical traits. Without exception (dont post comments comparing them, all of them have some fallacies, including mine). Nobody's perfect. Pointing out flaws in one while praising another is a sure shot recipe to create feelings of animosity and discrimination. The entire exercise of comparing religions and showing one to be superior (particularly common amongst Muslims) is pointless. ]

There may also come a time when people will becomewary of anything Islamic. Anyone looking Muslim inappearance, in an aeroplane, on a train, in a shoppingmall, will be looked at with suspicion. Anybody with aMuslim name will have problems entering any country.Those who have Muslim friends will quietly stop seeingthem or find some excuses not to meet them. It isalready happening. Then, governments will clamp downhard on their Muslim populations; there might berestrictions put on them.


Entire families may have to move out of Muslimenclaves all over the world, to resettle elsewhere.Muslims will slowly lose faith in the righteousnessand the power of their own religion. It may take a fewdecades, a hundred years even, but Islam will surelydisappear into the alleys of history if it doesn'tchange, if it is too fearful of reform.

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