In the name of God

 Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Sunday Chronicle | 16th September 2012

Violent acts of extremism in the name of Islam will destroy Muslims too. Peace-loving, liberal Muslims feel the need of the hour is to voice their protests and make it clear that the community will not accept terrorists into its fold

Thirteen is an unlucky number. And rightfully so for these 13 foolish, misguided youth arrested for alleged terror links. 

They are all young, educated and Muslim. There is one strong underlying message for not just these men, but all Muslims. Violent acts of extremism in the name of Islam will destroy Muslims too. 

Muslims need to wake up and smell the bitter coffee. They need to voice their protests loud and clear. The community will not accept terrorists into its fold. 

What are the immediate repercussions? Dinesh Gundu Rao, Bengaluru city Congress President and MLA Gandhinagar, Bengaluru, says, “The recent arrests of Muslims in Bengaluru and Hubli will surely lead to more Muslim bashing in our country. The famous slogan ‘all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims’ will get further impetus. At this juncture dispassionate analysis is required. Yes, there is fundamentalism in this country, not just Islamic but also Hindu and Sikh on religious lines.” 

Dinesh’s wife, Tabu, who is extensively involved in social service, adds, “I think the most proactive step that the people need to take is to start being secular and fair in their thinking. 

Even on public forums like Facebook or Twitter, I find the literate people spewing most venom against religion. Today if we are propagating this, how do we expect the masses to coexist?” 

As terror spreads its ugly tentacles across the world, the instant reaction is one of horror. Flashback to the horrific time when terrorist Ajmal Kasab unleashed his fury by slaughtering innocents in Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal hotel. The black day has left ugly memories that would last a lifetime. 

Ajmal’s death sentence not only brings relief to the families of the deceased, but one that is condoned by every peace-loving, liberal Muslim, who has had to deal with the aftermath of the attack. 

Art curator Sangeeta Jung says, “Muslims have always been considered extremists world over. There is a general belief that if you are a Muslim then you are also a fundamentalist. Rightly or wrongly so this mistrust exists and is here to stay, if not corrected soon it will become a social divide in India that already suffers from a huge complex system of class and caste. Minorities have suffered time and time again as they are not included in the main fabric of India. One can only deal with this through awareness and education.”

This desperate desire to disassociate from all terrorists is deep rooted because the name calling and racial profiling is instantaneous. 

But Islamic scholar and peace activist, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan believes that, “As far as profiling is concerned, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. 

This phenomenon can be seen in every society. People generally think subjectively, that is why they become negative. It is Muslims’ subjective thinking which is the problem and not the profiling.”

It is important for Muslims to stop feeling victimised and persecuted. 

“The first step towards merging with mainstream society is to ensure that Muslims opt for secular education. Muslims generally prefer madrasas or Muslim institutions to secular institutions for their education. It is this kind of practice that develops communal feeling among them. 

"The only solution to this problem is that the majority of Muslims should receive education in secular institutions, where members of all communities study together. This alone can bring about national harmony,” adds the Maulana.

Tales of discriminatory behaviour against the community do their rounds as youngsters are rounded up for anti-national activities. 

Says the Maulana, “I don’t subscribe to the notion that Muslims face discriminatory behaviour in India. This fear is created by the so-called Muslim leaders in order to maintain their cheap popularity. It is this unrealistic thinking which creates problems. 

"Muslims do face some problems which they wrongly attribute to discrimination. Problems exist in every society. Muslims must take it as a normal phenomena.”

That’s why it becomes imperative for the literate and evolved Muslim to reach out to his fellow members and educate them on the dangers of getting brainwashed by anti-social elements. There is a greater need now to communicate strongly and vociferously that terrorism will not be accepted. 

Brijesh Kalappa, advocate, Supreme Court says, “There is no strong leadership in the Muslim community at present as was in the past under Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Muslims must find a leader with strong education and secular. They have been accorded a special status in Article 29, 30 but it has not been canvassed widely. 

"Instead saffron politicians resort to allegations of pseudo secularism and minority appeasement. This is a lopsided presentation of the real facts. The real story is one of neglect of Muslims, which has been highlighted by the Sachar commission.”

Concurs Dinesh, “We require Muslim leaders, both political and religious, to confront the sociological, economic, psychological issues and create a platform for free and frank debates. They need to address the insecurity and brainwashing among the youth.”

The verdict is clear: Muslims must get proactive now. Says Tabu, “Educated Muslims must voice the truth — which is that neither the Prophet nor Islam ever preached violence, particularly terrorism.”

There is some semblance of tolerance and fortunately the liberal non-Muslim has not abandoned his progressive mindset yet. But if more foolish youngsters get involved in anti-national activities, there will be hell to pay and Muslims will have only themselves to blame. 

“In instances where youngsters have been arrested under such serious charges, the families do more harm than good by instantly commenting that their child is innocent. They should let the law take its course and not react from a persecution viewpoint because that only encourages a backlash. More people like Justice Ahmadi must take on prominent roles in community welfare and development,” adds Brijesh.

The arrests have sent out a strong message to all misguided youth: there is no place for terrorists in India. 

“One thing is clear, the state has to come down hard on any form of terrorism, fundamentalist activities irrespective of religion or other biases. Muslims tend to feel short-changed about getting justice or equal treatment. The recent convictions of Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and others in the Gujarat pogrom will infuse faith in the system,” adds Dinesh.

No violence in Quran

Quranic verses have been intentionally misused. The Quran repeatedly emphasises that defensive war — fighting to protect oneself against invading enemies — is the only kind of combat sanctioned. 

It also teaches that the use of force should be a last resort, that normal relations between people, nations and states, whether Muslim or not, should be peaceful, that freedom of religion must be granted to every one and so on.

Courtesy: Media Monitors Network

Star quotes

Kabir Khan, director

Terrorists do not belong to any religion. By way of general perception I think one and all can identify with this. 

I fail to believe that every Muslim needs to prove his/her adherence with tokens of protest like wearing the black band. 

A change can be brought about by every Indian who could wear this black band and signify being united as one nation. 

All we need is to slam these lunatics who have hijacked Islam with their crazy and distorted interpretations.

Emraan Hashmi, actor

I know religious profiling is practiced by people in more than one community. The practice of refusing to rent homes to people belonging to a different religion is prevalent among both Hindus as well as Muslims. 

Certain societies dominant with Hindu families do not socialise with Muslims and vice-versa. In our democratic country I think discriminations should not be entertained. 

No one is a criminal or a terrorist until proven one. I feel it is high time discriminations at par with people being victimised over different issues on the basis of religion are put to an end. 

No religion advocates killings of human beings. Religious discrimination over different issues has been going on for a very long time now. No one talked about it openly. It’s a sensitive issue which needs to be addressed.

Saif Ali Khan, actor

As an Indian and a Muslim, I feel like expressing my disapproval and complete repugnance at killings of any guiltless people in the name of God, Allah, Christ or whosoever each one looks up to as the omnipresent God. 

Obviously I am troubled that Islam is being judged and condemned. Also the present mindset in various sections of our society is a threat to our solidarity. 

Undoubtedly being a Muslim I feel frightened in the prevailing situation. Owing to the mistakes of a few, the whole community has to suffer. 

I am not happy with people’s perception about the faith, this is coloured by the acts of a few misguided extremists.