Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nothing wrong in Jew-Muslim dialogue: Shouldn't Muslims visit Israel, talk to Jews!

The news of the visit of a delegation of Indian Muslims comprising the president of All India Imam Organisation, Maulana Jamil Ilyasi, has kicked up a row.

Almost every Muslim organisation in the country has criticised the visit. The Raza Academy, Muslim Convention UP, Majlis-e-Ulama, Jamiat-e-Ulama, Qazi Council, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat and Muslim Personal Board have condemned the tour.

There are allegations of these people having sided with the 'fascist forces' from the very beginning, charges of them selling Muslim interests in lieu of Jewish money and supporting the Zionist cause. There is clamour for their social boycott as well.

Dialogue must go on, closing doors and windows is no solution

As far as I am concerned, I feel it is an over-reaction. All over the world groups with diametrically opposite views are meeting so why can't some Indian Muslims hold dialogue with the Jew leaders. For decades Indian Muslims and their newspapers have spent gallons of ink, for the Palestinian cause.

But when countries of Middle East who fought wars with Israel, have established links with the Jewish state, why should it remain a taboo for Indian Muslims to talk to some Jews. Undoubtedly the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of Israel.

But why the Muslim world always forgets, that it was the shrewd politics of Britain and its allies that made Israel, a problem for Muslim world. For centuries Christian world committed atrocities on Jews while they lived happily under Muslim states.

Europe persecuted Jews but trickily turned the victims against Muslims

It was in European countries where Jews were forced to dress distinctly to be identified, blamed for spread of epidemics, humiliated for centuries and it was there only that millions were killed during Holocaust.

And how 'intelligently' Europe got rid of its collective guilt. The masters of divisive politics who had divided Indian sub-continent on religious basis, decided to create the Jewish state in the heart of Islamic world, and in one masterstroke shifted the entire problem from Europe to Asia.

So Muslims who had fought crusades against Christian world for centuries and had been victims of Christian inquisition in Spain along with Jews for at least three centuries, forgot everything (good though) and for every wrong they started blaming Israel and seeing a Jewish hand.

If Sania Mirza decides to pair with Shahar Pir, there is anger in India. Why! Jews and Zionists are different. In fact, there are the orthodox groups of Jews that have been against the establishment of Israel, like the Neturei Karta. See the photo of Jews protesting the Israeli occupation of Palestine here.

A group of Rabbis had even met Iran's premier Ahmedinejad. That is just to put forth the point that all Jews can't be alike or anti-Muslim, as many Muslims feel. I fail to understand the kind of outrage whenever Israel or Jews are mentioned.

Yasser Arafat could talk. Egypt, Syria and even Pakistan can have links with Israel. Why can't Indian Muslims! Let Burney Sahab go to Israel and remind the Jews a few things about their history and how Muslims acted as their protectors for centuries when the Christian West was baying for their blood. I had written a post on this subject 1-1/2 years ago which is available here.

*[The Hindustan Express,Urdu has reported in a news item titled 'Naam-nihaad Muslim danishvaroN ne Israel ke liye rikht-e-safar bandhaa' [Self-styled Muslim intellectuals pack their bags for Israel) that Roznama Rashtriya Sahara editor Aziz Burney and another journalist ShakilHasan Shamsi are also part of the delegation.The Hindustan Express is a rival of Roznama in Delhi and has earlier also 'broken' a similar story.]

The photo above is that of an interaction between Muslims and Jews at the inter-faith summit held in Delhi sometime back.