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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Muslims against Terrorism: Branding community & communalisation of society


It's going to be a long post. First, two instances:

*When hundreds of Muslims gathered at Nagpara in Mumbai to give 'bad-duaa' [curse] to terrorists, it was not reported anywhere.

It was an extraordinary event and such programmes aren't held otherwise.

Soon after Delhi serial blasts, the Mumbai Muslims gave this 'curse'. Muslims prayed to Allah to punish those responsible for the bombings. There were Ulema and even politicians apart from ordinary Muslims. They did it on their own. Why there was no report?

*The photo on the left shows Muslims protesting against terror, condemning terrorists and signing with their blood to take every step to wipe out terror. This happened in Delhi. But how many papers published it?

Poor Chhamman Miyan doesn't know that you need to hold candle-light vigils, wear a better dress and inform cameramen in advance that you plan to hold a demo. People will keep saying Muslims don't condemn. This is the scene of Delhi. At Jantar Mantar, your protest doesnt' catch eyes, how protests in Bharuch or Birbhum will ever get reported.

Now let's get to the subject:

"Then, what's that which is driving these educated youths who have a career ahead of them...towards terrorism", asked the NDTV anchor. [To their credit, NDTV and CNN-IBN are the most balanced channels compared to Hindi news channels]

She appeared genuinely perturbed. The panelists included Javed Akhtar and Mushirul Hasan. That's the question many are raising today. Interestingly, it is Akhtar who is the most obvious choice on such panels not the ordinary Muslim professional, trader or entrepreneur.

But shouldn't she be knowing this? Everybody must ponder. After all, these are the same Muslims on which Indian leaders were so proud of until recently. At all international fora they proclaimed that not a single person from India is involved with global terrorism.

Don't brand a community

So, if a few Muslims guys--2, 5 or may be 10, have been arrested, suddenly the entire community is under scanner. How does that happen? I also want answer for that. And mind you, these are suspects, not convicts.

If they are terrorists just because police have said it, please, for God sake, abolish courts as there is no use for a judicial system then. Police can do anything it wants. As a citizen of this secular and democratic nation, we must strive for ensuring that constitution is followed and the rule of the law is upheld. I don't want to go back in the past and recount lot of things but just let me write a few things to put it in perspective.

There can be grievances

I start by again saying that even if there is grievance, nothing justifies mindless destruction and bombings. But when these so-called Mujahideen didn't exist, there was still POTA. Why we needed it then? We all know it was used against Muslims.

So many people still languish in jail. When there was nothing like 'Islamic terrorism' in India, why there was such anger against Muslims that Babri Masjid was demolished? The then Prime Minister made a false promise to the nation of re-building the mosque which he didn't keep.

Those who demolished the mosque are yet to get sentence or the famous 1-day sentence for Kalyan Singh but those who put posters to condemn the demolition, were even booked under TADA and POTA. In case of Mumbai riots, the same happened. Rioters rarely get any sentence.

Let's leave all that. Even forget the state-administered genocide in Gujarat. Let's talk about the man, Babu Bajrangi, who openly said that he tore apart a pregnant woman's stomach and wrenched the foetus out. Now I just want to know why this man is not called a terrorist. I don't want his religion to be affixed to it. But he is a terrorist.

<>Babu Bajrangi was not booked for any crime. Why? This is the height of injustice. Hasn't the middle-class become insensitive on such things.

Need for Liberal Hindu to speak

It has become 'accepted' that Muslims are fundamentalists and Hindus are liberal. It is a fashion to say that though there are liberals and fanatics in all communities. Though Muslims have been living in India for over 13 centuries, sections of our so-called intelligentsia look at America and import concepts like 'madarsas breed terrorism' from the West.

There is no sensitivity else there was no mention of the word 'Islamic terrorism'. When every Muslim, every Aalam, leading Ulema keep saying that this is not jihad. Can't you call it self-styled Jihadi, if you have to use this term at all cost.

Do Indian Muslims protest when 'bhumi pujan' is held at every official function? In fact, I won't mind if this nation becomes a Hindu nation. But right now our constitution calls it a secular country. In any case, there should be law-and-order and not two different set of rules.

I criticise Imam Bukhari on this blog, though he is much mild compared to his father. But the moment he visited Azamgarh and gave a speech, he was booked. A case of sedition was registered against him on the complaint of a lawyer in Rajasthan. He may have defended a terror suspect, but let's not be swayed by hysteria. He is still a suspect. There should not be double standards.

One person is termed anti-nation for a speech reported in the paper. The same Hindi papers of North India, who had become partners of Sangh Parivar and always referred to masjid as 'dhaancha'. The other person commits most gruesome crimes but it seems there is no law, state and machinery that can act against him.

Why the channels don't run a campaign for the arrest of Babu Bajrangi? When Muslims in India shunned Islamic leadership to elect Hindu leaders, it is also the responsibility of Hindus as elder brothers to take care of Muslims and protect them.

Just when Muslims are expected to come to the streets and condemn blasts, many expect liberal Hindus and civil society to also speak up and get people like Bajrangi sent behind bars. This will prove the resilience of our democratic set up.

Let's be critical of ourselves.
Let's try to find reasons.
Let's not generalise.
Let's not brand the whole community and fight communalisation of all sorts.
Let's introspect, try to build bridges with other communities rather than calling them names, as it will only lead to further disengagement and distance between communities which is unhealthy.
Hindus must fight Hindu lumpens and Muslims must fight Muslim communalism.
[This post was in continuation to the earlier post: Terrorism and Bomb Blasts: Hindus, Muslims, Communalism and other issues]