A letter written by one of the two Indian Muslims, Arif Fayaz and Fahad Shaikh, who have left their homes in Kalyan, Maharashtra, for Iraq to join the ISIS, states that he is moved to tears by the sinful ways of his family like watching TV and listening to music. So, such Muslims actually think of their own also Muslim relatives watching TV or listening to music as sinners and think that terrorism is most virtuous! More recently, we learnt of a Muslim from Tamil Nadu joining the ISIS and some Tamil Muslims expressing solidarity with that organization, the hands of the members of which are stained with the blood of innocent Shias (who identify themselves as Muslims), Yazidis and Christians.

Now, think of many of our armchair ‘secularists’ claiming to be left-liberals, whose interactions with Muslims are primarily restricted to financially elite, westernized Muslims on occasions like cocktail parties, or even the less well off among them who have never bothered to discuss with their Muslim friends, who may very well be liberals candid enough to concede the ills in their religious grouping (indeed, there are many such Muslims), topics such as these. These ‘secularists’ even go to the extent of making negative generalizations about Hindus (they actually suggest that almost every Hindu is slurring Muslims to their faces almost all the time, and even strangely blame Hindus in general for Muslims’ economic and educational backwardness in India instead of regressive elements in the Muslim clergy who discourage or even oppose modern non-religious education) and have little time for Hindu victims of hate crimes by Muslims, like the Kashmiri Pandits, whose killers have never been convicted, with the judge in the case of a militant Bitta Karate (who had confessed to his crime on television) on record blaming the local Kashmiri Muslim policemen for not pushing the case properly, as against hundreds of Hindu rioters, including politicians like Maya Kodnani, being rightfully convicted in connection with the riots in Gujarat in 2002.

They seldom acknowledge the problems of the anachronistic interpretations of ‘ummah’ (global pan-Muslim fraternity) and ‘sharia’ (Islamic law), the latter manifesting itself in many Muslims opposing a uniform civil code (but though regressive Hindus don’t need to be cared about while reforming Hindu personal law, one ought to somehow “convince” regressive Muslims of its merits before introducing it, as though a certain minority ought to have some veto power in India, even with respect to something that is a constitutional obligation under Article 44, and indeed, that minority chose secularism over theocracy at the time of the partition). They only have time to act as cry-babies for Muslims being victims of wrongdoings by non-Muslims, when actually, Muslims are often victims of the actions of misguided elements in their own religious grouping more than anyone else! Just think of the peace-loving Muslim whose brother/son/husband left him/her to become a terrorist and disassociating from him/her, calling him/her a sinner for watching TV and listening to music! Even the mass murders of the Kashmiri Pandits and the blasts by the Indian Mujahidin have not led many left-liberals to make their approach more nuanced, and they have even tried to rationalize (though fortunately not justify) these crimes by attributing the attacks on the Kashmiri Pandits to be a legitimate “class struggle” (but as late human rights activist Balagopal pointed out, they seldom use this analysis for Hindu tribals attacking Muslim money-lenders in Gujarat in 2002, and for all their talk of class struggle in the context of the Kashmiri Pandits, can they explain why Kashmiri Pandit pan-walas were also targeted?) and the blasts by the Indian Mujahidin in 2008 to the riots in Gujarat in 2002 (but they hypocritically reject the Hindu rightist rationalization of the anti-Muslim violence in 2002 based on the burning of the railway coach in Godhara by some Muslim extremists; for them, whether Hindus attack Muslims or whether Muslims attack Hindus, only Hindus are to blame, though these people are dumbfounded when asked to explain Shia-Sunni polarization, often even escalating into violence in places like Lucknow, and the vitriolic anti-Ahmedia and anti-Jewish propaganda among many Indian Muslims on the basis of their misplaced logic of oppression of Muslims by Hindus!); so, I really doubt Indian Muslim men going to join the ISIS would make them change their minds, either.

However, I would also emphasize that there have been and still are non-Muslim terrorists too, such as among the Christians, the Irish Republicans, neo-Nazis and even those forcibly converting Hindus in India’s northeast, and among the Jews like the Haganah and Jewish Defense League, and there are elements among the Jews and Christians, though fewer than Muslims, too who consider it sinful to listen to music (http://www.jewishperspectives.com/music.asp,
) and watch TV/movies (http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/235,2072953/Why-do-some-Jews-not-watch-movies-tv.html, http://americanvision.org/689/should-christians-watch-movies/)! But then, Jews and Christians have a history predating Muslims; so, they’ve had their own churning, which is still not complete, and for Muslims, it is far from complete, though there is no dearth of progressive Muslims across the globe who offer us hope for taking the community in a positive direction in the future.

And lest anyone think I am suggesting that Hindus are anywhere near perfect, we have no dearth of our own stupidities like untouchability, honour killings of intra-gotra couples, devdasi, maltreatment of widows, killing innocent Muslims and Christians in large numbers in retaliation against the wrongdoings of a handful of miscreants and what not, and these issues do most certainly deserve our attention, but very many left-liberals in India would only like to talk about these issues among Hindus, turning a blind eye to issues among Muslims. If they, as spokespersons of secularism, continue with promoting their warped conception of the issue of communalism in India, which blames Hindus in general and only them and wrongly portrays Indian Muslims as only being victims (though there have been prominent Muslims in all walks of Indian life, be it politics, sports, music, cinema, literature, business or even serving in the armed forces and intelligence agencies, and Indian Muslims enjoy more civil liberties and security of life and property than Muslims in many Muslim-majority countries, not to speak of the non-Muslim minorities in those countries), they are only turning off Hindus from the idea of secularism and actually strengthening their ideological opponents, the Hindu communalists, and also, by exaggerating Muslim victimhood, encouraging the Muslim communalists, and both the communalisms help in the growth of the other by stereotyping the other religious grouping in a negative fashion by pointing only to its communalists.

I am quite sure that many of the left-liberals reading this piece would jump to call me a hardcore Muslim-hater (though I’ve written this book aimed at addressing and dispelling anti-Muslim prejudices in the Indian context – http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/Anti-Muslim-Prejudices-in-the-Indian-Context-Addressing-and-Dispelling-them) and allege that my critique of Hindu communalism or pointing to some Jews and Christians also resorting to terrorism and some Jews and Christians also considering watching television and listening to music to be sinful, is actually only to prove some token neutrality (making ad hominem allegations is the norm these days) rather than bothering to introspect, but do I really care about what they think of me? However, I do indeed sincerely hope that at least some of them reading this article would introspect, for their biased narratives are indeed doing much damage to national integration and even world peace.

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind