Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Redefined threat

MC joshi

In his letter, "Defining terrorism" (August 4), Mr Abdullah Khan has objected to the use of the term "Islamist terrorism", asking why then the happenings in Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq should not be termed as "Communist", "Jewish" and "Christian" terrorism.

It is illogical to draw a parallel between a state acting against insurgents and terrorist outfits like the Al Qaeda, Hijbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba killing innocents.

Perpetrating organised destruction of human life and property around the world, these outfits pronounce their faith and mission from the rooftop, slit throats of people of other faiths in camera and release videos containing such horrors for the consumption of human race. To say that they are people "with Muslim names who are not aware of the spirit of Islam" is unacceptable.

It is said that these terrorists are sullying the image of Islam. Then why is a fatwa never issued against them? It has also been asked why acts of violence against Muslims by Hindus should not be referred to as "Hindutva terrorism".

This query may have been in the context of the Gujarat riots which have been debated at great lengths and therefore need not be discussed further. However, during the last 15 years, more than 60,000 innocent men, women and children, mostly Hindus, have been killed in terrorist attacks.

Besides, tens of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were gunned down and lakhs have fled from the Valley to save their lives. Hindu places of worship and pilgrimages are routinely targeted by terrorists.

Still, if a Muslim brethren speaks of "Hindutva terrorism", it is because of the so-called "secular" Hindu politicians and intellectuals, who pretend to be crusaders of Indian Muslims and raise the bogey of "communalism" to keep the Muslims in fear.

They shudder to speak against Islamist terrorist outfits but always denounce the RSS, projecting it as the biggest threat for India.

Any law aimed at curbing terrorism is resisted by them in pursuance of their Muslim vote-bank politics. Not surprisingly, they opposed POTA and repealed it as soon as they came to power.

In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had suggested that POTA was repealed because the minorities (read Muslims) felt insecure because of it. Post 9/11, UN resolution 1373 had asked its member-states to enact stringent anti-terror laws. Ironically, India scrapped the anti-terror law on a ludicrous pretext.

In sharp contrast, British Prime Minister Tony Blair unhesitatingly named the Islamist extremists for the July 7 London bomb blasts, calling for Muslim leaders' cooperation in countering the "perverted and evil" ideology behind the blasts.

Further, he announced that he would bring new anti-terror laws and deportation of the immigrants praising and preaching terrorism. 25 prominent British Muslims including MPs, businessmen and religious leaders attended a summit meeting with him and the leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy.

In unison, they took a stand on setting up a task force to tackle home-grown terrorism. Mr Howard asked Muslim leaders to reach out to young people in their communities targeted by "merchants of evil and hatred".

Mr Kennedy called the political parties to help root out extremists. Labour MP Shahid Malik held that Muslims faced "a profound challenge" and needed to confront the evil voices in the community. Aren't there lessons for Indian Muslims and secularists?

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