Beware the hate wave

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by arnabmit, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    BEWARE THE HATE WAVE | OPEN Magazine

    The 7 January terror attack on Charlie Hebdo has been described by some Indian politicians as a ‘backlash’ against the French satirical weekly’s publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad a few years ago. However, it appears that the ideas that drove the jihadists to kill the cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo are very much alive in the streets of towns across India. A review of Facebook comments made by Muslim youths on the Paris shooting reveals that the geography of this radicalisation in India is indeed wide, fertile and raw.

    Soon after the attack, Indian Muslim Ekta, a page on Facebook that describes itself as ‘peaceful for Muslims and Non-Muslims’, posted a news report on the killing of 12 people in Paris. Within five days, it had 1,245 ‘Likes’, mostly by Indian Muslim youths who appear to be in their teens and twenties, though there were others of relatively mature ages as well. A study of nearly 400 comments, mostly in Roman Urdu, posted on this page raises a serious question over what Islamic scholars in India are teaching the next generation of Muslims. It also reveals a wide geography of radicalisation across India.

    Naseem Ahmad is a teenager whose moustache is just beginning to grow, as seen in his profile photograph. He wrote: ‘All praise be to Allah; very pious deed was done; glory be to Allah; heart was gladdened.’ Sohaa Ali, a hijab- wearing woman who lives in Jaipur, commented: ‘Very good news’. Rajib Ali, a youth in his thirties and based in the Assamese town of Tinsukia, wished the Paris attackers safety: ‘May Allah protect those who killed.’

    Faiz Anwar, who lives in Mumbai and claims affiliation with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), narrated a story in which a man came to ask Abdullah, son of the second Islamic caliph Umar ibn Khattab, for a fatwa (Islamic decree) vis-a-vis a person who had committed blasphemy, to which Abdullah reacted with anger: “You have come to ask for a fatwa, why didn’t you first kill him?”

    Masoom Ahmad, who is from Pakur in Jharkhand, praised the killers of the French cartoonists, saying: ‘We are proud of those who carried out this act; well done!’ Sameer Ansari, a youth based in the northern town of Kanpur, wrote: ‘Look the people of the world, anyone who speaks about Islam will meet the same end.’ Owaish Sadik, a youth based in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, commented: ‘12 people/deaths were very less; 1200 should have been killed.’ M Umar Khan, who appears younger than a teenager, expressed this theological view: ‘They had to be punished because God doesn’t like blasphemy of his prophet.’ Sagir Shah, studying for an engineering degree at Gorakhpur, wrote: ‘I am proud of Muslim warriors.’ Jafar Khan, a Mumbai-based youth, observed: ‘If an editor or cartoonist has drawn such a cartoon, then it is a small punishment.’

    Ahal Qadri Rabbani from Mungaoli, Madhya Pradesh, wrote: ‘Kill more of these dogs.’ Aadil Pathan, a youth from Ajmer in Rajasthan state, wrote: ‘No doubt, this had to happen. Today, I am so happy… I am proud to be on ISIS. Really, it is a great organisation.’ Mohd Mustafa, a Shimla- based youth whose profile sports a picture of Osama bin Laden, approved of the Paris attack as ‘very good’.

    Imran Khan, from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh, warned: ‘Anyone who thinks wrong about Muslims will be killed in this way. Islam was alive, Islam is alive and Islam will be alive.’ Taslima Noor, a girl from Navi Mumbai who works in the film industry and also identifies herself with the AIMIM, said: ‘Very good; blow up the entire office [of Charlie Hebdo]’.

    +++

    Of nearly 400 comments, there were just a few on the page of Indian Muslim Ekta saying that Islam does not teach murder. The overwhelming responses from across India were in favour of the attackers. These comments are not geographically isolated. Similar comments celebrating the killings were made on this Facebook page by Muslim youths living in Kolkata, Patna, Chhapra, Nawada, Tanda, Lucknow, Dehradun, Aligarh, New Delhi, Srinagar, Jalandhar, Bhilwara, Indore, Jabalpur, Kheda, Ratnagiri, Jawahar, Nagina, Amravati, Pune, Bangalore and other places.

    Among them are engineers, doctors, graduates, school students, both male and female.

    The Indian Muslims who posted these comments online are not terrorists, but some observations can still be made about them. They are present across India and there is no difference between their viewpoints and those of the jihadists of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) when it comes to blasphemy under Sharia. It is unlikely that all or even a majority of them will become terrorists, but it certainly suggests that there is a fertile field of jihadist ideas being cultivated by Islamic scholars in India, notions which young Muslims are fed regularly. This is a result of decades of Islamic teachings offered by madrassas. At any point in time and across countries, these ideas can be easily used to destablise a society.

    When a head-of-state or dignitary rises to deliver even a short speech before TV cameras, a draft is made beforehand on paper and thought through. But in the Islamic world, it is standard practice for a cleric—who is usually not even a college graduate and lives in isolation from the world of scientific knowledge and media—to deliver hours of unwritten speeches on Islam’s history and politics in mosques, madrassas and religious congregations called jalsas. This is industrial scale influence that Muslim societies are subjected to every week in almost every part of the world, and its consequences emerge in our midst from time to time.

    It may be observed in social behaviour across the country, notably when Muslim women stop the practice of singing on wedding occasions in villages; when youths sport ISIS T-shirts and wave its flag in different towns; when a jeans-clad engineering graduate turns up at a restaurant in Delhi’s Connaught Place for a meal with his wife clad in a burkha; when some Muslims join the Indian Mujahideen and plant bombs; when a Muslim decides to chop off the hand of a Kerala lecturer for setting a question paper deemed disrespectful to Prophet Muhammad; when a passenger writes messages in favour of ISIS in an airport terminal toilet in Mumbai; when a non-Muslim is forced to convert to Islam in order to consummate his or her love; when writers are forced to go into hiding; or when cartoonists are killed in cold blood. All these instances point to an all- India phenomenon.

    There is no short-cut solution to that gradual process, a first step towards radicalisation for jihad. However, government officials can make an effort to counter it by initiating madrassa reform, regulating mosques and putting in place a zero-tolerance policing system.

    All madrassas and mosques in India must be registered and regulated: their sources of funding must be audited by local government officials every year. However, far-reaching changes are required to develop a reformed syllabus which, while allowing the teaching of the Qur’an, Hadiths and Islamic Studies, must include the teaching of English and material sciences as well as the liberal arts right from junior levels.

    (Tufail Ahmad is a former journalist with the BBC Urdu Service and Director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC)
     
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  3. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Opinion: We Cannot Ignore Inflammatory Sermons in Local Mosques

    One of the most important shortcomings of "political correctness" is its ability to overwhelm ordinary concerns in a tidal wave of condescension. In the process, it often drives gut-level grievances underground and makes them more explosive.

    Last week's shootings in Paris have understandably provoked outrage and prompted a French re-discovery of the principles that have defined the Republic. Statesmen, intellectuals and ordinary citizens in Europe have confronted the challenges to free speech (including the right to offend) by flaunting the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo that caused offence to the murderous Kouachi brothers and the Al Qaeda cell. At the same time, despite a deafening 'liberal' silence on the subject, there is a strong feeling that a large number of Europe's first and second generation immigrants from the erstwhile colonies do not share the same ideals of citizenship with their host societies.

    In blunt terms, the potential security threat posed by Muslim immigrants influenced by extremist ideology has become a political talking point in Europe. The issue of free speech and blasphemy may have begun with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie way back in 1989 but the issues have snowballed after the rise of Islamism as a political force after 9/11. What was once seen as an issue of integration and supporting the national team in football or cricket-the so-called Tebbit test-has now touched upon fundamental questions of security. The London Underground bombings, the targeted murders of writers in Holland, and the enrollment of British and French Muslims in the ISIS army form a backdrop to the murders in Paris. The concerns these have aroused have fueled the rise of ultra-nationalist forces that seek a reinforcement of a defined national identity.

    There is a larger question that is implicitly being posed in Europe: what is the obligation of immigrant groups to their host societies?

    The US, a nation built on immigration, has (or used to have) a 'melting pot' philosophy that propelled immigrants to dilute their distinctiveness within a generation or so.

    The experience of Europe has been different. A draconian Republican ideal has meant that France has a rigid doctrinaire approach to the separation of faith from the state. The burkha has been outlawed as public apparel and even Sikhs have encountered problems over wearing the kara, a symbol of their faith. But this has not succeeded in dissolving differences that stem from ethnicity, religion and culture. In Britain on the other hand, multiculturalism involving the celebration of cultural and religious diversity has become a fetish. Consequently, there have been belated-and occasionally laughable-attempts to impose a standard of Britishness that is neither exclusive nor offensive.

    Yet, far from social cohesion being established, the problems have multiplied and become ugly. A large part of Europe is now engulfed in competitive distrust, victim-hood and even hatred. The multiracial consensus based on idyllic brotherhood and common citizenship is breaking down faster. Worse, mainstream politicians have been paralysed into either denial or squeamishness, thereby ceding political space to players such as Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage who claim to represent the robust common sense of the indigenous people. 'Enough is enough' is an expression that is now commonly heard from the lips of people who don't otherwise fit the bill of being extremists.

    Part of the exasperation is due to the impression that European Muslims aren't doing their bit to put their own house in order. It is in this context that the intervention by Britain's Culture Secretary Sajid Javid acquires importance. Speaking on a TV programme in the aftermath of the Paris killings, Javid felt that "it is absolutely fair to say that there is a special burden on Muslim communities because whether we like it or not these terrorists call themselves Muslims. It is no good for people to say they are not Muslims, which is what they call themselves."

    Javid's comments may, in the short run, attract the ire of fellow Muslims. They may well accuse him of trying to appease the Islamophobes. However, a more detached view would inform us that the genesis of extremism is to be located in some of the inflammatory and hateful sermons in local mosques.

    Yet, the 'special burden' is not on Muslims alone. In the end, all minority immigrant groups must recognize that respecting and adapting to the dominant cultures of their adopted countries is an obligation of citizenship. Paris isn't Peshawar.
     
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  4. dastan

    dastan Regular Member

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    Deleted... .
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  5. Nicky G

    Nicky G Senior Member Senior Member

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    Words and actions are different. At the bare minimum, we need extremely severe anti-terror laws, so that few dare to act.

    Dealing with the words and the sentiments behind them is near impossible. For one thing, this was not a problem created in a few years and it will not be fixed in a few. First, we would need a government in India and other parts of the world that has the spine to take any action. Beyond that, we would need that party to be in power or for there to be a consensus so that the steps taken by one government are not repealed by their political opponents.

    Near impossible it maybe but we have no option but to try, as within a few decades this will evolve into existential threats for societies. Sadly, we can't even seem to begin to try.
     
  6. prohumanity

    prohumanity Regular Member

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    Haven't you seen attempts to divide and create hatred among Indians by outside powers for last 6 decades? Did they ever succeed ? What makes you think that these anti-india outside powers can succeed now ? Indians are too smart to be fooled into this divide and conquer old game.
     

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