Ironically Hindu Bengalee, be it a commoner, an intellectual, a politician or a media-person, are ever eager to  project that ‘All is well’ . Seldom to they have the guts or the inclination to speak the truth, ever afraid that they will be identified as ‘communal’ 

Thus it takes non-Bengalees and non-Hindus to speak for them ….

 

The Jihad against Bengali

By Janet Levy (http://www.americanthinker.com/janet_levy/)

Every February 21, a little-known observance occurs: International Mother Language Day.  Created in 2000 to promote and encourage the diversity of language, this benign and idealistic-sounding commemoration actually marks a bloody day in 1952 when an Islamic minority shot and killed university students protesting the imposition of an Islamic language, Urdu, on a Bengali-speaking majority in Pakistan.

 The students who died that day understood that forced reconfiguration of a language can have cataclysmic and devastating effects on a society.  Community identification can be shifted, populations and their practices repressed, and the established rhythm of daily life disrupted.

 In the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, Muslims have for centuries used Arabic languages as part of their jihad against Christians and Hindus.  A blatant example of this phenomenon occurred in 8th century Coptic-speaking Egypt when Muslims conquered the Christian nation and designated Arabic as the sole administrative language.  Coptic, which had flourished as a literary and liturgical language, was purposely denigrated by the Muslim conquerors and eventually prohibited in favor of Arabic, the language of Mohammed.  Today, Copts continue to be besieged by the Muslim majority in Egypt, and only a few hundred people speak the Coptic language.

 A similar struggle occurs with the Bengali language.  Although the student deaths of 1952 sparked a successful movement to create an independent Bangladesh, the majority Muslim population in that country persecutes Hindus and is Islamizing the Bengali language itself as a sort of linguistic Muslim jihad which has been going on for centuries.

History – Urdu vs. Bengali

Beginning almost 900 years ago, Urdu, a language associated with Muslims in India and Pakistan, was appropriated from Sanskrit-based Hindi over centuries of conquests by Persian, Arabic, and Turkic Muslims.  To create Urdu, the Muslim conquerors took Hindi and Islamicized it by injecting new words, changing existing words, and writing the language in Arabic script.  By de-Sanskritizing Hindi to develop Urdu, Muslim rulers de-Hinduized the language as a way of diminishing the infidel faith.  As Latin is to Christianity, Sanskrit defines Hinduism and is the language of Hindu clerics and scriptures.

In 1948, shortly after Pakistan gained independence from the British government, the newly installed Islamic government declared Urdu the official language of West and East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.  At the time, Sanskrit-based Bengali was the language of the vast majority of Bengalis, the inhabitants of East Pakistan, both Hindus and Muslims.

The Urdu language edict created great hardship for Hindus and Bengali-speaking Muslims who were not particularly proficient in Urdu.  Although Bengalis were a majority linguistic group, under the Urdu language requirement they faced discrimination and experienced alienation from mainstream Pakistani society.  Both Bengali Hindus and Muslims had difficulty finding employment and were discouraged from joining the Army, an important affiliation conferring social standing in Pakistan.

Bengali Language Movement

At the time when the Urdu language mandate was introduced, Muslims in Bangladesh were being pressured to become more Muslim in practice, to Islamicize the region, and to join Urdu Islamic political parties in Pakistan.  Bengali Muslims resisted, as they had a cultural affinity to Bengali and felt they were not getting their fair share of power in Pakistani politics relative to their numbers.  Out of the six major linguistic groups — Bengali, Urdu, Sindi, Punjabi, Pastho, and Baloch — Bengali was the largest in Pakistan.  Bengali Muslims came from a distinctly different cultural background from the Muslims in West Pakistan and had little in common with the other groups except Islam.  To thwart Bengali domination, the other linguistic groups banded together to reduce the influence of the Muslims of East Pakistan, thus isolating the Bengali Muslims. 

After the declaration of Urdu as the official language, extensive protests erupted amongst the Bengali-speaking majority of East Pakistan, both Hindu and Muslim.  Due to the rising tensions and demonstrations against the new law, the government outlawed all public meetings and rallies. 

On February 21, 1952, students protested the language edict and called for a general strike.  Amidst peaceful protests, the police fired on protesters and killed several students.  In 1956 following numerous protests over the years, the government relented and granted official status to the Bengali language.

The Bengali Language Movement strengthened the national identity of Bengalis living in Pakistan and eventually led to Bangladesh’s war for independence from Pakistan in 1971.  Suffering greatly from Muslim persecution, at least 20 million Hindus fled to India from East Pakistan from 1947-1971.  About one million Hindus were killed.  In the fight for independence in 1971, Muslims killed an additional 2.5 million Hindus.  Also during the conflict, the Pakistan Army bulldozed one of the most famous Hindu temples in the Indian subcontinent, believed to be over 1,000 years old.

In 1971, Hindus were declared enemies of the state of Pakistan and the government instituted the Enemy Property Act.  False allegations were made by the Muslim government that Hindus were spies for India, and their property was confiscated.  Following the independence of Bangladesh, the newly installed Muslim government retained the Pakistani law, merely changing its name to the Vested Property Act.  Approximately 75% of Hindu land in the area has been confiscated over time.

The Jihad against Bengali

Today, Hindus in Bangladesh and throughout the Indian subcontinent are reluctant to make demands in a majority Muslim country.  They typically remain silent about grievances, as they have little hope of equitable resolutions under Muslim control.  Their activities are limited, and they regularly face discrimination.  They are accountable to their Muslim masters, have fewer rights, and their movements are restricted.  It is not uncommon for a Muslim to stop and question a Hindu in transit, inquire of his travel plans, and demand to see his documents as well as the money he is carrying, which can be extorted with impunity.

Yet, ironically, the Bengali Language Movement is commemorated each year in Bangladesh on February 21 primarily by Bengali Muslims, who hold rallies across the country.   This same Muslim majority which allows the oppression of Hindus in Bangladesh is also Islamizing the Bengali language.  They have de-Hinduized certain words in their ongoing attempt to eradicate infidel Hindu culture.  For example, the Bengali word for “deity” has been replaced by a word that means “Allah” in Farsi, and the word for “water” has been substituted with an Urdu word.  An indigenous flowering tree named “Krishnachura,” referring to a flower worn in the headdress of the Hindu deity, has been renamed by Muslims to “Mohammed Chura.”

For Bengali Hindus, the battle to preserve their language and culture appears to have been a pyrrhic victory, and a temporary one at that.  With constant attacks on their businesses, homes, and temples sanctioned by the Vested Property Act, their numbers have diminished from one-third of the population at the time of partition to fewer than 10% today.  Ultimately, their language has become less representative of their culture and religious beliefs, they cower to the demands of the Muslim majority, and they continue to face grave threats to their survival.  The Bengali jihad may ultimately reduce the Hindus to the fate of the Copts, and the celebration of Mother Language Day may actually finally honor a language far removed from its Hindu and Sanskrit roots and now, instead, symbolic of Muslim expansionism.

A Muslim’s Way Out of Islam

FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 03, 2008

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Hossain Salahuddin, a poet, essayist and an ex-Muslim who is the author of several books. He is the editor of the magazine Maverick, which promotes literature, freethinking and rationalism.

FP: Hossain Salahuddin, welcome to FrontPage interview.

HS: Thanks very much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here.

FP: Tell us about your childhood and your upbringing within Islam.

HS: I was born in 1984, into a Muslim family in Bangladesh . My family was rather orthodox and they made sure I learn the Quran properly even before they enrolled me in a school. I had a home tutor Mullah, who taught me reciting Quran in Arabic- and I was actually good at it. I remember completing the whole Arabic Quran three times before I turned 12 without even understanding a word of it. If I try to remember, I can feel that it was pretty suffocating with all sorts of do’s and don’t. You can’t do this, you can’t do that, and there was that constant reminder- “You are a Muslim, you should act like one.”

So, yeah, my childhood was not something that I am really proud of. There were all sorts of religious restraints around my neck and that actually affected my relationship with my family members. But, I should say I was still a believer back then; only there was a slight discomfort in me with the practicing form of Islam. I admit that I had a rather troubled childhood but I didn’t turn into a rebel just yet.

FP: What caused your second thought and your ultimate abandoning of Islam?

HS: Well, when I was around 13 or 14, I developed a great interest in creative writing, especially in poetry and I started to spend a lot of time reading books and writing poetry. I remember borrowing up to ten books at a time and reading them in a row. History, Science, Philosophy, Religion, Literature name it, all sorts of books. It was a fascinating time I can tell you that. I guess I was mentally a bit matured than my actual age, and I really cherish that part of my life as a period of illumination.

I think books taught me to think and judge things rationally, to escape from the world of prejudice and irrational beliefs. Books were my true liberator, it’s the best companion I ever had. But, it wasn’t always fun. My family didn’t take it lightly as they were noticing some change in me and also my teachers at school. In fact it was the teachers who gave me all sorts of trouble. Unfortunately, most of my teachers were very orthodox Muslims and they didn’t like my writings. They even banned my writings from the school magazine which really upset me given that I was probably the only student who could write creative things. And they were constantly reminding me that Islam doesn’t approve poetry, music, painting, mixing with non-Muslims or reading texts of other religion and it really confused me.

There was only one way to find out: by reading Quran and Hadith in my mother tongue. I read the Quran over and over again and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I started to mark the questionable verses and wrote comments beside them. I wondered, are these versus full of hate being spread and preached everyday in all corners of my town? I was completely dumbstruck. Initially, I thought it was the translation that was to be blamed. But I collected many different translations of the Quran and very reputed Islamic scholars translated some of them. You can say I was really shocked and I spent almost two years of my year 9 and 10 searching for answers.

At year 10, my first book of poems was published and by year 11, I was convinced that Islam itself was a very violent belief. By reading Quran or any other Islamic text in your mother tongue, there can be two effects on you: you could either turn into a violent, brainwashed Muslim ready to eliminate anything that opposes you, or you could abandon Islam altogether and become a free man. I choose the former path and at a very young age.

FP: Did you face the threat of violence for leaving Islam? Are you still in danger today?

HS: Well, leaving Islam was not an instant decision; it was rather a gradual process. I think by the time I reached 12, I consciously abandoned Islam altogether. And some of my closest friends knew about my views on Islam. I think some of them were really shocked. So, leaving Islam was a private matter at the beginning, I didn’t share it with lot of people initially.

Obviously there was the fear of making a majority of Muslims upset. So, what I did was, I started to question a lot to spread my message. I learned it from the life of Socrates, that’s what he used to do, and it can be very effective sometimes. I started to question Islamic beliefs and traditions in a lot in my writing and that put me in trouble. Although I had some like-minded friends and we used to call ourselves Freethinkers, I made some nasty enemies as well and I was aware that they were watching my every step. But, you know I was young and careless—so I kept going.

Finally, the waiting game was over and they physically attacked me one night- I was very lucky to escape only with some sharp cuts and bruises. After that incident I slowed down a bit, stopped going outside and tried to concentrate on writing at home. I think it was in 2002, when an Islamist organization published a book and declared me a Nastik-Murtad or “Apostate-Infidel”. So, I didn’t really have to declare leaving Islam publicly, they did the honor for me.

After that I decided to leave the country and in 2003 I came to Australia as a student. And if you are asking whether I am still in danger today, well all I can say is that I never underestimate their reach. It’s not just me, anyone who is non-Muslim, or a born-Muslim who doesn’t care about Islam much — anyone who is different from them is in danger today and it’s the sad reality.

FP: What are your thoughts on Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism? And how does a non-Arab convert’s mind work in this context?

HS: What always struck me the most was that Islam is another form of Arab colonialism in disguise. In South-east Asia you will see people constantly cry about the British Colonialism and how they are still a victim of it. However, no one ever talks about the Arab colonialism which is very active in every single non-Arab Muslim country. Islam is in its origin an Arab religion, and it is not a religion of conscience, private belief or spirituality; it is very political and imperial. Its holy places are in Arab lands, its sacred language is Arabic, and its historical figures are all native Arab. So what happens to a non-Arab convert’s mind is very interesting.

A convert starts to dislike his own culture as non-Islamic and he becomes fascinated by the Arab influence and wants to be a part of the Arab story; ironically, he starts to praise the Arab Warrior who conquered his land. And to do that the first thing he does is to turn away from everything that is ethnically his and he lives in a world of fundamentalist fantasy to purify his non-Islamic culture.

You can see this neurosis and nihilism in the mindset of converts and you can say it is an incurable mental disease which has been affecting them and disturbing the societies for thousands of years. Arab colonialism is both political and cultural and I think it is the longest surviving form of colonialism. You see it is now a fashion to blame European Imperialism and colonialism, west and Israel in general – for every ill in this planet; Muslims are never ashamed to join this blame game. But, when it comes to Arab imperialism or Islamic colonialism, Muslims feel proud and they admire the warriors who once came from the Arab world and conquered their forefathers’ land.

This way, Islamic colonialism and Arab imperialism together have conquered and destroyed many advanced and ancient civilizations and brought catastrophic changes in the cultures of the conquered lands. You can say Arabs were the most successful imperialists of all time, because the faithful converts love to be conquered by the legendary “Holy Warriors” of the “ Holy land ” – it is some sort of salvation for the converts.

FP: Your interpretation of Islam’s holy war?

HS: Islam has always been associated with political expansion and that’s where Jihad or holy war comes into affect. Quran and Hadith repeatedly say that nothing is greater, so far as goodness goes, than Jihad in the name of Allah. Some apologists will try to tell you that Islam is a religion of peace, Jihad is allegorical, and it does not mean violence etc. But the bloody history of Islam tells us a very different story. And the Quran is actually supposed to be taken literally. Muhammad repeatedly said that the Quran is not poetry or allegory; it is the clear voice of Allah himself so that everyone can understand and take it seriously; it is actually blasphemous even to think the Quran as an allegory.

In Hadith, the collection of traditions, Muhammad asked his followers to stop any un-Islamic practice by force many times. As a religion, Islam has a long tradition of deep rooted hatred towards unbelievers. In the Quran, Allah repeatedly commanded Muslims to engage in Holy war and promised unlimited reward in the afterlife if one becomes a martyr in the war for the glory of Allah.

If you ask a Turkish Sufi Dervish who does that beautiful swirling dance, you won’t get the literal picture of Islam. You will rather get a pleasant humanitarian view of the Mystic Sufi philosophy. But, unfortunately, Mainstream Islam considers Sufis heretics and they were regularly persecuted by orthodox Muslims throughout history.

To find out the true meaning of Jihad, you have to look at the life of Muhammad, his companions and the later rulers and thinkers of Islam. You will get an extremely violent picture. Even Muhammad’s immediate successors used the term Jihad to refer to the conquest of new territory, so I don’t see much scope for misunderstanding here.

No matter what apologists try to tell you about the meaning of Jihad, to most Muslims it simply means Expansion of Allah’s Kingdom in the command of Allah himself. If they die in the pursuit they are a martyr or Sahid, someone who is guaranteed by Allah to go to heaven straightway without facing the trial in the judgment day.

Islamic scholars like Taqi al din ibn Taymiyyah, Mohammad ibn abdul Wahhab, Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Mawdudi, Hasan al Turabi have a lot to answer for in this matter. Modern Jihadists frequently cite these scholars as their source of inspiration. They argued that Muslims are in a cosmic battle against the force of darkness. These forces of darkness should not be tolerated, and although Allah is ultimately responsible for the destruction of darkness, Muslims are required to fight it. That’s why as of today no famous Muslim cleric or Muslim country condemned terrorism. You see, almost everything of the western way of life contradicts Islamic belief – the West automatically becomes the target, hence, Islamic scholars divided the whole world into two different spheres: Islamic World or Land of Peace and Un-Islamic World or Land of warfare.

FP: So Islamic terrorists are not misinterpreting Islam?

HS: No, terrorists are not misinterpreting Islam; in fact they are interpreting Islam very correctly. Theologically, it is a Muslim’s holy duty to fight until the whole world turns to one Allah because there can not be any other God. Allah is pretty autocratic among the Gods and he doesn’t like to co-exist with any other deity. It sounds funny but its true; how many Muslim countries practice democracy? Liberalism, individual privacy and freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of belief – all of this and any other component of modernity you can think of directly contradicts Islamic belief.

No matter what apologists say, “Islam” and “freedom” are two opposite words with opposite meanings. You see, unlike Christianity and Buddhism Islam is not a personal religion; Islam is very practical, social, highly political, and unspiritual and its goal is to win the world empire. Islam penetrates even very personal aspects of human life and dictates. Islamic law or Sharia is considered divine legislation and it dictates every single aspects of human life, from using toothpicks to how to perform sex; from slaughtering animals to what verse you should recite when you are in a toilet etc. Anything you can think of.

FP: What are your views on Muhammad and his worshippers?

HS: To me, Muhammad is undoubtedly one of the most influential characters of human history in the sense that billions of Muslims are still ready to die for him, and it is unique given the extent of his influence. However, one of Muhammad’s few likable characteristics was that he never claimed himself to be perfect although billions of Muslims think so today.

I think Muhammad was always aware of his human shortcomings and he did everything to ensure that he is not worshipped instead of God. But, to Muslims Muhammad is sinless, the most perfect and greatest man who ever lived in this planet, and he is even the greatest of all prophets. Every Muslim worships Muhammad, knowingly or unknowingly and reacts with unprecedented violence if he is defamed by a cartoonist or a novelists or anyone in that matter.

However, if you follow Muhammad biography recorded by famous Muslim scholars such as Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq, Al tabari you will find many incidences of Muhammad being far from a perfect, sinless man. His cruelty towards Jews, Meccan Pagans and his rivals is well recorded by Muslim historians. He massacred three entire Jewish tribes – Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayaza and Banu Qaynuqa; killed the prince of Khaibar and made his wife captive to his tent: there are numerous examples; you just have to read the Muslim biographers in any translation you wish.

Apologists of Islam will try to justify these actions with there hollow logics; but if you are a prophet you should have a better moral outlook than the average human. Muhammad married 12 or 13 times — which contradicts his own preaching of a maximum four marriages, but what I find most disturbing is, Muhammad married his closest friend Abubakkar’s 6 year old daughter Ayesha. Now if you do that in a modern civilized world, you will be disgraced as a pedophile and spend the rest of your life in prison.

In another disturbing incident, Muhammad was attracted to his adopted son’s wife Zayanab and later even married her. As a leader, he failed to announce his successor which led to the bloody Shia-Sunni division in Islam and you see the second, third and fourth Caliphs of Islam all were assassinated as a result of this power struggle. These are just a few of the incidents of a very eventful life of a very influential man. But, as far as I am concerned, Muhammad was no saint. No doubt he is extremely influential, but I don’t see a perfect-sinless man in him as Muslims try to idolize.

FP: Let’s talk a bit more about Islam as a totalitarian belief system – as you discussed earlier.

HS: As I said earlier, Islam is in a cosmic battle against the un-Islamic world. I think – apart from the mystical Sufi sects, who are mostly branded as heretics by mainstream Muslims – the rest of the Islamic world and its belief systems are undoubtedly totalitarian in nature.

You see, followers of no other religion try to create international associations of nation-states that are based on religion. Only Muslims do and they call it ummah or followers of Muhammad, very similar with socialists and communist revolutionaries.

In personal label, Islam tries to penetrate every phase of life; the sole purpose of Sharia law is to control religious, social and political life of mankind in all of its aspects. Jihad and Sharia are two ultimate tools of Islam’s control mechanism. Muhammad’s life reflects the very nature of a totalitarian system. There was no separation of church and state; not just a prophet Muhammad performed as a statesman, lawmaker, judge, community leader and in many other roles.

So, you can clearly see the beginning was totalitarian in nature. Muslims are required to follow the Quran, the Hadith (deeds and words of Muhammad) and the verdict of Islamic scholars in case the answer is not found in the scriptures. Interestingly, while all other law is human and constantly evolving, Sharia is divine and immutable – human intelligence cannot criticize it, it must be accepted without any doubts and questions.

So, you can see a very tightly controlled society here without any hope of individual freedom. Sharia contains all sorts of crazy principles, such as, intolerance towards pagans and Jews, inequality between man and woman, religious, social and financial restrictions for non-Muslims citizens, acceptance of slavery and polygamy, barbaric punishments like chopping hands and feats from opposite sides to pulling out eyes and beheading — all sorts of things.

These laws were handed down over a thousand year ago and they didn’t evolve since then. Clearly Sharia is out of touch and not compatible in our twenty-first century. In the last thousand years we have progressed a lot, but the Islamic law and its worldview is stuck in the medieval desert, for generations Muslims are stuck with it as well and they need rescue. No surprise, there is hardly any intellectual progress in Muslim societies. How can there be progress if they regard the Quran as eternal truth and the final solution for all the problems? Progress requires change, Islam is unchangeable. This is why Islam is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian belief system and Muslims are the first victims of it — but very few of them realize that.

FP: How about those Muslim reformers who are trying to bring Islam into the democratic and modern world? Is there any hope for their efforts? If they asked you for help, what advice would you give them?

HS: Look, I don’t think you can be a Muslim and a reformer at the same time; it’s a paradox and contradictory in terms. Islam forbids reformation, and Muslims feel proud boasting that unlike the Bible, the Quran didn’t go through different editions and versions; it is pure, holy and untouched.

Muhammad insisted throughout his life that the Quran is the literal word of God – the truth once and for all, that’s it. So how can you bring reformation and remain a true Muslim? That’s a puzzling contradiction and I think it is misleading too. These reformers will keep telling you that Islam is the religion of peace and real Islam doesn’t approve the actions of the Talibans, Islam has nothing to do with Jihadists etc. You will eventually get tired of that. This denial is pathetic, you don’t have to go that far to see if real Islam has anything to do with these barbaric acts or not. Just read the Quran, Hadith, Sharia – Islamic texts and they are everywhere. That’s why it is so important to permit debate and criticism about Islam across the globe. Honest and sharp intellectual engagement is very crucial to create a democratic and modern nation.

FP: What advice would you advise to those who want to save western civilization? How best can we fight our enemy in the total war?

HS: London , New York , Sydney – all these big cities have one thing in common: most Muslims go there to improve their economic condition – big cities are like beauty queens- used by all and loved by none.

Most Muslims have already made it very clear that they have no intention of being assimilated into the host society; instead they are repeatedly asking to implement Sharia Law in Canada , UK , and Australia — as if it is up to the host society to change instead.

To a Muslim mind, Islam is a universal religion and he hopes some day the whole of humanity will embrace Islam. So, there is an element of expansion mentality in them, because Islam is not limited to home and personal relationship. To Muslims, Islam is a complete code of life and society must adhere to that code. So, you see, the world view of Islam is very totalitarian and you have to fight it intellectually, not just militarily. It is also a war of ideologies, we must not forget.

Unfortunately, some western societies continue to turn a blind eye when there is a Muslim-on-Muslim violence: such as, teenagers forced by migrant parents to follow Islamic codes. Some western societies are too politically correct to take any action when a freethinker is attacked for his unbelief, scared of losing the popular Muslim vote or political support. I believe that the West must always adhere to its secular principles and take prompt actions when there is violence against women or somebody is forced to follow Islamic codes. This will send a very clear message to Islamists and potential jihadists. There are an increasing number of Islamic schools in western countries, this is another way to brainwash children at a very early age and isolate them from the mainstream society by implying that We are Muslims, they are Christians; we are different. They eat pig, we don’t; we are different, by forcing girls to wear hijab sends a clear message: we are sacred, they are not, and they are whorelike.

So, it is very dangerous to turn a blind eye in such incidences in the name of promoting multiculturalism. Respect for other cultures, other values is important and a crucial component of secularism and democracy; but, if these other values are here to destroy our own civilization and modernity – then we have fight them vigorously- with reason, argument, criticism, legal and military means if it turns into violence- so that our values of civilization are protected.

Religious belief is fine; but the practices, literal submission to scriptures; religious institutions should not be tolerated. By saying that, a Muslim should have absolute freedom to his personal religion; but if he jumps up and demands the death penalty of a writer or preaches hatred in a community he should be disciplined accordingly by law.

As I said, the West must adhere to its secular principle and defend its democratic right and freedom at all costs and politicians should stop being too politically correct and they should be unapologetic when it comes to defending the core values of civilization.

However, we should remember it is not necessarily a battle between the west and Islam — as some like to portray it to fulfill there own agenda. As I said before, Jihadists divide the whole world into two spheres – Islamic world and un-Islamic world. I won’t do that. To me, it is the ultimate battle between those who value freedom, peace and humanity and those who do not, and we must triumph at all cost for the sake of our own existence.

FP: Hossain Salahuddin, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. Thank you for your bravery and your fight for freedom and truth.

HS: It’s an honor. Thanks.

 

Secularism in a muslim majority country? That too in Bangladesh! That is like trying to straighten a dog’s tail!!

Hindus comprised nearly 30% of the total population in Bangladesh in 1947 and since then the Hindu population has dwindled from 22% in 1951 census to 15 per cent in 1991 and less than 10% in 2009.  About 2.5 million Hindus were slaughtered in the war in 1971. In 2009 the population of Bangladesh was estimated at 156 million. About 90% of Bangladeshis are Muslims and the remainder are mostly Hindus.

In contrast,  according to the 2001 census the Muslim population has increased to over 28% of the total in West Bengal and 31% in the state of Assam. At partition, only Murshidabad district was dominated by Muslims in West Bengal. But at present, two other districts, Maldah and North Dinajpur, have been added to the list. 

Thus the  riot and subsequent abandonment of Durga Puja by 42 Puja Committee in Deganga is not an isolated event nor is it the last atrocity.   

  

Violence mars Durga Puja festivities in Bangladesh

 

Dhaka, Oct 17 (IANS)  Attacks by drunken mobs and even policemen on Hindu devotees and Durga Puja marquees in many parts of Bangladesh marred the festivities of the country’s minority community even as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed on the virtues of secularism.

Reports of violence came from across the country as the biggest religious festival of the minority Hindu community ended Sunday.

The authorities withdrew policemen and closed down a police station after cops were found attacking Puja Mandaps, the makeshift bamboo-and-cloth marquees erected for the festival at some places, bdnews24.com, a newspaper website reported.

In Narayanganj, just outside Dhaka, two people were arrested for vandalism, loot and attack on a Puja pavillion at Tanbazaar.

Witnesses said at least 10 people were injured when around 15 drunk men attacked Hindus devotees, who were dancing at a pavilion in Minabazar area of Tanbazar early Saturday.

They stabbed organising secretary of the Puja celebration committee of the area, Ankan Saha Rana, 35, and member Sumon Das, 24, when they attempted to stop the drunks.

In Sunamganj in northeastern Bangladesh, six policemen including a sub-inspector were withdrawn from a police station for attacking devotees at a temple in Tahirpur Upazila (sub-district).

A sub-inspector of Sherpur Sadar Police Station in central Bangladesh was withdrawn to the police lines for burning a festoon with the image of goddess Durga.

Acting Superintendent of Police (Sherpur) Mohammad Anisur Rahman said legal steps will be taken against Badruzzaman, the sub-inspector.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed on virtues of secularism and said her country was ‘non-communal’ while speaking at a function hosted by Hindus in the national capital Saturday.

Hasina said that 27,000 Durga Puja mandaps or marquees were erected across the country this year, the highest ever. Similarly, 94,000 Muslims were proceeding on Haj to Saudi Arabia, which was also the highest, denoting freedom to practice different faiths.

‘Secularism is one of the four pillars of the country’s constitution and has no meaning if people cannot practice their religions,’ she said during her visit to the Dhakeshwari Temple Saturday, which marked the Mahanabami, a high point of the Hindu festival.

But the New Age newspaper said: ‘Even as the prime minister speaks of secularism and thanks her law enforcers for ensuring a peaceful environment, there are reports of attacks, even by cops, on puja mandaps across the country.’

 

‘Secularism’ to be restored in Bangladesh constitution

 

 Dhaka: Bangladesh will shortly restore the word ‘secularism’ in its constitution. However, it will remain an Islamic state , allowing functioning of religion-based parties, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said.

The government will reprint the constitution following a Supreme Court directive to restore ‘secularism’, but no political party bearing names of religions would be banned, a cabinet meeting chaired by Hasina decided Monday.

She told a weekly cabinet meeting that the reprinted constitution would restore secularism “as a fundamental state principle”, New Age newspaper said quoting a minister who attended the meeting.

Hasina asked her ministerial colleagues to “go to people and make sure they have no confusion about constitution amendments”, the minister said.

Her government would sit with the political parties named after Islam “to make them understand that secularism was not against religious faiths”.

The official cited many countries where Christianity was state religion but had secular polity, the Daily Star newspaper said.

A large majority of Bangladesh’s 156 million people are Sunni Muslims with Hindus, Buddhists and Christians forming less than ten percent of the population.

Religion-based political activity was banned in Bangladesh that separated from Pakistan in 1971 as these parties, including the Muslim League and the Jamaat-e-Islami , had opposed the freedom movement.

They were brought back to the political mainstream after the changes triggered by the assassination of the country’s founding leader and president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 1975.

The whole world should be declared Ground Zero. No mosques anywhere. Period.

 

Fitzgerald: Islam’s Double-Faced Triumphalism: Destruction and Mosque-Building

 

Posted by Hugh on August 19, 2010 5:18 AM

A Hamas leader recently approved of the mosque at Ground Zero, saying: “We have to build everywhere.”

How many mosques have been built in this country already, thanks in large part to the nearly one hundred billion dollars that Saudi Arabia alone has spent to spread Islam over the past few decades, in the United States? How many tens of thousands of mosques in recent decades all over the countries of the West have been built, and how many madrasas? Who pays for such things as the mosque, for only 100 families, that cost fifteen million dollars, in Billerica, Massachusetts? Who pays for all of those lavish palaces all over the place, that could not possibly have been put up by those who go to them? Who pays for the campaigns of Da’wa targeted at prisoners? Who pays for the Qur’ans sent out by the millions in the Western world? Who understands that a mosque is far more than a “place of worship” as some fondly believe but is, rather, a place where far more than that goes on, where politics, and geopolitics, are inculcated, where — at least in Western Europe and in south Asia — again and again and again it has been observed that people are whipped up at the khutbas (the sermons at the Friday Prayers), so much so that maddened Muslims coming out of mosques have gone on rampages against non-Muslims.

A particularly memorable example is that of the helpless Hindu who, happening to pass by as Friday Prayers were being let out, was beaten to death by Muslims who were just coming out of that “house of worship.” How many raids, on how many mosques, have been conducted in Western Europe, where false papers of all kinds, and weapons, and explosives, were found, some in false ceilings and other hiding places? When Erdogan said that “the mosques are our barracks,” he was quoting a well-known line, one that expressed a view that many Muslims have — the “mosque” is not only or merely a “house of worship” but the “barracks” in the permanent war that exists, that must exist, between Muslim and Infidel.

How many mosques have been deliberately built deliberately using the remains of temples, churches, synagogues? How many mosques were built in India, after Muslim invaders destroyed Hindu temples and temple complexes, including many of the most important ones, and quarried the stone to make mosques? Nor were Hindus the only ones to suffer. Hindu temples and temple complexes disappeared by the hundred, by the thousands. Sita Ram Goel published a two-volume work that simply listed, name by name, those Hindu temples and temple complexes known to have been destroyed by Muslims, and the stone quarried for use in mosques.

We all know, because of the diligent scholarship of Indian and British scholars, along with others from other Western lands, such as Koenraad Elst and Francois Gautier, what the Muslim invaders, the Muslim conquerors, the Muslim masters of India, did to India’s Hindus, so damaging “the wonder that was India” that it became what V. S. Naipaul famously called a “wounded civilization.” Everywhere the Muslims went they destroyed the monuments, and especially the temples and temple complexes, of the Hindus.The more famous and important the Hindu temple, the more important it was for Muslims to destroy it, to build right on its ruins, to declare – through such destruction followed by such building – that they indeed were visibly and permanently there, and there to stay, as the masters of the land. We have all heard about Babri Mosque built over the temple at Ayodha, but how many other celebrated temples and vast complexes were destroyed?

This practice of deliberately destroying the monuments and artifacts of non-Islamic civilization began at the very beginning of the Muslim conquest of India. Indeed, the very first mosque known to have been built in India was built using stone from a Jain temple (the Jains are those who refuse to kill, to hurt a fly). One opens “The World of Islam” by Ernst J. Grube (Curator, Islamic Department, Metropolitan Museum of Art), part of the series “Landmarks of the World’s Art,” and finds on p. 165 a picture of the “Kutb Mosque (Quwaat al-Islam) Delhi” shown and described:

“Built by Kutb al-din Aibak in his fortress of Lallkot near Old Delhi in 1193. This mosque is the earliest extant monument of Islamic architecture in India and its combination of local, pre-Muslim traditions and imported architectural forms is typical of the earliest period. The mosque is built on the ruins of a Jain temple…”

So the earliest “extant monument of Islamic architecture in India” was “built on the ruins of a Jain temple” — that temple being made into “ruins,” of course, by the Muslim invaders.

Wherever Muslim invaders went and conquered, they did not do so always by outright military means with an invading army, as in the case of the East Indies, where Hadrami traders came and settled, bringing Islam with them. What began as trading outposts became settlements that, in turn, became fortified, and places from which the Muslims would conduct campaigns of Da’wa. They deliberately targeted local rulers in the East Indies that were once entirely Hindu and Buddhist. And if those rulers, as in Java and Sumatra, could be persuaded to convert to Islam, their people would, in those simpler days of cuius regio, eius religio, would then “convert” their people, who would have little choice but to follow their lead. It happened in Java. It happened in Sumatra.

You can still find, especially on Bali, with its considerable Hindu population, Hindu and Buddhist structures. You can even find the celebrated Borubudur stupa, and you are delighted – are you not, but now with a pang knowing what you know, and what you fear could happen – to find such structures. After all, the two gigantic Bamiyan buddhas seemed exempt from destruction by the Muslims who reduced so much of the Greco-Bactrian civilization to rubble. Why did they wait so long? Because they had to, because until recently they didn’t have the right explosives, nor the proper expertise, until Pakistani and Saudi engineers came along to help them.

How many Buddhist structures remain in the most heavily Muslim parts of the East Indies, that is, Indonesia, such as Aceh? Where are all the Hindu and Buddhist temples that once could be found everywhere in the East Indies, for they were Hindu and Buddhist, until the forces of Islam conquered — not by direct military conquest as in the Middle East, North Africa, and India, but through other means. Where did they all go?

An early Umayyad caliph decided that “the furthest mosque” (al-masjid al-aksa), that mysterious place from which Muhammad was said to ascend to the Seventh Heaven on his winged horse Al-Buraq, and then return within the same 24-hour period, should be located in Jerusalem, a city never of Muslim interest (not mentioned even once in the Qur’an). Why did he decide that surely the place referred to must be Jerusalem, and the very spot from which the “Miraj” or Night Journey took place must surely be right on the highest spot, the one holiest of all those in the world to Jews, that is, the Temple Mount? It was there that the Mosque of Omar and the Dome of the Rock lay claim to Jerusalem for Islam, as over against the claims of the prior-in-time monotheisms, Judaism and Christianity.

If the association and significance of the Temple Mount for Jews is clear, it might be noted that the celebrated Arabic-and-Aramaic philologist Christoph Luxenberg studied closely the Arabic-language inscriptions that are inside and very high up in the dome itself of the Dome of the Rock. He has argued that these are not, as everyone seems to assume, Qur’anic — i.e., Muslim — in nature but are, rather, Christian in their content, which suggests a Christian origin for the building.

What Muslims did in placing a mythical mosque (“al-masjid al-aksa”) right there, and then building on the holiest site to Jews, in a city holy to Jews and Christians, was staking a claim that only other Muslims might believe. After all, you have to believe that a man named Muhammad had a fabulous creature, Al-Buraq, upon which he went back and forth to the Seventh Heaven, and then you further have to accept that “al-masjid al-aksa” must be a reference to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

But you do not have to be a Believer in Judaism to know that for more than a thousand years the Jews had made their capital, spiritual and political, in Jerusalem, where their history was made. You do not have to be a Believer in Christianity to know that Christianity has its origins in what Christians call the Holy Land, and especially in events that took place in Jerusalem. That difference matters.

In Damascus itself, the famous Umayyad mosque, the one that is shown to all visiting dignitaries, turns out to have been built on the ruins (or in some cases parts of the church left not in ruins, but simply incorporated) of the famous church dedicated to St. John The Baptist. It took a while, however, for this to happen. After all, whenever the marauding Arabs, bringing Islam with them, conquered, they found established communities of Christians, Jews and, in Persia, Zoroastrians. These people did not disappear; they were not converted in large numbers overnight. It took centuries of having to endure Muslim rule, and the status of being reduced to tolerated dhimmis, that is, a status of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity, that led inexorably to more and more people converting to Islam, to join the group of permanent overlords and masters. The pace of such conversion quickened as those who had remained steadfast saw so many others convert, thereby changing their status and at once improving their treatment. In the 7th century, after the Muslim Arabs had conquered Damascus in 635 A.D., local Christians (who were by far the majority still) continued to worship in several churches. They even continued to worship at St. John’s, though now confined only to the western aisle, while Muslims used the eastern. The Muslim overlords were still vastly outnumbered, as they were everywhere in the lands the Arabs conquered, and had to proceed slowly. Eventually, about seventy years after the initial conquest, the Umayyad caliph Abd el-Melek took over the entire St. John’s for Muslim use – that is, St. John’s became an Umayyad mosque, and with building, and rebuilding, and destruction of parts that had been St. John’s, and the use of the stone, and the turning to other uses of some of its walls, what had been the Church of St. John became the Umayyad Mosque we see today, a symbol of Umayyad power and might and of the victory over the local Christians.

In Constantinople, which for a thousand years was the largest, richest, most populous city in all of Christendom, there were hundreds of churches. The greatest of them all was the Hagia Sophia.

On May 29, 1453, after centuries of first the Seljuk, then the Osmanli Turks seizing control of ever larger parts of what had been the Byzantine Empire, the Muslim invaders finally conquered Constantinople. They razed many of the churches in the city. Western visitors can find a diorama of Constantinople, showing its hundreds of churches before the Muslim conquest, and be amazed at how on every corner there seemed to be another church. That diorama is discreetly tucked away on an upper floor of the Museum of Greek and Roman Antiquities, in the Topkapi complex, in present-day Istanbul. But not all the churches were razed. And the Hagia Sophia was not razed, but was turned into a mosque, a sign of what Mehmet Fatih, Mehmet the Conqueror, had done, a symbol of Muslim triumph.

Two decades ago, as Muslims began to make their demands on the host countries that had so generously and heedlessly allowed them to settle deep within Western Europe, that is, behind the borders that Muslims themselves were taught to regard as enemy lines, the lines of Dar al-Harb, the Domain of War, in Italy President Pertino thought that Muslims in Italy might respond with gratitude, and Muslims outside of Italy might even make it more possible for the millions of Christians, both indigenous and among the millions of guest-workers in the rich oil states of the Gulf, to open churches and to practice their faith. It was not to be. Government land was donated for the building of a huge mosque, not a mile from the Vatican, but when it was built, and when the Arab Ambassadors arrived at the ceremonies to open the mosque, there was no talk of gratitude, and certainly no talk of any reciprocal gesture, by any Arab or Muslim state, anywhere. Italian witnesses of the event spoke of the air of triumphalism, the palpable feeling that a beachhead for Islam had, with this giant mosque, been created. Those Italians who watched, with growing unease, would have been still more uneasy, had they known that among Muslims there is a belief, based on a story, or Hadith, about Muhammad predicting that first Constantinople or Rum (Byzantium) would fall to Islam, and then Rome, the Rome in Italy, would fall to Islam. The giant mosque was a symbol for Pertini, and other Italians, of Western, of Italian, tolerance and goodwill and trust. But for the Muslims present, the giant mosque built on land donated by the Italian state had nothing to do with tolerance, or trust, or good will that needed to be, or might be, reciprocated by the Muslim beneficiaries of that tolerance, that trust, that good will.

And Mayor Bloomberg, who has confused himself with President George Washington, and the Grand Zero Mosque with the Touro Synagogue in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Feisal Abdul Rauf, a most cunning and most sinister man (to fully understand both adjectives, however, you would have to know him not as Mayor Bloomberg knew him, as an ingratiating, even oily, interlocutor, but through his books, the Arabic and English versions of which can be compared) with Moses Seixas, is now making the same mistake.

This is the so called controversial article (published first in Outlook India, 3 years ago) that Tasleema allegedly wrote for a Karnataka newspaper (though she claimed that she had never written any article for a newspaper in Karnataka). 

         

This made the followers of the religion of peace, assemble in thousands and start a riot where two persons were killed and over two dozen injured after violence broke out in three districts of Karnataka…….. Shimoga Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey told Hindustan Times that situation worsened when a mob, protesting the translation of Taslima Nasreen’s views on Burkha system published in a vernacular daily, gathered at Waqf Board office and started pelting stones. They also clashed with members of other community, most of whom were planning to celebrate the festival of Holi. Police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the angry mob, which set afire 27 vehicles, including jeeps, auto-rickshaws, trucks, buses and motorcycles “.  The gutless, opportunist, secular media that continues to rue over ‘lack of freedom of expression, of the self-exiled, selectively pervert, artist M F Hussain, is leaving no stone unturned to insinuate the blame on Tasleema herself.  No case for  freedom of expression exists for her.  The followers of the religion of peace cannot be wrong – the fault is still hers even if she denies.  

 And, Janardhan Poojary, a ‘secular’ Congress leader, went one step further to even urge the government, to revoke the asylum given to Tasleema, saying “there’s a limit to freedom of speech and expression and should in no hurt the sentiments of the public at large”.              

The offices of two newspapers were attacked by masked men and vandalized.  One is reminded of the riots and attack on Statesman office in Kolkata,  forcing apologies and arrest of editor and publisher for publishing an article by Johann Hari. True to their characters, the other newspapers had also forgotten to fight for their journalistic freedom of expression at that time.           

          

Let’s Burn the Burqa

        

Taslima Nasreem   

          

Originally published in Outlook India, 17 January 2007               

Women wear burqas to conceal their faces and bodies from public view. Writer Taslima Nasrin reviews the history and many theories offered about the personal and social motives behind the concealment: The burqa may constrain sexual reactions from other people, or women may simply want privacy, refusing to endure any stares. Some opponents argue that the burqa reduces women to the status of sexual objects, while others contend that it reduces men to creatures lacking in self-control. Even the writings of the Prophet Mohammed from the seventh century suggest a range of reasons, including the separation of elite women from servants. The reasons all entail discrimination, and more than thirteen centuries of economic, political and philosophical thought reveal that any form of discrimination only weakens a society. – YaleGlobal                 

  

Let’s Burn the Burqa

The Koran does prescribe purdah; that doesn’t mean women should obey it               

Taslima Nasrin               

          

Outlook India , 17 January 2007               

My mother used purdah. She wore a burqa with a net cover in front of the face. It reminded me of the meatsafes in my grandmother’s house. One had a net door made of cloth, the other of metal. But the objective was the same: keeping the meat safe. My mother was put under a burqa by her conservative family. They told her that wearing a burqa would mean obeying Allah. And if you obey Allah, He would be happy with you and not let you burn in hellfire. My mother was afraid of Allah and also of her own father. He would threaten her with grave consequences if she didn’t wear the burqa.               

She was also afraid of the men in the neighbourhood, who could have shamed her. Even her husband was a source of fear, for he could do anything to her if she disobeyed him.               

As a young girl, I used to nag her: Ma, don’t you suffocate in this veil? Don’t you feel all dark inside? Don’t you feel breathless? Don’t you feel angry? Don’t you ever feel like throwing it off? My mother kept mum. She couldn’t do anything about it. But I did. When I was sixteen, I was presented a burqa by one of my relatives. I threw it away.               

The custom of purdah is not new. It dates back to 300 BC. The women of aristocratic Assyrian families used purdah. Ordinary women and prostitutes were not allowed purdah. In the middle ages, even Anglo-Saxon women used to cover their hair and chin and hide their faces behind a cloth or similar object. This purdah system was obviously not religious. The religious purdah is used by Catholic nuns and Mormons, though for the latter only during religious ceremonies and rituals. For Muslim women, however, such religious purdah is not limited to specific rituals but mandatory for their daily life outside the purview of religion.               

A couple of months ago, at the height of the purdah controversy, Shabana Azmi asserted that the Quran doesn’t say anything about wearing the burqa. She’s mistaken. This is what the Quran says:               

 “Tell the faithful women that they must keep their gaze focused below/on the ground and cover their sexual organs. They must not put their beauty and their jewellery on display. They must hide their breasts behind a purdah. They must not exhibit their beauty to anybody except their husbands, brothers, nephews, womenfolk, servants, eunuch employees and children. They must not move their legs briskly while walking because then much of their bodies can get exposed.” (Sura Al Noor 24:31)               

 “Oh nabi, please tell your wives and daughters and faithful women to wear a covering dress on their bodies. That would be good. Then nobody can recognise them and harrass them. Allah is merciful and kind.” (Sura Al Hijaab 33: 59)               

Even the Hadis –a collection of the words of Prophet Mohammed, his opinion on various subjects and also about his work, written by those close to him– talks extensively of the purdah for women. Women must cover their whole body before going out, they should not go before unknown men, they should not go to the mosque to read the namaaz, they should not go for any funeral.               

 There are many views on why and how the Islamic purdah started. One view has it that Prophet Mohammed became very poor after spending all the wealth of his first wife. At that time, in Arabia, the poor had to go to the open desert and plains for relieving themselves and even their sexual needs. The Prophet’s wives too had to do the same. He had told his wives that “I give yu permission to go out and carry out your natural work”. (Bukhari Hadis first volume book 4 No. 149). And this is what his wives started doing accordingly. One day, Prophet Mohammed’s disciple Uman complained to him that these women were very uncomfortable because they were instantly recognisable while relieving themselves.               

Umar proposed a cover but Prophet Mohammed ignored it. Then the Prophet asked Allah for advice and he laid down the Ayat (33:59) (Bukhari Hadis Book 026 No. 5397).               

This is the history of the purdah, according to the Hadis. But the question is: since Arab men too relieved themselves in the open, why didn’t Allah start the purdah for men? Clearly, Allah doesn’t treat men and women as equals, else there would be purdah for both! Men are higher than women. So women have to be made walking prisons and men can remain free birds.               

Another view is that the purdah was introduced to separate women from servants. This originates from stories in the Hadis. One story in the Bukhari Hadis goes thus: After winning the Khyber War, Prophet Mohammed took over all the properties of the enemy, including their women. One of these women was called Safia. One of the Prophet’s disciples sought to know her status. He replied: “If tomorrow you see that Safia is going around covered, under purdah, then she is going to be a wife. If you see her uncovered, that means I’ve decided to make her my servant.”               

The third view comes from this story. Prophet Mohammed’s wife Ayesha was very beautiful. His friends were often found staring at her with fascination. This clearly upset the Prophet. So the Quran has an Ayat that says, “Oh friends of the prophet or holy men, never go to your friend’s house without an invitation. And if you do go, don’t go and ask anything of their wives”. It is to resist the greedy eyes of friends, disciples or male guests that the purdah system came into being. First it was applicable to only the wives of the holy men, and later it was extended to all Muslim women. Purdah means covering the entire body except for the eyes, wrist and feet. Nowadays, some women practise the purdah by only covering their hair. That is not what is written in the Hadis Quran. Frankly, covering just the hair is not Islamic purdah in the strict sense.               

In the early Islamic period, Prophet Mohammed started the practice of covering the feet of women. Within 100 years of his death, purdah spread across the entire Middle East. Women were covered by an extra layer of clothing. They were forbidden to go out of the house, or in front of unknown men. Their lives were hemmed into a tight regime: stay at home, cook, clean the house, bear children and bring them up. In this way, one section of the people was separated by purdah, quarantined and covered.               

Why are women covered? Because they are sex objects. Because when men see them, they are roused. Why should women have to be penalised for men’s sexual problems? Even women have sexual urges. But men are not covered for that. In no religion formulated by men are women considered to have a separate existence, or as human beings having desires and opinions separate from men’s. The purdah rules humiliate not only women but men too. If women walk about without purdah, it’s as if men will look at them with lustful eyes, or pounce on them, or rape them. Do they lose all their senses when they see any woman without burqa?               

My question to Shabana and her supporters, who argue that the Quran says nothing about purdah is: If the Quran advises women to use purdah, should they do so? My answer is, No. Irrespective of which book says it, which person advises, whoever commands, women should not have purdah. No veil, no chador, no hijab, no burqa, no headscarf. Women should not use any of these things because all these are instruments of disrespect. These are symbols of women’s oppression. Through them, women are told that they are but the property of men, objects for their use. These coverings are used to keep women passive and submissive. Women are told to wear them so that they cannot exist with their self-respect, honour, confidence, separate identity, own opinion and ideals intact.So that they cannot stand on their own two feet and live with their head held high and their spine strong and erect.               

Some 1,500 years ago, it was decided for an individual’s personal reasons that women should have purdah and since then millions of Muslim women all over the world have had to suffer it. So many old customs have died a natural death, but not purdah. Instead, of late, there has been a mad craze to revive it. Covering a woman’s head means covering her brain and ensuring that it doesn’t work. If women’s brains worked properly, they’d have long ago thrown off these veils and burqas imposed on them by a religious and patriarchal regime.               

What should women do? They should protest against this discrimination. They should proclaim a war against the wrongs and ill-treatment meted out to them for hundreds of years. They should snatch from the men their freedom and their rights. They should throw away this apparel of discrimination and burn their burqas.               

Taslima Nasrin, a Bangladeshi writer, currently lives in Calcutta.        

    

Open letter to Mr. Shahrukh Khan

by Arindam Bandyopadhyay

(http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Open-letter-Mr-Shahrukh-Khan-SRK/blog-348.htm)

 

 Your name is a household phenomenon in Indian and even beyond her borders. Your fame has put you in the Newsweek “most powerful people list” recently. However, as you may recall from your recent experience in New Jersey Airport, real life is a little different – it does not always follow the path predicted by a scriptwriter or director.

Of late, we have been reading about your opinions and statements on matters beyond the celluloid world. Nothing is wrong in it. You live in a free, democratic country and are entirely entitled to your opinion. But as a common man, also from the same soil, I think I have the right too to raise a few points that may not conform to your views of the real world.

I hope you will read it out.

When recently, the Pakistani players were not selected for the IPL, it was almost predictable that NDTV, the award-winning, mouthpiece of our Indian liberal media select you for your views and you certified that “It (Pakistan) is a great neighbour to have. We (India and Pakistan) are great neighbours. They are good neighbours.”

I have a few words to say about those statements.

One may recall your effort to clarify the Pakistani team captain, Shoaib Malik”s apology to the Muslims, living all over the world, for failing to win the final T20 match against India, likely much to the embarrassment of a lot of Indian Muslims, as expressed by Shamin Bano, mother of the man of the match, Irfan Pathan. What was more embarrassing was your effort to try to defend Shoaib in a subsequent interview, “I don”t think he meant to segregate Muslims and Christians and Hindus and say this was a match between Islam and Hinduism. I don”t think that…”

I doubt whether Shoaib talked to you personally about his thought process at that time. You did not really have to respond for somebody else but perhaps you could not resist the temptation to show your brotherhood and solidarity.

This reminds us again of Dr Ambedkar”s observation that, “The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only.

Partition of India was what Pakistan wanted and got. It was painful to millions but many more millions in present India have been spared. Since then Pakistan has offered us only hatred. It has imposed on us three major wars, the Kargil insurgency, the Kashmir conflict, the series of serial blasts, the routine violation of border ceasefires, attacks on the Parliament House and the recent Mumbai 26/11attack.

Did you have these in mind when you talked about them being good neighbours?

In another interview you had tried to explain the concept of Islamic Jihad. “I think one needs to understand the meaning of jihad .. I”ve understood the essence that jihad is not about killing other people; jihad is about killing the badness in you.”

May be you understand jihad better and deeper than the superficial meaning of what we, the rest of the mortal mankind, overburdened and terrorized by the inter-religious, intra-religious and sectarian violence that is plaguing the world in the name of Islam today, do. For we, the less educated, cannot really make a difference between Jihad and Qatl, between Jihad by heart / soul, Jihad by pen and Jihad by sword or between lesser and greater jihad.

We wonder, whatever its meaning may be, does it minimize the significance of the mindless killings that we see today in the name of Islam, across borders, all over the world? Does it change the nature of the killers whether you call them holy warriors, mujahidins, fedayeens or plane suicide bombers?

We agree with you that terrorism has no religion. But hopefully you will also agree with the people who perceive that most terrorist in the world today happen to believe in the scriptures of Islam. They actually believe that they themselves are the true Islamists.

The so called “moderate” Islamist, perhaps does not want to contradict them or may be does not dare to speak out against them. You have probably not forgotten the FIR against you for listing Prophet Mohammed as one of the most unimpressive personalities in history, the threats from which you had to skillfully wriggle out. Others who are not so fortunate, famous or flexible are suffering lifetime, as Tasleema Nasreen or Salman Rushdie would testify. For blasphemy in Islam is punishable with death, even for a believer.

Do I have to spell out the fate if it is a non-believer?

It is due to the inherent intolerance and exclusivity of Islam itself despite your effort to convince us that there is an Islam from Allah and very unfortunately, there is an Islam from the Mullahs

Here is an historical insight from writer Irfan Hussain, “The Muslim heroes who figure larger than life in our history books committed some dreadful crimes..all have blood-stained hands that the passage of years has not cleansed. Indeed, the presence of Muslim historians on their various campaigns has ensured that the memory of their deeds will live long after they were buried…Seen through Hindu eyes, the Muslim invasion of their homeland was an unmitigated disaster.”

So why should the “non-believers” care to accept them? Why should the majority of Indians like to welcome back such disasters again?

Since partition, India has come a long way in progress and development to her current status and is projected as an economic superpower in coming decades while Pakistan is perceived as a failed state on the verge of disintegration.

What does India have to gain by offering neighbourly friendship to such a hostile and failed state?

India has never been an invader and is not in conflict of any other Muslim country. None of the wars and conflicts with Pakistan was instigated by India. In the current geopolitical situation, one can argue for the Muslim world”s grudge and anger against Israel or the west and USA but one fail to fathom why India should also be at the receiving end and why Indians should be the second largest group of people to die from terrorists attacks. Indian majorities do not have anything to do with the Danish cartoon or the death of Saddam Hussain; so why should they suffer from Islamic havoc on those occasions.

In almost all occasions of terrorism, questions are raised about possible role of Pakistan, its terror bases and its terrorist organizations, as either directly or indirectly involved. Be it state sponsored (as recently admitted by President Zardari) or by non-state actors, Pakistan or Pakistani born are prime suspect in terrorist activities all over the world. ISI has been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks including 9/11 in the USA, terrorism in Kashmir, Mumbai Train Bombings, London Bombings, Indian Parliament Attack, Varanasi bombings, Hyderabad bombings, Mumbai terror attacks or the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

Do you believe these are marks of a good neighbour? Then what is the reason for your preaching of love towards Pakistan?

Perhaps, as you said, because it is your ancestor”s homeland, you have a soft feeling for Pakistan and cannot see the difference. On the eve of accepting an honorary doctorate from a British university, we heard you say, “I really believe we are the same ..when you come away from India or Pakistan you realize there is no Indian or Pakistani – we”re all together. We are – culturally, as human beings, as friends”

Which Pakistanis are you referring to?

The Pakistanis belonging to the land, admonished as the epicenter of global terrorism, not just by India or USA but even by its friendly allies like Iran or China.

Or is it the self-created, Talibanic Pakistan, who still imposes Jijya on the non believers or finds pleasure in blowing up girl”s schools.

Are you talking about its President class like the current Mr. Zardari, vowed to wage a 1,000-year war with India or the late Mrs. Bhutto who started Jihad in Kashmiri that lead to the exodus of Hindu minorities from the Muslim majority state of India, as refugees in their own country?

Are you referring to Pakistanis loyal to the ISI and the military who train their soldiers with only one objective, i.e. to fight Hindu India?

If your mind is concerned about the faceless mass of Pakistanis, does it also include the dwindling minorities?

Or are you just concerned about the celebrities and the social elites?

It is true SRK that we belong to the same human species but it is hard to stretch the similarities much further between “us” and “them”.

We from the same original land of Bharat but we want to keep her intact, they want to break it into thousand pieces.

Our ancestors happen to be the same. We acknowledge and adore the heritage but they abhor and decimate whoever is available in an attempt to wipe out the link.

We are culturally the same. We have created the culture over centuries what they dream to destroy in moments.

Ours is a 10,000 year old civilization, theirs is a 62 years old country undoing whole human civilization.

We extend our hands repeatedly to promote friendship and amity; they give us ISI, Lashkar, Harkat, Kashmir, Kargil and 26/11 in exchange.

Do you think that the Indians nationals who died in all the above wars, the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in cross-border ceasefire violations or the Indian civilians who are killed by the ISI trained Islamic terrorists and their affiliates, in all those serial blasts, all over the country, willfully sacrificed their lives as a friendly neighbourhood gesture?

Can you face the families of the victims of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or the martyrs of the Kargil war and try to explain to them that “They are good neighbours. Let us love each other.”

Can you explain why the two gunmen at Cama hospital, during the Mumbai carnage, asked the man who gave them water, what his religion was, and shot him dead when he said he was a Hindu?

If you cannot, then perhaps you understand why the majority of India does not consider Pakistan as a good neighbour to have.

Perhaps you believe that the peaceful religious co-existence that you created in your home (and we appreciate that) can be extended to the large world outside. As you rightly said, we Indians trust and do accept everybody but what you did fail to mention was that it is the Indic tradition, essentially coming out of its pre-Islamic Hindu ethos.

If you think otherwise, show us a single Islamic country where the non-believers enjoy the same equality as the believers. Since partition, the Hindus left over in Pakistan and Bangladesh has suffered terribly. Strictly Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia, do not allow any other religions to exist. Hindus working in the Gulf countries are not allowed to practice their religion in public. Saudi Arabia insists that India sends only a Muslim ambassador. Hindu Muslim unity by and large has generally been a matter of Hindus trying to please or accommodate Muslims. One cannot forget when Vajpayee was extending his hand for peace Musharraf was planning the Kargil insurgency.

Let us remind you, your own statement “I am a Muslim in a country called India .We”ve never been made to feel this is a Hindu country.”

Can you find me a Hindu in Pakistan who can reciprocate that sentiment?

Some years ago, another Mr. Khan, first name Feroze, from your fraternity was banned from entering Pakistan for saying, “India is secular unlike Pakistan”.

That is the basic difference of the land of “Hindu” India from the Islamic “pure land” of Pakistan.

So please do not ask us to love Pakistan.

Please do not lump the people of India and Pakistan together. We Indians are proud to preserve our separate identity.

And please do not insult the land that gave you your life, name and fame, by claiming that her worst enemy, who wants to break her into 1000 pieces, is a great neighbour.

Otherwise it would be sad if somebody accuses you of putting your religion ahead of your country.

Please give it a thought.

Regards,

Arindam Bandyopadhyay.

If you mention Love Jihad or write about Honor killing, it will hurt Muslim feelings.
If you say Islamic terror or mention Muslim terrorist, it will make the Muslims angry.
For Islam is peaceful.
 
If a Muslim is asked questions, it is racial profiling.
If a Muslim dies form any cause, cry Muslim victimhood.
If they protest and kill others it is their religious rights.
If Muslims damage property or burn buses, they are unidentified mob.
If Muslims kill to enforce their religion, they are misguided youths.
For Islam does not preach violence.
 
Don’t say Ram temple in Ayodhya  was demolished by Babar.
It will disrupt communal harmony.
 
Don’t even think of investigating Taj Mahal.
It will incite communal tension.
 
Instead it is much safer to  dump the Hindus,
kill their dreams, choke their voice,
deny their rights, damn their religion,
crush their protests, evade their demands.
Let their families die and their  properties be destroyed.
 
And best if you have a secular Hindu to endorse it.
 
Jai Hind? Or is it HAI Hind?  
 
 

Kerala HC freezes probe in Love Jihad case

VR Jayaraj | Kochi

   

Within ten days of the Kerala High Court’s observations that a campus-based Islamist campaign called Love Jihad or Romeo Jihad for converting non-Muslim girls into Islam through love did exist in Kerala, another judge of the same court put forward a different argument and imposed a freeze on investigations into two such cases.  

Considering a petition filed by Shehenshah and Sirajuddin, students of a Pathanamthitta college praying for cancellation of the FIRs against them, Justice Sasidharan Nambiar stayed the investigations against them till further orders. The Muslim youths had been accused of forcing their lovers, one Hindu and the other Christian, to convert into Islam forcibly.  

The judge observed that the probes had targeted a particular community and such a tendency would lead to communal tension. He asked the police to submit detailed affidavit on the matter. Justice Nambiar also froze the follow-up actions in these two cases.  

On December 9, Justice KT Sankaran of the High Court had observed that there were sufficient reasons to believe that an organized conversion campaign was operating in the State. He had also asked the Government to consider formulation of a law against forced conversion on the lines of the ones in force in certain other states. He had also rejected the bail applications submitted by Shehenshah and Sirajuddin.  

On the contrary, Justice Nambiar said that inter-community marriages could not be treated as instances of forced conversion. He said that inter-caste and inter-community marriages had been happening in the society for a long time and these could not be seen as illegal. He said those who had probed the cases seemed to be harbouring certain vested interests.  

The court unleashed scathing criticisms against the police for their assumptions on the cases, the case diary of which had come to its possession last week. The judge said that the descriptions found in the case diary had shocked his conscience. He added that the case seemed to be falsely framed by the police.  

Legal experts pointed out that Justice Nambiar’s order and observations were in total contrast with those of Justice Sankaran. Ruling that Love Jihad seemed to be real, the latter had told the State Government that it had the responsibility to check forced conversions. Justice Sankaran had also rejected a petition seeking a ban on the use of the terms Love Jihad and Romeo Jihad.  

Justice Sankaran had pointed out that the police reports had made it clear that forced conversions through love affairs as a movement had been going on in Kerala since 1996. He said that according to police reports, about 4,000 conversions had taken place through love affairs in the past four years, and 2,800 girls of other religions had been converted into Islam in this period.

He also said that 1,600 such conversions had taken place in four northern districts including Malappuram, Kerala’s Muslim-majority district. It was evident from the report submitted by the DGP that outfits like Islamist Popular Front of India (earlier NDF) and its student wing, the Campus Front, were behind the organized campus-based conversion programme , said Justice Sankaran.  

The issue came out in the open in August last, when the parents of Hindu girl Mithula and her Christian friend Bino, both MBA students, approached the High Court with habeas corpus petitions seeking presentation of heir missing daughters. The girls first said they had converted voluntarily but later admitted that they had been forced to convert in a house at Chelari in Malabar.