Outrage. Disgrace. Shame!
Shame on the MIM and a louder, stronger shout-out to the media to perhaps feel some of that shame themselves for once again giving the proceedings a tainted religious hue. [I will explain. This is a long, bilious post.]
Yesterday's nauseating events at the Press Club of Hyderabad during the release of Taslima Nasrin's works in Telugu [who cares what, really] did two things.
One, it reiterated to the whole world that, "Look here, this is what we were saying all along. These Muslims are unbelievable. They really are taking things too far."
Two, it played right into the hands of a constantly-waiting, uneducated media, frothing at the mouth for more dirt on a faith known as Islam. All because a handful of very deluded, unlearned men, ranting and raving like so many Nazi Skinheads or Bajrang Dal activists, claimed their incontrollable outrage in the name of all Muslims. And the ravenous media lapped it up, using allllll the cliches and stereotypes one now expects when anything Islam-bash-worthy happens. *makes violent retching noise*
1. Taslima Nasrin was invited to release the translations of her works in Hyderabad.
2. She did so.
3. There was no outrageous attack on Islam, no inflammatory speech and no reading of any derogatory material from her books [if indeed her books have such content].
4. After the event wound to a close, some men[led by our well-chosen, popularly elected, esteemed MLAs] broke into the venue and started their shameful, uncouth, violent histrionics. To wit, a group of full-grown men went berserk and started throwing various items- bouquets, flower pots, even chairs were attempted- at a defenseless Taslima and an oldish man who was visibly hurt during the hurly-burly, bravely standing shield between the deranged macho men and their intended victim. There was no incitement, there was nothing that could have sparked the Fire of Fury in the attackers.
5. Live footage of the attack is really embarrassing to watch - poor, sulky Taslima and poor, brave old man.
6. The mental mob then lay down its credentials: they represented "all of the 20 crore Muslims in India" according to an MP of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Asaduddin Owaisi, an abomination I saw for the first time yesterday. [Enjoy your moment in the limelight, you horrific blight to humanity.]
7. This self-same Owaisi was then seen on all news channels staunchly defending and praising the attackers, and once more *cringe*cringe*cringe* bringing in 'Islam' and 'Muslims' into all of the ugliness.
The Outrage and Opinion:
To Owaisi: You b@##$%#! Isn't it enough the whole world is having a ball at the expense of our religion already? Must you paint your perversions with the brush of Islam? No, you do not represent us, the 20 crore Muslims in India. No, it doesn't make a difference that Taslima Nasrin is not Indian, that she's in exile, that you feel she's a disgrace to Islam because she doesn't like following it, that she writes about things that are hard for you to stomach. She might have been a Puerto Rican nun for all we care - the fact remains that this was a lady whom you let loose on, unprovoked and in the most abominable manner. And then you justify your actions under the banner of Islam. Aaarrrggghhhhhh.
To the media: Have a care, journos. A little homework never harmed anyone, si? Here are some basic goof-ups and incorrect stereotyping that you've perfected to an art.
Lesson 1: Fatwa= opinion [NOT as is widely and popularly accepted, 'death sentence'].
Lesson 2: Islam = NOT a religion that preaches terror/violence. Root word 'Salaam' viz. 'peace' [as in Salaam alaikum]. Even if one did not give you the meaning of the Arabic root, one could hope that a basic respect be given to all world religions and it be quite understood that no faith preaches violence, killing, atrocity or wrong-doing. Why must you then repeatedly and wrongly use terms like Islamists/Islamic fundamentalists/Jihadis/mullahs/ Muslim extremists etc?
Lesson 3: Jehad/Jihad = To strive/struggle in the cause of God. It does not mean 'Holy War' or 'justified killing'. Don't use it alllll the time.
Lesson 4: Jehadis and terrorists are not interchangeable terms, thank you. If I strive to overcome some evil in myself, say trying to stop lying, I am a jehadi. Ergo, jehadi is not equal to terrorist. Simple, ja?
Lesson 5: Haraam= Absolutely, totally not allowed. Drinking alcohol is haraam. Suicide is haraam. Killing the blameless aged, women, children or any innocent person is haraam. Make of 9/11 and every other incident we hear of in Iraq nowadays what you will, those men can't claim to be Muslims. [My opinion, remember.]
Lesson 6: Muslims all over the world [I'm talking educated, civilized, real Muslims who have some knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah- not brainwashed illiterates, paid part-timers and chest-beating frenzied men who don't know better] hate what is happening to the name of Islam today. The media has never ever shown this overwhelming point of view. What with your minute-by-minute opinion polls, your wide-ranging documentaries, your impassioned lambasting of the horrors of terrorism, how come it never ever comes across that you BELIEVE that Muslims globally abhor the actions of terrorists, suicide bombers, spies, smugglers, underworld dons and the whole smorgasbord of evil that is now irrevocably connected with Islam? We don't like it either, get it? The few hundreds (or thousands) committing atrocities must never be assumed to be representative of the whole. How about you convey that repeatedly?
Noted Muslim celebrities in India gave sound bytes yesterday (at least) expressing their disgust: Javed Akhtar [brilliant as always], Shabana Azmi [ho hum], Nafisa Ali. Ask me, a well-known scholar, a qualified mufti would be a more suitable mouthpiece for expressing Muslim outrage than fillum-ishtaars or Page 3 personalities , who, let's face it, aren't very strong in practice.
Unfortunately, we never see the established Islamic authorities/the educated ullema speak up against such outrages. This is a worm that has eaten across all the Muslim/Arab world. Be it Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, terrorism, the governments of all Muslim nations continue to sit mum and twiddle their thumbs, doing nothing. PATHETIC.
Some background to the whole brouhaha:
1. Ms. Nasrin is in India, exiled from her homeland Bangladesh on account of some old men feeling strongly that her book, Lajja, was insulting to Islam, Muslims, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and thereafter issuing fatwas (Remember! 'Opinion'), death threats and pronouncements in the name of an aggrieved religion.
2. Lajja is none of the above. I have read, or rather, tried reading it. It was quite a pain to get through even the first few chapters and is one of the very few books I have left unfinished. Not because I was offended by the content but because I was bored to tears by it. According to me it was not a good book simply because in very long, excruciating portions it read more like a report on damages caused during the Bangla riots, and the mention of random names and unknown places for pages together failed to grip me. There was an attempted storyline in there somewhere but I lost the threads of that amid all the name-dropping.
3. I feel very strongly that the people who issued the fatwa haven't actually read the substandard book.
4. The book doesn't have anything anti-Islamic in it per se, it is just an account of the maltreatment of the minority Hindu population in Bangladesh during the riots that ensued post the destruction of the Babri Masjid in India [Whole new can of worms. I shan't even go there]. It so happened that the tormentors were the majority Bangla Muslim populace. What is so unbelievable about that?
5. As in all riot scenarios, the weak are always victimised, abused and in general, teated in such a way that 'majority' and 'minority' have no meaning anymore, the only thing that matters to anyone who can see is 'humanity'. Or rather, the lack of it.
6. Nasrin's book just put together many instances where people went rampaging, killing, raping in the name of their religion. Wronging others. Again in the name of their religion. These malefactors happened to be so-called Muslims. In the same way that when the Gujarat riots happened, the aggressors happened to be Hindus. And in the same way that the good old Serbian ethnic cleansers [I'm talking Bosnia] happened to be Orthodox Christians.
My point is that evil does not belong to any faith or religion. Tyrants, terrorists, reprobate persons cannot lay claim to any faith in the midst of their heinous actions.
Oh, look at me, I'm as bloody boring as Taslima's book. Enough. I am done.