Mike Ghouse, August 10, 2007
“We were all set to kill her”, said Majidullah Khan about Taslima Nasrin. It is an atrocious condemnable statement. it is time to reflect and figure out how to prevent this from happening now and in future.
The incident happened in Hyderabad, India on August 9th. The Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) has warned that it will not allow Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin to go back alive if she dared to come back to the city while the Majlis Bachao Tehreek claimed that their plan to kill her was foiled by the MIM attack.
"We are very proud of our MLAs and activists who assaulted her," said MIM leader and Member of the State Legislature Akbaruddin Owaisi. "We will implement the fatwa issued against Taslima if she comes to the city again."
Killing or threatening to kill is a crime in India, punishable by a life sentence to life itself. The above named men in their misplaced fervor claim to represent Islam while Islam forbids killing an individual. Qur’aan 5:32, “Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.”
As Muslims of India and the Muslims around the globe, we urge Mr. Owaisi and Mr. Farhat apologize to not only Ms Nasrin but the Muslims of the world for the audacity of insulting them by speaking in their behalf without their permission. These misguided individuals should be indicted for threatening to kill, under the Indian penal code.
As Muslims of India and Muslims around the globe, we urge Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy and Home Minister K. Janardhana Reddy to ask the MLA to resign from the Legislature for violating the spirit and the word of the constitution of the Republic of India.
Taslima Nasrin is a rebellious writer and raises her voice when something appears unjust to her. We do not condone many of her provocative statements. However much we may disagree with her; her right to speak must be defended. We are a democracy and in a true functioning democracy, criticism ought to be cherished, as it keeps the leaders on their toes. Islam has a built-in system to incorporate new ideas through discussion and consensus called Ijtihad. She is in essence calling for Ijtihad, whether some consider her to be a Muslim or not, does not matter, the issues do matter.
Hecklers, all over the world are unwelcome, however, the test of decency and civilization is to allow free speech. Often they indulge in cat calls of stupidest statements, no matter what race, nation, or status they have including some presidents, but occasionally they do bring in important points to the dialogue, where many voices are not being heard.
When the Movie, ‘Passion of the Christ” was released, members of the Jewish community were wary of the release, fearing an increase in anti-Semitism. A Danish newspaper printed cartoons that were disparaging of the Prophet Muhammad, causing a disruptive few to create havoc around the globe in the name of Islam. When the movie Water was released, Deepa Mehta was castigated by many Hindus for the portrayal of widowed girls being forced into prostitution, the cast and crew was vandalized by a few in the name of Hinduism. President Carter released a book about the apartheid treatment of Palestinians (both Christian and Muslim Palestinians) in Israel, he is being harassed, even in the model American democracy, a few are intolerant.
US Congressman Tancredo called for Nuking Mecca, The Rev. Pat Robertson called for assassination of Hugo Chavez the President of Venezuela because he is a severe critic of Bush Policies. Intolerance is on the rise all over the world, Muslims have their own share, no single group has monopoly on intolerance. No society or a culture is ever perfect.
These are the dynamic values constantly changing with interaction within and without the various societies and sub-cultures. Screaming at Taslima, Deepa, Mel, President Carter or Tancredo will not make the problem go away. The right of free speech protects all of us, but it is not free speech to incite murder to suppress free speech.
There are a lot of injustices in the world; Free speech allows us to have our say to struggle against the perceived injustices. Justice is the key to peace for a nation or a community, without which peace is in peril.
Whether it is coming from Salahuddin Owaisi, Bal Thackeray or any one else, they should be answerable in the court of justice, file a law suit for a public threat or disturbing the peace. Let's take a principled stand on all the issues; if it is good for one, it has got to be good for others. Let justice be the corner stone of our democracy.
File a law suit against Mr. Owaisi and Mr. Farhat for inciting and threatening to kill another human being. Let’s put the blame squarely on the wrong doer and not his family, town, culture or his religion. If we make the mistake of giving them a religious label, that in itself is inciting hatred. The mistakes were made by those men and not their religion.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town
- Indian penal code that they can be charged - August 11, 2007
- Islam does not condone gangsters - August 10, 2007
- Taslima and her technicolor boat - August 11, 2007
- Muslim intellectuals condemn -August 10, 2007
- Attacks on Taslima Reprehensible - August 10, 2007
- They could have killed her - August 10, 2007
- Shame on you hoodlums - August 12, 2007
INDIAN PENAL CODES
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Hasni, thanks for the forward about today - Indeed, we have the penal codes to sack the members of MIM and clear the branding of Muslims or Islam with such acts of individuals.
TIMES OF INDIA
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's fresh threat on Friday that it would "not spare" Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen the next time she visited Hyderabad compounded the crime its MLAs and activists had committed when they attacked her at a book release function. They can be prosecuted under following provisions of IPC: -
Section 503 defining criminal intimidation. "Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person ... with intent to cause alarm to that person or to cause that person to do any act ... or to omit to do any act ... as the means of avoiding the execution of such threats, commits criminal intimidation." -
Section 506 penalising criminal intimidation: "Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years ...; and if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt ..., shall be punished with imprisonment ... which may extend to seven years." -
Section 350 defining criminal force: "Whoever intentionally uses force to any person, without that person's consent, in order to the committing of any offence, or intending by the use of such force to cause, or knowing it to be likely that by the use of such force he will cause injury, fear or annoyance to the person to whom the force is used, is said to use criminal force to that other." -
Section 351 defining assault: "Whoever makes any gesture, or any preparation intending or knowing it to be likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person present to apprehend that he who makes that gesture or preparation is about to use criminal force to that person, is said to commit an assault." -
Section 352 penalising assault or criminal force: "Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person ... shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months ..."
Section 355: "Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person, intending thereby to dishonour that person ... shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years ..." -
Section 120B penalising criminal conspiracy to commit any illegal act. The offender will be punished as if he had abetted that crime. -
Section 153A: "Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation, promotes or attempts to promote on grounds of religion .., disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious ... groups ... shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years."
Islam does not condone Gangsters
Mirza A. Beg, Friday, August 10, 2007
The attack of Tasleema Nasreen in Haydrabad, India and threatening her life is one more example of the impotent rage by religious bigots, because they find themselves incapable of living the ideals of their religion, and meeting the intellectual challenges.
I have not read the writings of Tasleema Nasreen, a citizen who has been chased from her native Bangladesh, currently living in India. Therefore I have no opinion on her writings. For the sake of discussion let us assume that what her detractors say is correct about her writing. It should not be difficult to prove her wrong by writing rebuttals, most of all by living the humane tenets of Islam. They do not seem to have faith in their own capabilities, or the greatness and grandeur of Islam to with stand small pin-pricks.
They find the low road of violence easy to take. It is uncivilized and un-Islamic, behavior, of brawn over brain. Intimidation and extortion are the only values they understand and practice. They neither read nor understand the humane attitude of the Prophet Muhammad, who did not attack those who insulted him, and there were many in Mecca at the time, who did. He returned the insults with visits to the sick with kind words. When he returned triumphant to Mecca, he did not punish any one who had not been guilty of cruel violence.
They obviously are in violation of the Indian penal code for attack on Ms. Nasreen and threatening her life, but emotionally they have insulted Islam much more than the detractors of Islam or Ms. Nasreen ever could, because they sully the name of Islam by acting in its name.
It is unfortunate that while India is making great strides towards modernity, many in the provincial legislators are criminals or support criminal behavior. Bal Thakary in the name of Hinduism has held the whole state of Maharashtra and its great city Mumbai ( Bombay) hostage as his fiefdom and has engineered riots where hundreds of people have been killed. Modi, who is still the chief minister of Gujarat has used the levers of power to kill and deprive minorities of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
With this backdrop when three Muslim legislators from Hydrabad condone threats on the life of a woman whom they accuses of insulting Islam or Yaqub Qureshi from UP feign to put up a bounty for the killing of Danish editorial Cartoonist, the Indian government and the legal system finds itself hamstrung and fears accusations of the persecution of minorities.
These people are not only insult to their own religions they are an insult to the rule of law under the elegantly designed Indian constitution. They exploit the raw baser emotions of the populace for self aggrandizement. Tolerance of opinions is the hallmark of civilization and great religions. By not bringing such criminals to the bar of justice, not only the religions are insulted, but most of all it injures the Indian Republic and the rule of law. The country as a whole and the weaker sections of the society eventually pay grim price.
I urge the Government of India and the state governments to bring the legislators from Hydrabad and all others who indulge in patently illegal and unconstitutional activities to the bar of justice.
Taslima and her technicolor boat
By Farzana Versey
Well, here is a interestingly balanced piece on Taslima Nasrin.
Let's keep the two issues separate... One was about the reactions of those few Muslims invoking the name of Islam for their bad acts and the other one is completely a different issue - it is Taslima Nasrin herself.
The first one' action do not sound like the acts of Islam; the Prophet prayed for goodwill of those miscreants who threw stones on him.
The MIM people used the name of Islam as though all Muslims had approved and given them the right to speak for Islam, and as though that fatwa against Taslima is endorsed by Muslims around the world.
Who can speak for Islam? No one is and paradoxically each one is. We are individually judged for our acts and we should individually bear the responsibility. However, this MIM act implicates Muslims and Islam, and each one of us is responsible to untangle Islam and Muslims from these individual acts. It is quite a difficult topic and all of us have to work on it. No easy answer.
On the Heels of Sir Salman
Taslima and Her Technicolor Boat
By FARZANA VERSEY
Taslima Nasreen, like many contemporary Muslim writers, is trying to portray the victim of religion. The best manner in which to do so since Sir Salman (before he was knighted) showed the way is through the dark Islamic tunnel. Let the pot sizzle with some concern for the backward Muslim world. Take large doses of the Quran, the veil, the Prophet and carefully carve it into little bits for easy consumption.
The problem is that Muslims are a bunch of fools. They imagine that most of these books will have an impact. They don’t. On Thursday, a group of activists from the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) barged into her press conference and apparently roughed her up. Television channels showed us this unruly mob get into a scuffle and throw bouquets of flowers still covered in cellophane. Taslima in her blue saree stood aside. No channel showed us what transpired before.
As always, they brought in a ‘conservative’ and he naturally said what conservatives do: she deserves it for constantly maligning the religion and the Prophet. The television anchor smiled and turned to the ‘liberal’ in the studio. This liberal has suddenly discovered she is a Muslim and the usual stuff about freedom of expression was dished out.
I don’t think Taslima or anyone should be physically attacked. What no one has bothered to find out, though, is that the organization that was involved is not a sanctioned Muslim outfit; not many Indian Muslims outside the city of Hyderabad have even heard about it. But, what is the message being sent out to the world? That not only are Muslims a bunch of uncouth fellows, they also beat up women. I can imagine the Western world nodding in agreement and saying, “We told you so.”
When Taslima Nasreen was not allowed to return to Bangladesh for fear for her life, she went to the West for a while. She could not adjust there, so she found solace in India. India that has been busy shunting out Bangladeshi immigrants became her temporary home. She did not have a word to say about the migrants who were being denied citizenship rights even though they have lived in India for 30 years or more.
If Taslima is all about this major literary voice being stilled, why is it that very little analysis is being done of her writings? Why is she always in the news for a perspective other than one of literary or ethical significance? Even when she wrote an autobiographical account in which several writers and political figures were mentioned, not for their role in damaging society but for sleeping with her, she was harping on freedom of speech. How different is this attitude from one of those Hollywood satellite social climbers that claim their pound of tabloid mileage and money based entirely on having had a close encounter with a celebrity? She has imprisoned her own mind and then goes out crying for escape.
Give her complete freedom and she won’t know what to do with it. She has nothing much going for her. Lajja revealed what one always suspected since that day in July 1993 when a fatwa demanding her head was pronounced in Bangladesh – that she was wallowing in quasi-historical truths to suit her convenience. She had ended her 13-day saga with false hope, “Let us go away…to India,” she made her character Sudhomoy Dutta, the sturdy secularist and patriot, say.
Does she imagine that India is some sort of Utopia? A few months ago, she had been ranting against Pakistan’s “tyrannical” yoke, quite forgetting that she lived in a different country. Of course, since she wants to make India her home, this is the best she could do. She felt that all talk of pan-Islamic or Muslim unity was essentially a myth, and nothing had shattered it more convincingly than the breakaway of East Pakistan from its parent unit in the west.
If there is no unity in the Islamic world – and most of us have been long saying so – then on what basis does she paint the whole Islamic world with the same brush? There are pockets of fanatics and she has had to deal with some. I have to belabor the point that a fatwa is an opinion by an individual or a group; it is not a sanctioned edict. If it were so, then all those who have fatwas on their heads would have been killed by now and not managed to write their life stories or create magic realism in Manhattan.
The only reason Taslima prefers India, specifically Kolkata, is the language. This is ironical. East Pakistan moved out of the ‘tyranny’ of West Pakistan largely due to the language issue. Now, she is speaking out against parochialism and perpetrating it herself.
What is she trying to prove? Her ‘humanitarianism’, which hangs round her neck like an albatross, weighty, but drawing sufficient attention to her prized position? Or is she just another writer with perfect timing and a sharp marketing sense? Take the reference to a sentence in her first book: “Most of Suranjan’s friends were Muslim. None of them thought he was Hindu.” What does this mean? Was she trying to say that a religious person could not have friends from another community? Is faith designed to make you inhuman? Then Marxists should be the most human and humane people on earth, and she herself would have written about communal harmony in the purest sense instead of sprinkling stereotypes from Bollywood movies.
If she scratched herself, she would be faced with a truth she refuses to acknowledge: She is so insecure that she feels the need to deny her antecedents. Were it restricted to a personal position it would have been all right, but she uses characters insidiously to make generalizations only in order to anoint herself as a progressive.
Shrewdly, she has selected a time when Islamic or fringe Muslim societies are going through a phase when the red alert sounds every time their names get mentioned. She has a nice bandwagon to ride on.
Farzana Versey is a Mumbai-based writer-columnist.
Muslim Intellectual Forum condemns attack on Taslima Nasreen
We the Muslim Intellectual Forum categorically condemn the dastardly attack on Taslima Nasreen by three MLA's of the Muslim Ittehadul Muslimeen(MiM) at a Press Conference in Hyderabad. It is an attack on the basic democratic and secular foundations of the Indian
Interestingly this attack was not led by any conservative Muslim organization, but was the handiwork of legislative members sworn to uphold the Indian constitution. Therefore this attack reeks of political motivations, both on part of the MiM and its ally the ruling Congress-I.
Apart from the fact that Taslima Nasreen's writing continues to hurt the sentiments of a vast cross-section of Muslims, but yet in a secular democracy and a free society, we need to tolerate dissent and the freedom of conscience.
A problem also lies wherein Tasleema does not understand the difference between the ethos of Bangladesh and India. Yes, in India we do have a problem of communal
carnages and the fact that Mulsims are the victims of discrimination which has now been validated by the findings of the Sacchar Committee Report. But our culture and ethos is based on the foundations of a unique secularism, based on the concept of "Sarva
Dharma Samabhava", unparallel in the world and which is evolving as we speak. This concept could provide a globalised world with certain key answers that it is
Hindus and Muslims along with their compatriots from other religions enjoy, experience, and live in a vibrant multi-religio-cultural milieu, which is very different from Taslima's experiences in Bangladesh. If Taslima's intention is to genuinely contribute to the cause of reform, she is going about it in the wrong way. She cannot achieve this by constantly
berating Muslims, their beloved Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and Islam and calling for changes in the text of the Holy Quran itself. This only reveals her utter ignorance of historical processes and the role of religion as a social force of progress in the human
quest for an egalitarian society. Little does she know that the seeds of democratic
reform are enshrined in three key Islamic tenets of Shura, Ijma and Ijtihad and she would be well advised to study these revolutionary concepts.
Also the fact lies that the issue of Taslima Nasreen is being cynically manipulated with a view to further demonise the Muslim community. It is apparent that Taslima is beholden to the Government as she is desperate for residentship, but all the Government is
willing to give her are 6 month visa extensions. Even at the time of her last extension, as one would recall, her article which was highly derogatory of the Prophet Muhammad ( p.b.u.h.), appeared in the Outlook magazine and created a national uproar.
So the government is playing its old cynical game of pandering to the communal fringes and stoking the embers so as to unsettle society. The three MLA's of the MIM who attacked Taslima in the full glare of the national media, would not have done so without the support of their party as well as the tacit backing of the their ally the Congress-I. It was on the basis of these guarantees that these MLA's were later let of lightly by the local police.
This is on the similar lines that the West, especially Britain and Blair, used the issue of Salman Rushdie to demonise Muslims and Islam. There to certain Muslims were politically illiterate enough to fall for the obvious traps.
At the time when there is a national consensus that, there has to be a national effort to draw out Muslims from the socio-economic backwardness as well as a similar support for justice for the victims of the Mumbai carnage of 1992-93, it is imperative that Muslims focus their energies on issues of national consequence.
The Muslim community would be best advised to see through the manipulative designs and ignore such minor and insignificant issues. The only democratic and civilised way to deal with Taslima is to either ignore her or answer her with the pen, violence is not an
option even to be considered. This has been the tradition and spirit of Islam. Also the democratically and politically illiterate Muslim extremist fringe would be best advised to study the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) himself and learn the basic lessons of universal peace, respect and compassion.
Recent history has shown, that a few more attacks on Taslima Nasreen will mean that she will be nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, if not win it! So we humbly request you to heed our advice.
Attack on Taslima Nasreen : Most reprehensible
By Dr.M.K. Sherwani, LL.D Posted August 10th, 2007
The brutal attack on Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad once again brings to the forefront the perverted, outrageous and misconceived religious frenzy of those Muslims who lack total sensitivity to the problems confronting the community. It reflects the mental bankruptcy of those who think that the resplendent horizons of Islam can be blurred by the rubbish writings and silly utterances of the non-entities like Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen.
The worst part of this gory incident is that the mob was led by three legislators of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen whose President Mr. Salahuddin Owaisi has praised chivalry of his party men in attacking a woman. Mr. Owaisi is a type of politician, who once, while addressing a Muslim convention in Lucknow after the demolition of Babri Mosque, in his emotional outburst, declared that the Constitution of India must be thrown into Gomti ( a river which passes through Lucknow). His statement was met with strong protest from the Muslim audience and he had to leave the dais.
Further, the contention that the government of India has hurt the religious susceptibilities of Muslims by granting visa to her has no basis.
India, despite all its infirmities, inequities, conspicuous discriminations and constantly serious erosion of its secular values, remains a pluralistic and vibrant society. The vast multitudes of Hindus and Muslims believe in a peaceful coexistence and multi-cultural ethos which have not lost their significance even after the fascist forces have been making unrelenting endeavor over the last more than five decades. And, no doubt, if there is any Fundamental Right in the Indian Constitution which is equally available to all, then certainly it is the ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’. To buttress my viewpoint, let me quote the concluding observation by a renowned journalist Mr. Ziyaul Haque, while writing in 2000 the review of my book ‘Secular Horror – A Real Story of Fifteen years ordeal with Indian secularism’( the book is the story of my prosecution for fifteen years at Tees Hazari Court New Delhi under section 124a(sedition) on the basis of one article ‘Secularism vis-à-vis Hindu Chauvinism’ published in Radiance Viewsweekly, Delhi in 1984)
“......... Sherwani is a fire-brand, which is evident from the periodic resolutions of the All-India Muslim Forum, of which he is the president. The forum is headquartered in Lucknow. His booklet in verse, Iblees and Maulanas is a biting satire on the state of affairs in Muslim religious life.
At the end, one is tempted to ask a question: Suppose Sherwani was caught in Islamic horror, rather than its secular variant, would he have survived to narrate his experience? To be precise, had he been accused by Iran’s mullahs or Afghanistan’s Taliban for sedition, would he have lived to recount the episode? No prize for guessing.”
'They could have even killed Taslima', say journalists
Posted August 10th, 2007 by Tarique
Hyderabad : If Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen escaped unhurt in Thursday's attack by Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislators and cadre at the press club here, it was thanks to the journalists present.
The journalists acted as a shield to save Taslima, who was targeted by MIM activists at a book release function.
Only six media persons, mostly photographers, were covering the function as the organisers had invited only a handful of people to the function and Taslima's visit was also kept under warps.
"The legislators and those accompanying them were ferocious. Had we not intervened things would have gone out of control," Ravikanth Reddy, correspondent The Hindu, told newspersons.
Reddy, also secretary of the Hyderabad Press Club, was attending a meeting of the club office bearers in the boardroom at the time when three MIM legislators along with a few supporters barged into the hall where the function was on.
"For half hour no policeman reached the place and it was very difficult to control the legislators and their supporters who were throwing everything they could lay their hands on," Reddy told IANS.
Some missiles hit the journalists and a couple of writers and other participants who stood between Taslima and the attackers.
Innaiah Narisetti of the Centre of Inquiry, the organisers of the book release function, bled after the attack along with K.V.S. Giri, a photographer of Deccan Chronicle.
"It is because of the presence of journalists that the legislators were a bit restrained but the mood of the others was nasty. One of them was shouting 'Kill her'," said Reddy, who had tried to pacify the legislators.
"I told them not to resort to such activities in the Press Club. We have let out the premises to an organisation and it was our responsibility to ensure that no harm was caused to the participants of the function," he said.
"Though we managed to push the legislators and some others out of the meeting hall and escorted Taslima to the store room, another group of people arrived and they were more aggressive," recalled H. Satish, photographer of The Hindu.
"Taslima requested us to call the police, and I told her that the police will be reaching in a few minutes," he said.
"Anything could have happened in those 30 minutes. Fortunately the crowd was not armed. We don't know but they could have even killed her," he said.
"She came behind me to protect herself. She was really scared," said K.V.S. Giri, who received minor injuries in the scuffle. "The attackers threw books kept on the dais at her and some hit me."
Innaiah Narisetti, who saved Taslima from several missiles, termed the attack as "shameful".
"It is shameful on the part of our legislators to resort to such use of abusive language and physically attack her. They took oath on the constitution of India but their behaviour was shocking," said the intellectual.
"The attack on a woman writer is shocking but I think this will not deter her from writing for the rights of women," said V. Komala, whose Telugu translations of Taslima's book "Shodh" and Jung Chang's bestseller "Wild Swans" were released by the novelist at the function.
Meanwhile, journalists took out a rally and demanded stern action against those involved in the attack on Taslima.
The three legislators and some others arrested by the police were granted bail late Thursday by a court.
SHAME ON YOU HOODLUMS
Firoz Bakht Ahmed
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall
defend, to death, your right to say it â€” Voltaire
August 10 happened to be the blackest day for Indian
democracy as that lunatic fringe of cowardly,
undemocratic and waspish legislatures of
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen made a travesty of law.
While the country is on the verge of its 60th
Independence Day achieved as a result of interfaith
concord, the barbaric hoodlums have again proved what
havoc organized religion can create. Owing to that,
the image of India has been tarnished in the world.
The attack by the lawmakers is a shame on the values
of democracy. As elected MLAs, they are expected to
respect and protect the freedom of expression as
enshrined in the Constitution.
These legislatures have brought shame to the nation.
How do they justify the attack on a woman? What
precedent are they setting for the Muslim youth? Their
statement after the attack shows that they have no
respect for the law let alone the women.
The loony MIM activists and their ilk represent the
intolerant sections that do not believe in values of
amnesty and mutual co-existence. They are in a
minority now but if they go unpunished, the malaise of
violence against voices of dissent will spread like a
weed very rapidly.
Their leader Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, went a step
further patting on the back of the three vandalizing
legislatures and threatening that if she would ever
step in Hyderabad, she would be killed by them, a
similar comment that was uttered by Alia Andarabi in
her burqa-clad appearance on the CNN-IBN programme.
Before the ghastly act of terror is faded out of
public memory and anything else becomes the
â€œbreaking newsâ€, the MLAs must be tried under law.
Another problem with the community and the media is
that no platform is given to the voices of sanity in
the community and only patented brands representing
(who actually never represent) Muslims are encouraged
in television debates.
Targeting writers and artists by the fundamentalist
fringe is not new but the horrendous attack on Taslima
is a first on several counts. Till now, the orthodox
clerics only had stopped short of violence against
celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Sania Mirza etc and
their ire was directed against the police, innocent
civilians and public property, now the trend has
become a really dangerous one after the entry of the
educated ones like Glasgow famed doctor suicide
bombers and now legislatures. Muslim community today
has been like a rudderless ship.
It is true that Taslima did write some derogatory
remarks against the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) but
Muslims must realize that respect for him can never be
reduced by people who do not realize that the freedom
of expression and press is applied equally on both
sides and with it also comes the responsibility of not
hurting the religious sensibilities of others.
For a law abiding Muslim like me, it was so
embarrassing to see a lone woman in a foreign country
being manhandled by the so called custodians of Law
and Islam as well! I have felt let down these
co-religionists of mine who turned into savages
assaulting the author with files, bags, chairs,
flowerpots or any anything that came lying handy and
that too sarcastically at the Press Club of Hyderabad.
Eminent Muslim lawyer M Atyab Siddiqui states that
true, her lifestyle statements may not be in line with
Islamic injunctions on women, but she is well within
her rights to do so.
Dr Aziz Burney, the learned Muslim scholar and editor
Rashtriya Sahara Urdu daily opines that the best
treatment to works like Lajja or Satanic denouncing
religion is to ignore them and leave the matter
between the writer and God rather than taking law in
hands. Such protests actually render popularity to
otherwise sub-standard literary work. He said that
Prophet Mohammed actually invited dissent rather than
punishing those who spoke against him or Islam. He
believed in convincing.
Muslims have been put to shame by this remark of
Akbaruddin Owaisi, MIM, legilature when he said, â€œWe
are least concerned about our MLA, â€œWe are Muslims
first and it is our responsibility to punish all those
in any manner who have said anything against Islam.â€
Certainly such acts do not help Islam. What authority
or which Hadith asks for the murder of dissenters, the
Owaisis should explain as we all know that Islam was
not spread by the likes of Owaisis but by the Sufi
saints whose life was generous like a river. The
honourable Owaisis overlooked the fact that ours is
not a totalitarian but secular country. Truth is
whether it is Gujarat, Hyderabad or Mumbai,
legislatures of all parties, have been known for
violent expressions regarding religious and ethnic
loyalties and they know how to get out of it.
Such people fail to understand that these blatantly
violent and anti-democratic expressions are the worst
possible publicity of their faith and owing to their
zealous misdeed, a common Muslim who is in majority,
has to pay dividends. As reaction to this, without
ado, the media will brand the entire Muslim fraternity
as a lot of extremists.
The legislatures turned goons from the
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) defied not only all
democratic norms but even the Islamic ones as the
religion doesnâ€™t allow such cowardly attacks on
women and other people. We may like or dislike what
Taslima Nasreen writes but when on Indian soil â€”
worldâ€™s largest democracy â€” no one has the right
to attack her.
Such people neither read nor understand the humane
attitude of the Prophet Muhammad, who did not attack
those who insulted him, and there were many in Mecca
at the time, who did. He returned the insults with
visits to the sick with kind words. When he returned
triumphant to Mecca, he did not punish any one who had
not been guilty of cruel violence.
I ask one question, Is it left to the MIM fiefdom of
honourable Owaisi and sons to decide for us Indians as
to who should be allowed a visa and who should not â€”
depending on their understanding of blasphemy and
heresy. The Owaisi family has been running the MIM as
its private business which is deplorable. It recalls
the ghetto mindset of the Gujarat BJP that banned
Parzania from being filmed in the state or that of
Yaqoob Qureshi, Mulayamâ€™s minister who announced Rs
51 crore prize for Danish cartoonistâ€™s head.
It seems that the kind of attacks in one of which
Taslima Nasrin had been subjected to in the Press Club
of Hyderabad by the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimin
legislators turned extremists, will never let Islam
and Muslims have a peaceful existence. It is time that
all right thinking Muslims condemn the attack on
Taslima that actually is an attack on amnesty, humane
attitude and the basic democratic and secular
foundations of the Indian nation.
Quite interestingly, the attack wasnâ€™t planned by
the clerics but by the legislative members sworn to
uphold the Indian constitution. The machinations
behind the heinous act smack of attaining cheap
political publicity at the cost of Islam and Muslims
who both felt embarrassed by these annihilators of law
and order. These zealots proved more dastardly that
even the clergy of Lal Masjid in Islamabad. These
legislators should thank their stars that India has no
Musharrafs to crush such attackers.
No doubt that people like Taslima Nasrin and Salman
Rushdie with their third rate literary works have been
hurting the sentiments of the Muslims all over the
world yet in a democratic set up and an independent
and secular society, it is of paramount importance
that we accept freedom of expression and conscience.
We all Indians, Hindus and Muslims and all the others
know that our culture and ethos is based on the
foundations of a unique secularism based on the
concept of Sarva Dharma Samabhava, globally unique and
Well, the tragedy with Taslima is that she had been
exploited by some people who were Muslims in name and
resultantly she took up cudgels Islam. Her experiences
in Bangladesh had been unpleasant and rather than
following the right track since her Lajja in 1993, she
has been found wayward. But the fact is that the best
advocates of the religion are the acts by its
followers. In case of Islam she had come into contact
with drastically morally depraved Muslims. The
solution is not in casting allegations against the
Prpohet or being vitriolic regarding Islam but in
interpreting the religion the Sufi way.
True that these legislatures are no ones to do moral
policing but Taslima herself is accused doing of what
others are accusing the MLAs. The Muslim community
best be advised to see through the manipulative
designs and ignore such minor and insignificant
issues. The only democratic and civilized way to deal
with Taslima is to either ignore her or answer her
with pen as violence at any cost is inhuman and
The attackers have rather done a great favour to
Taslima that she might have been noted for female
Knighthood by Britain or may be another attack like
this can help her being nominated for the Noble prize
for literature! This is what some actors do by way of
their kisses â€” perfect fundas to remain in
limelight! Now she will have â€˜Zâ€™ category security
at our coast! (The author is a commentator on social,
religious and political matters) ***
FIROZ BAKHT AHMED, A-202 Adeeba Market and Apartments,
Near Rehmani Masjid, Main Road, Zakir Nagar, Oklhla,
New Delhi 110 025. Ph.: 26984238, 26984517,
98109-33050 E-mail: firozbakht@...
Sukhia Sab Sansar Khaye Aur Soye
Dukhia Das Kabir Jagey Aur Roye
The world is 'happy', eating and sleeping
The forlorn Kabir Das is awake and weeping