Monday, March 1, 2010

Taslima's article sparks violence in Karnataka, 2 killed

The Indian Muslim clergy and the leadership needs to jump in on this.

As an individual she has the right to express her opinions whether we agree or not, as much as any one has a right to condemn her statements.

The major mistake Muslims are making is not to have a debate with her on the issues, that's the civil and democratic thing to do. She will lose debate "She told the Muslim women to burn the Burqa" as if she will start wearing a skirt if a westerner says "Burn the Saree, it is a sign of backwardness". Neither is a sign of backwardness, it is a culture that has evolved and no one will drop what they are used to on the sound of a word 'drop'. In a democracy, people should have the freedom to speak; the best way to combat a bad idea is to offer good ideas to compete.

The major mistake Muslims are making is not to have a debate with her on the issues. They did not have enough faith in their culture or religion to debate. Taslima would have easily lost in a debate from a few intellectuals and most likely she would not have gone on the attack binge.

Ms. Nasreen is a bellyacher and not a reformer. A reformer brings solutions to the issues and presents his or her research and asks the scholars to review and build consensus for a gradual acceptance of the proposed ideas. Instead, she agitates and builds resentment and does exactly opposite of what she claims to do; reform. Her approach is wrong and her statements may please the Islam-bashers and earn some circulation. However, her opinion does not affect the world or the religion of Islam.

The role of a Muslim is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His work is reflected at three websites and 22 Blogs at

Taslima's article sparks violence in Karnataka, 2 killed

SHIMOGA/BANGALORE/HASSAN: Two persons died and eight others were injured in Shimoga district of Karnataka on Monday following violent protests over the publication of an article by Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen on the burqa in a vernacular daily. While one of the victims died in police firing, the other died during the clashes.

The police opened fire after protesters, who were taking out a procession, burnt 12 two-wheelers, two tractors, two autos and pelted stones at buses and buildings. The deceased were identified as Mustafa and Ataulla.

According to home minister P V Acharya, there was trouble in Hassan too, with protesters burning two-wheelers, shops and raining stones on buses and buildings. But the situation there was more under control. About two dozen persons were arrested in connection with the incidents.

Curfew has been clamped until Tuesday morning in both districts. The police force was meagre in Shimoga with most of the personnel being deployed in other parts of the state on account of Holi. The intelligence wing is also said to have erred in assessing the situation when the protesters began attacking shops and went on a burning spree.

One of the victims of the violence in Shimoga, Karanataka, died after the police opened fire in the air to prevent loss of property during the protests over an article by Taslima Nasreen.

In fact, the district administration had appeal to community leaders not to go ahead with their procession plans, in vain. In Hassan, minority committee members gathered in large numbers and forced the closure of shops belonging to members of their community. Hassan additional SP Yellappa told TOI that a section of protesters turned violent after submitting a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.

But IGP (southern range) Jeevenkumar V Gaonkar said the situation was limping back to normal, but they would continue intensive patrolling across the town for the next couple of days. KSRP men and additional forces from other districts have been pressed into action.

Meanwhile, the Mysore police tightened security by erecting pickets at many spots. Police commissioner Sunil Agarwal said, "So far, no incident has been reported in the city, but we don't want to take chances."

Karnataka home minister P V Acharya said the government has taken all possible steps to check violence from spreading in the state. "We have ensured an elaborate bandobust in all 30 districts of the state and prohibitory orders have been clamped in several sensitive districts," he said.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.