Prelude: this introduction is unnecessary for the people who know me. But, just in case… I am atheist and against any organized religion. I am all against discriminating two human beings based on ‘my imaginary friends are different from yours’ basis. I am against all fundamentalism. I am ashamed of incidents of Godhra as well as Mumbai. I am not a Hindu or Muslim or part of any imaginary classification. I am a human being, I bleed red – just like you.
For a long time, any rationalists like me saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm?
Mass genocide of World War II changed that, innumerable riots in my country changed that, “Ram Janambhumi – Babri Masjid” changed that, Gujarat Massacre changed that, September 11th changed that. And now, the recent Mumbai Massacre changed that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense; it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labeled only by a difference of inherited tradition. Dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let’s now stop being so damned respectful!
On February 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?
I am sad. I am angry. Not only for the destruction of hundreds innocent lives. I am deeply hurt by these one after another blow to collective human spirit. I am scared by the increasing probability of the fact that now one non-Muslim will look at a Muslim with more mindful of doubts, fear and prejudices. I am scared for you my friend. Now, no one but you can take the first step against this marching parade of lunatics. Only you can start the jihad against this state-of-fear!
The only terrorist who were captured alive – is just a 21 years old boy!
What kind of brainwash can fill up a 21 years old heart with so much bitterness and hatred? Did he never hugged a kid? Never kissed a girl? Never walked in rain alone and thought, life is not bad after all?
Don’t you have the fundamental duty to condemn everything related to this monstrosity? Stop being just an apologist, I desperately need to see your rage! If your sacred-religious-holy-believe played even 1% part in this, don’t you have a moral obligation to be vocal against that? If your fundamental believes are susceptible to a misinterpretation in this humungous proportion, don’t you HAVE to stand up and scream – I am NOT part of this barbarism!
Instead, to my utter disbelief, I find that you are too busy to decide if Yoga is haram or not!
Instead, I receive chain mails from some of you, somehow justifying the Mumbai massacre by the ill-treatments of Muslims in India. Well my friends, here are two points summary for you -
- Over 90% of Muslims in India are descended from people of converted muslims, people from lower socio-economical strata. They had no other options to escape from the barbaric and ugly manifestations of Hindu caste based discriminations. And unfortunately that sorry state of classification never changed. It’s nothing unique, many civilizations face the similar carry-forward effect of socio-economic strata in various form and format. The religious rigidity didn’t help much either.
- There are plenty of Muslims in India who are successful, ironically much more successful than Muslims in Islamic countries. Ever heard of Abdul Kalam? All the top actors in Bollywood are Khans! I can go on, but what’s the point!
Also, please do not try to tell me that all of these are just misinterpretation and Islam got nothing to do with it. Just as a random example -
They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.
[Just an example verse; there’s a lot more of this nonsense. In case this comforts you - not only Koran; all Abrahamic religious scriptures are full with same tonality of aggressive medieval statements. Fundamentalist Hindu’s are oxymoron by definition, there are NO ‘fundamentals’ in Hinduism to start with. Still they are too all ready to take another human life in the name of their own imaginary friends]
It is the time for you to stand up my friends, to declare those can’t be the god’s words. This is the time to declare you are not only sorry about the incidents, rather you are ready to take on face-to-face with all those murderers.
Because, this kind of murderous violence only can stop when all the good Muslims, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.
Let there be light. It’s too dark here now.
Please also read : Thomas L. Friedman | Preet-O | Julia Suryakusuma