Sunday, September 24, 2006

We need a "Jihad" against intolerance

Two separate news stories…but the link is obvious.

Even as protesters were marching in the streets, attacking churches (and worse) expressing their anger at the Pope’s alleged remarks against “Islam”, news filtered out about an internet romance which led to a Muslim girl from London fleeing to wed her Hindu lover from India.

If you had ignored the “religion” angle, the story would not have merited much mention – online romance is now passĂ© as a newsworthy item.
But of course this was no “ordinary” online romance – just as the Pope’s remark was no ordinary comment.

In both the cases, the intolerance that this faith breeds, was abundantly evident.

Pakistan called the Pope’s comments “derogatory” and various Muslim leaders said the Muslims had a right to be “angry and hurt” and that the cartoons had aroused the anger of the whole Islamic World and one analyst even said that they were more dangerous than the cartoons.

The outrage was extraordinary considering that the Pope himself did not say anything objectionable about Islam at all – instead merely quoting from an obscure historical account of a religious debate.

Curiously, I did not find a single comment refuting his remarks and no one called them inaccurate or untruthful (or maybe I did not look hard enough?).

In case of the girl who married a Hindu boy from India, her father said: “She is a Muslim …and she has married a Hindu and that is the most shocking thing about this…”. The girl said,” I knew they would never accept Ashwani (her husband)” but “Ashwani and his family accepted me for who I am” (Please note that she has not converted into Hinduism and has not been asked to).

If we accept the arguments of those who were protesting against the Pope’s remarks, not only is everyone who has ever said or written anything about some of Islam’s more violent precepts guilty of blasphemy, even someone quoting or referring to such a person becomes guilty of the same crime (on IBA, we are all already in the dock, many times over).

Muslims must realise that this attitude of “intolerance” – of believing that there is only one truth; only one way to redemption, salvation and glory is fundamentally flawed and completely incompatible with any norms of a civilised and evolved society.
We are not living in the Stone Ages and the sooner Muslims realise this, the better.

When will Muslims wake up to this?…and accept that some of the very fundamental tenets of Islam are flawed? accept the need for reform…accept that there will always be people who will not agree with what they believe in – will not agree with their way of thinking and will not agree with their interpretations – but will still need to be accorded respect, given space and treated as being equally worthy in any dialogue.

Is this asking for too much?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Is this asking for too much? "

- Yes