Muslims need to introspect (MICE APPEALING TO CAT)

Date: 01 Mar 2010

Comment

Muslims need to introspect///////////// Balbir K Punj////////////// The beheading of two Sikh hostages by the Pakistani Taliban who, it is said, still hold three more Sikhs captive, represents a problem not just for India but for the entire civilised world. Meanwhile, Pakistan is in no mood to take responsibility for the crime and go after the perpetrators as it continues to maintain that the beheadings were carried out by those outside the Pakistani state apparatus. It is appalling that secular apologists and peaceniks in India as well as the Muslim leadership here are silent on this brutality. ////////////// According to reports, the brutal beheadings followed the refusal of the Sikh victims to accept the religion of their captors in lieu of failing to pay a religious tax or jizya. If this is true, then there is great urgency for the leaders of Islam to clarify their stand on non-Muslims. ////////////// The Constitution as well as the political practices in Pakistan and several other Muslim-majority countries treat non-Muslims as second-class citizens. The top political, civil and Army positions in these countries are reserved only for people belonging to the majority religion. Pakistanís military dictatorships have built into the state system a close relationship between religion and policy-making. The bulk of the growing teenagers are exposed to a system of education ó both in the madarsas and state run-institutions ó wherein children are brainwashed to treat all religions except Islam as false and are told that it is perfectly normal to use violence to squeeze the minority out of their religious belief. ////////////// It was during the military dictatorship of Gen Zia-ul-Haq that the education and legal systems of Pakistan were totally Islamised. Even a full decade of civilian rule after that could not change the circumstances. Can the apologists in our country deny the fact that the Taliban who carry out brutal beheadings of those belonging to faiths other than Islam are the end products of a regime that legally prescribes death for the lightest slip of the tongue against any doctrine of the majority religion? Can they also deny that the very existence of such a state across the border is deeply influencing the Muslim orthodoxy here? Are we wrong in assuming that those young Muslims from this country who are sucked into joining the Pakistani Taliban and their ilk are motivated by the very same concepts that are hammered into them from childhood through madarsaeducation? //////////////// Political parties and leaders who talk of enacting laws to enable Islamic banking and Islamic personal laws, even though they do nothing to ensure gender quality enshrined in our Constitution, should examine whether their vote-bank politics is fuelling these separatist, Talibanistic attitudes among the Muslim population in this country. ///////////// Repeated exaggeration of past communal riots force the Muslim minority community to believe that the Indian state is against them when the fact is that the Muslim population in India has grown to over 15 crores from the time of partition while the religious minorities in Pakistan have shrunk to a mere marginal existence. ///////////// It would be suicidal for us to refuse to see the armed orthodoxy in Pakistan as different from the Pakistani state. The establishment in Islamabad often cites the fact that Pakistan is also a victim of terror attacks in order to earn the leniency of the international community. Yet it fails to come to terms with the growth of multiple armed Islamist groups or its hydra-headed consequences. Nor is Islamabad eager to take up the issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from its soil in discussions with New Delhi as is now evident from the recently-concluded Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries. /////////////// And this is Pakistanís position not just with India; in talks with the Americans, Pakistanís Army chief refused to re-start operations against the Taliban, let alone crack down on the safe heavens that the jihadis have made for themselves on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line. More dangerous for India is the other fact that the Army continues to be the real seat of power in Pakistan. Its use of the Islamic religious orthodoxy and jihadi terrorist groups against India is well documented. It would never agree to give up these strategic assets. ///////////// Pakistanís real masters also derive strength from the fact that they have the support of other Islamic nations for using state power to sabotage the secular growth in countries that are not yet Islamic or sufficiently Islamic. The act of beheading is still part of the state power that many of these Islamic nations use to punish those considered to be deviants, who have strayed from the laws laid down by the holy books of Islam even by a centimetre. We regularly get reports from Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Islamic nations of publicly-conducted beheadings and incidents of stoning unto death as well as punishments that involve the amputation of the offenderís limbs ó acts that all civilised countries throughout the world have long abolished. ///////////////// The treatment meted out to the Pandits of the Kashmir Valley and the corresponding silence of the Muslim leadership on this injustice have not enabled the Muslim community to convince their Hindu neighbours that true secularism is inherent in the Islamic political doctrine. It is not only the condemnation of the beheadings of Sikhs in Pakistan that the international community is looking forward to. It is the total disavowal of the culture of violence that the civilised world would like to see emerge from the Muslim world. For this there needs to be a renaissance within the global Islamic community. There needs to be introspection and re-evaluation of Islamic values. Unless and until this happens, peace will remain elusive as the virus of jihad will continue to spread far and wide. ///////////////////// punjbalbir@gmail.com //////////////// 000000000