A rebuttal to the Open Page article ‘Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not.’
This rebuttal is to the piece
in The Hindu titled “Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not” (“Open Page,” August 14, 2011) written by Mr. A. Faizur Rahman, claiming to represent the “moderate” spectrum of thought in the Muslim community.
Although Mr. Rahman’s piece was written in reference to an earlier piece (“We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism,” “Open Page,” August 7, 2011), by Mr. Raji Raouf, he engages in disinformation about my op-ed piece in another newspaper. Hence it has become essential for me to rebut what Mr. Rahman has written in your columns.
Mr. Rahman’s definition of a moderate Muslim is one who does not react to what he calls provocative articles such as mine. He however fails to define what the so-called moderate Muslim’s reaction should be to those “terrorists” who have been killing thousands of innocent Indians in various parts of the country, including driving 5,00,000 Hindus out from the Kashmir Valley.
He states that moderate Muslims are content that the National Commission for Minorities sent a notice to me, rather than respond to the call from Muslim Organisations [his words] to “take up arms and to let all hell loose (sic).” Thank you for the consideration, Mr. Rahman!
However, his concept of moderation clearly seems to be an oxymoron because it means a tacit acquiescence in the atrocities of the Islamic terrorists. He fails to offer any concrete steps for Muslims to disown or counter measures to meet the challenge of the jihadi brand of Islam. At this juncture, I am entitled by the “equal time principle” to state what I had in substance written in my op-ed about combating Islamic terrorism, that is terrorism invoking the tenets of Islam especially jihad.
Terrorism is an act of violence that targets civilians to overawe a legally constituted government and the people in the pursuit of political or ideological aims.
In 2004, the U.N. Security Council, in its Resolution No.1566, referred to “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act”.
Hence, every government, separately and collectively, has a duty to take effective counter-terrorism measures, to prevent and deter future terrorist attacks and to prosecute those who are responsible for carrying out such acts. At the same time, countering of terrorism poses grave challenges to the protection and promotion of human rights. Every nation is therefore called upon to resolve the conflicting demands of combating terrorism and protecting human rights. The relationship between the two is not “linear,” but “non-linear.” That is, it is not true that the less we protect human rights, the more we can combat terrorism. The converse is also not true. There is, therefore, an “optimum combination” of measures to combat terrorism and the level of safeguards that ensure human rights. The law of diminishing returns operates in this trade-off. Hence we need a strategy of deterrence with minimal intrusion on human rights. This is what I wrote to stir a debate — and not invite and disinformation abuse as Mr. Rahman has done.
The fundamental question here today is that since in India we are the worst affected by jihadi terrorist attacks, how to formulate a strategy to deal with Islamic terrorism.
The strategy we choose for terrorist attacks should not be worse in the long run than the consequences of these attacks as in the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnap case of 1989 and the Kandahar IC-814 plane hijack case. Terrorism in India worsened as a consequence of the deal made by the NF and NDA governments to free the notorious terrorists in custody. More innocent people, for example, have been killed in terrorist attacks since the release of Maulana Azhar, Umar Qureshi and Zargar in exchange for the passengers and crew in the Kandahar case. These three upon reaching Pakistan, continued as heroes in their terrorists acts against India including 26/11 in Mumbai.
Thus we need a clear-cut policy, which means a clear-cut statement of objectives, defining the priorities of these objectives, the strategy to achieve the objective, and the committing of necessary human, financial and infrastructural resources.
We need, most of all, a strategy of deterrence. Secular intellectuals may wax eloquent about “true Islam” being humane and peaceful, on TV programmes, but it is clear that they have not read any authoritative translations of the Koran, the Sira and the Hadith. These three holy books together constitute the theology of Islam. Hence instead of talking about the “correct interpretation” of Islam, those who call themselves “moderates” in the Islamic community, ought instead to urge for a new reformed Islamic theology that is consistent with democratic principles.
In Islam, the word of the Prophet is final. No true Muslim can disown these verses, or say that they would rewrite the offensive verses of the Koran. If they do, then they would have to run for their lives.
We Hindus have a long recognised tradition of being religious liberals by nature. We have already proved it enough by welcoming to our country and nurturing Parsis, Jews, Syrian Christians, and Moplah Muslim Arabs who were persecuted elsewhere, when we were 100 per cent Hindu country. Today, Hindus being targeted by Islamic terrorists, have to stand up for themselves.
What does it mean in the 21st century for Hindus to stand up? I mean by that mental clarity of the Hindus to defend the nation by effective deterrent retaliation.
This also entails an intelligent co-option of other religious groups into the Hindu cultural continuum. That is why I advocated that Muslims accept what has been scientifically established by DNA genetic studies, that we have common ancestors and share the hoary Hindu past.
(Dr. Subramanian Swamy is President, Janata Party.)