Zuv' chumm' bramhaan'
Ghar' gachaa

Jul 23, 2006

Apologists of Islamist terror

By Kalavai Venkat

Every time Islamist terrorists bomb a train or a civic building, apologists quickly offer two explanations: First, poverty is forcing some Muslims to take to terrorism. Second, Hindus have alienated the minority Muslims, some of whom have taken to terrorism out of frustration.

Let us put this "blame-it-on-the-victim" apology to litmus test. In Jammu & Kashmir, seven lakh Hindus have been ethnically cleansed. Out of those, four lakh face deprivation, poverty and deaths in refugee camps. How many Kashmiri Hindus have become terrorists? Tibetan Buddhists have been expelled from their country. Their spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, lives as a refugee in India. How many of them have become terrorists?

Millions of Hindus and Buddhists have been raped, butchered and ethnically cleansed from Bangladesh. They live in abject poverty in refugee camps in India. How many of them have become terrorists? So, the reason has to be something other than poverty. Could it be the alleged alienation of Muslims?

Jews came as refugees to India 2,000 years ago, Orthodox Christians 1,500 years ago and Parsis 1,100 years ago. Instead of alienating them, Hindus encouraged them to retain their uniqueness and flourish.
These groups produced some of India's renowned industrialists, generals, educationists and lawyers.

In every society - France, Spain, the UK or the US - Muslims complain of alienation. There are numerous immigrant and minority groups - Jews, Chinese, Indians, Filipinos - that live in these societies but never complain about alienation. They are content educating their children and enjoying a good life. It seems that every society singles out Muslims for alienation. It must be a global conspiracy against the "religion of peace".

How about some introspection? Muslims ruled most of India for nearly a millennium and imposed the jiziya on the majority Hindus. If the Muslims are still educationally backward, they have only themselves to blame. They did not value education. They opted to put their daughters behind a burqa, instead of sending them to schools. They preferred the madarsa education to modern scientific education. Whose fault is this?

Neither poverty nor imagined alienation causes terrorism. Many terrorists are well educated and affluent. They have not personally faced deprivations in life. They do not know their victims personally.
They select their victims in a cold and calculated manner so as to inflict maximum damage.

The jihadis are influenced by Islamic fundamentalism that teaches Muslims to alienate themselves from "infidels". Islam sanctifies the killing of those it has arbitrarily branded "infidels." Even Prophet Mohammad is said to have persecuted the pagans, Jews and Christians.

Millions of madarsas across the country brainwash gullible Muslim children into emulating the Islamic fundamentalism. These madarsas impart obscure ideas in the name of education, and inculcate anger and imagined notions of persecution in the minds of Muslim children.
Islamic mosques complement this paranoia with weekly doses of impassioned appeals.

Is it a wonder that some adolescents exposed to this heady mix of intolerance end up as terrorists? Nearly 200 people have been bombed to death in Mumbai. Hundreds more have been maimed. They have left behind orphans, widows and aging parents. The jihadi fire has torched their hopes and dreams.

Let us sympathise with the innocent victims of Islamist terrorism, not with the terrorists. It is time to call a spade a spade.

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