A lady hiding behind a false notion of civilizational conflict
Taslima Nasreen in a ‘Times of India’ column [Jan: 13th.2015] asks haughtily—Will gunmen get me too? The Bangladeshi lady by putting herself in the firing line seeks to feed on civilizational conflict. In effect she breeds hatred, instead of promoting bonds of love. Taslima is talented, a person capable of wielding pen with quite an effect. In an effort to be more liberal than the occidental liberals, the liberal lobby of Lutein’s Delhi, the liberal leftist lobby of Kolkata, she is outdoing one and all in Islam baiting. By catchy captions in leading newspapers, she is alluding to Quranic verses, wherein as per her, Muslims are asked to do away with infidels, implying killing. She relates to her meetings in Charlie Hebdo office premises Parisian liberals, wherein the mates express fear of her being a terrorist target. If Parisian high level security could not protect them, what could guarantee her security, asks Taslima? She provides an answer—only reforming and modernizing Islam could guarantee security?
How pertinent is Taslima Nasreen’s prescription? And, how do you reform and modernize Islam? Obviously by quoting Quranic verses implying killing infidels, Taslima Nasreen and her ilk are seeking textual changes. Quran is the pride of Muslims, it retains its originality over 1400 years without an iota of change. By quoting Quran out of context, Taslima and her ilk seek to widen the much propagated civilizational conflict to suit their nefarious design of staying in the good books of the so called liberal lobby. Killing, that Taslima ascribes to Quranic verses, relates to elements bent upon undermining the authority of Medinite Islamic state. Taslima and her ilk could be asked—does any state, and that includes United States of America and advanced European States allow elements bent upon undermining the authority of the state to carry on their activities without let or hindrance? Moreover there are verses in all HOLY TEXTS that are time and space related.
Brave and noble Arjun asks his charioteer—Sri Krishna, ranged against us in the battlefield are our own kith and kin, could a fight that might entail killing be justified? Yes, answers Sri Krishna, to defend truth against falsehood, right against wrong, it is justified. Gita, the song of Mahabharata records the discourse. Jesus Christ in complete contrast to the image created, of turning the other cheek, advocated the use of sword to eliminate falsehood. Gospel of Matthew has it (10:34-38)
 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
That is the crux of message. Jesus Christ by relating, ‘not worthy of me’ identified his prophetic personage with faith. And by talking of man against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law, Jesus echoed Sri Krishna. In all religious texts, one and only criterion is adherence to faith, a clear distinction between truth and falsehood. In making this distinction clear, even if a blood bond has to be sacrificed or sword used, it is justified. However it is, as stressed contextual, related to time and space dictated in HOLY TEXTS.
The state that got its shape and form in Medina with the advent of Islam affected global reform. Global community was groaning under orthodoxy of high priests of Roman and Iranian Empires. Islam had a liberating effect, it brought in a breath of fresh air and fragrance after a millennium of conflict between two 7th century empires. Islam helped herald a millennium of peace.
True—no nation or a religious grouping may hold on to the laurels of past. In the natural run of events, nations, religious groupings, ethno-cultural entities show signs of decay as time advances. The elements that bring forth the decay need to be weeded out. Elements that well-meaning individuals of all communities on an individual, community, national and ultimately on global level would like to marginalize. Muslims masses are alive to this fact, as also to the fact that violence is counter-productive, hence undesirable. However, so called liberals by their misplaced liberalism contribute partly to evoking violent elements. Extremism thus is not a term restricted to the ones liberals love to call fundamentalists. Liberals have their fundamentalists too, by touting unsolicited advice as often as they may, they provoke undesirable backlash. Reform, modernization, if and when needed is better left to be worked out inherently by the community itself free of extrinsic influences. Moreover reform may not remain Muslim centric, so called liberals need it, as much as Muslims do. Much needed reform would be shedding Islamophobia.
Huntington’s work on so called ‘civilizational conflict’ has provided the liberal lobby with a cannon fodder that has devoured the prospect of working through diversities and evolve inter-community relationships within national &/or religious groupings and much desired inter-faith dialogue. It is high time that global community moves beyond Huntington.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]