Muslim Intellectual Forum of India Condemns Attack on Taslima Nasreen

Muslim Intellectual Forum of India Condemns Attack on Taslima Nasreen


We the Muslim Intellectual Forum categorically condemn the dastardly attack on Taslima Nasreen by three MLA’s of the Muslim Ittehadul Muslimeen at a Press Conference in Hyderabad. It is an attack on the basic democratic and secular foundations of the Indian nation.

Interestingly this attack was not led by any conservative Muslim organization, but was the handiwork of legislative members sworn to uphold the Indian constitution. Therefore this attack reeks of political motivations, both on part of the MIM and its ally the ruling Congress-I.

Apart from the fact that Taslima Nasreen’s writing continue to hurt the sentiments of a vast cross-section of Muslims, but yet in a secular democracy and a free society, we need to tolerate dissent and the freedom of conscience.

A problem also lies wherein Tasleema does not understand the difference between the ethos of Bangladesh and India.

Yes, in India we do have a problem of communal carnages and the fact that Mulsims are the victims of discrimination which has now been validated by the findings of the Sacchar Committee Report.

But our culture and ethos is based on the foundations of a unique secularism, based on the concept of “Sarva Dharma Samabhava”, unparalled in the world and which is evolving as we speak. This concept could provide a globalised world with certain key answers that it is desperately seeking.

Hindus and Muslims along with their compatriots from other religions, enjoy, experience and live in a vibrant multi-religio-cultural milieu, which is very diffrent from Taslima’s experiences in Bangladesh.

If Taslima’s intention is to genuinely contribute to the cause of reform, she is going about it in the wrong way. She cannot achieve this by constantly berating Muslims, their beloved Prophet Muhammad ( p.b.u.h.) and Islam and calling for changes in the text of the Holy Quran itself. This only reveals her utter ignorance of historical processes and the role of religion as a social force of progress in the human quest for an egalitarian society.

Little does she know that the seeds of democratic reform are enshrined in three key Islamic tenets of Shura, Ijma and Ijtihad and she would be well adviced to study these revolutionary concepts.

Also the fact lies that the issue of Taslima Nasreen is being cynically manipulated with a view to further demonise the Muslim community. It is apparent that Taslima is beholden to the Government as she is desperate for residentship, but all the Government is willing to give her are 6 month visa extensions. Even at the time of her last extension, as one would recall, her article which was highly derogatory of the Prophet Muhammad ( p.b.u.h.), appeared in the Outlook magazine and created a national uproar.
So the government is playing its old cynical game of pandering to the communal fringes and stoking the embers so as to unsettle society. The three MLA’s of the MIM who attacked Taslima in the full glare of the national media, would not have done so without the support of their party as well as the tacit backing of the their ally the Congress-I. It was on the basis of these guarantees that these MLA’s were later let of lightly by the local police.

This is on the similar lines that the West, especially Britain and Blair, used the issue of Salman Rushdie to demonise Muslims and Islam. There to certain Muslims were politically illiterate enough to fall for the obvious traps.

At the time when there is a national consensus that, there has to be a national effort to draw out Muslims from the socio-economic backwardness as well as a similar support for justice for the victims of the Mumbai carnage of 1992-93, it is imperative that Muslims focus their energies on issues of national consequence.

The Muslim community would be best advised to see through the manipulative designs and ignore such minor and insignificant issues. The only democratic and civilised way to deal with Taslima is to either ignore her or answer her with the pen, violence is not an option even to be considered. This has been the tradition and spirit of Islam.

Also the democratically and politically illiterate Muslim extremist fringe would be best advised to study the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) himself and learn the basic lessons of universal peace, respect and compassion.

Recent history has shown, that a few more attacks on Taslima Nasreen will mean that she will be nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, if not win it!  So we humbly request you to heed our advice.

Feroze Mithiborwala
Asif Khan
Hanif Lakdawala
Afaque Azad
Arif Kapadia
Irfan Mulla

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