Muslims demand an apology from MIM for attack on Taslima Nasrin
by Mike Ghouse
“We were all set to kill her”, said Majidullah Khan about Taslima Nasrin. It is an atrocious condemnable statement. it is time to reflect and figure out how to prevent this from happening now and in the future.
The incident happened in Hyderabad, India on August 9th. The Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) has warned that it will not allow Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin to live if she dared to come back to the city while the Majlis Bachao Tehreek claimed that their plan to kill her was foiled by the MIM attack.
“We are very proud of our MLAs and activists who assaulted her,” said MIM leader and Member of the State Legislature Akbaruddin Owaisi. “We will implement the fatwa issued against Taslima if she comes to the city again.”
Killing or threatening to kill is a crime in India, punishable by a life sentence to life itself. The above named men in their misplaced fervor claim to represent Islam while Islam forbids killing an individual.
Qur’an 5:32, “Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.”
As Muslims, we urge Mr. Owaisi and Mr. Farhat to apologize not only to Ms Nasrin but to the Muslims of the world for the audacity of insulting them by speaking on their behalf without their permission. These misguided individuals should be indicted for threatening to kill, under the Indian penal code.
As Muslims, we urge Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy and Home Minister K. Janardhana Reddy to ask the MLA to resign from the Legislature for violating the spirit and the word of the constitution of the Republic of India.
Taslima Nasrin is a rebellious writer and raises her voice when something appears unjust to her. We do not condone many of her provocative statements. However much we may disagree with her; her right to speak must be defended. India, like the United States is a democracy, and in a true functioning democracy, criticism ought to be cherished, as it keeps the leaders on their toes. Islam has a built-in system to incorporate new ideas through discussion and consensus called Ijtihad. She is in essence calling for Ijtihad, whether some consider her to be a Muslim or not, does not matter, the issues do matter.
Hecklers, all over the world are unwelcome, however, the test of decency and civilization is to allow free speech. Often they indulge in cat calls of stupidest statements, no matter what race, nation, or status they have, but occasionally they do bring in important points to the dialogue, where many voices are not being heard.
When the Movie, ‘Passion of the Christ” was released, members of the Jewish community were wary of the release, fearing an increase in anti-Semitism. A Danish newspaper printed cartoons that were disparaging of the Prophet Muhammad, causing a disruptive few to create havoc around the globe in the name of Islam. When the movie Water was released, Deepa Mehta was castigated by many Hindus for the portrayal of widowed girls being forced into prostitution, the cast and crew was vandalized by a few in the name of Hinduism. President Carter released a book about the apartheid treatment of Palestinians (both Christian and Muslim Palestinians) in Israel, and he is being harassed. Even in the model American democracy, a few are intolerant.
US Congressman Tancredo called for Nuking Mecca, The Rev. Pat Robertson called for assassination of Hugo Chavez the President of Venezuela because he is a severe critic of Bush Policies. Intolerance is on the rise all over the world, Muslims have their own share, no single group has a monopoly on intolerance. No society or a culture is ever perfect.
These are the dynamic values constantly changing with interaction within and without the various societies and sub-cultures. Screaming at Taslima, Deepa, Mel, President Carter or Tancredo will not make the problem go away. The right of free speech protects all of us, but it is not free speech to incite murder to suppress free speech.
There are a lot of injustices in the world; Free speech allows us to have our say in struggling against perceived injustices. Justice is the key to peace for a nation or a community, without which peace is in peril.
Whether it is coming from Salahuddin Owaisi, Bal Thackeray or any one else, they should be answerable in the court of justice, file a law suit for a public threat or disturbing the peace. Let’s take a principled stand on all the issues; if it is good for one, it has got to be good for others. Let justice be the corner stone of our democracy.
File a law suit against Mr. Owaisi and Mr. Farhat for inciting and threatening to kill another human being. Let’s put the blame squarely on the wrong doer and not his family, town, culture or religion. If we make the mistake of giving criminals a religious label, that in itself is inciting hatred. The mistakes were made by those men and not their religion.
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