When Rushdies and Taslimas, Yogis, Sadhavis and Cartoonists vilify Islam, depicting Quran, Prophet and his companions in highly derogatory manners, the international as well as Indian media rise in their support claiming it was their right of “freedom of speech”.
When some Muslim preachers or leaders make just a few harsh sentiments, which are nowhere in venomousness or ridicule of others than the works of Rushdies and Taslimas and Cartoons denigrating Prophet Muhammad, the media develops total amnesia for the golden maxim of the modern world, the “Freedom of Speech”, and goes berserk vilifying them as the preachers of hatred and violence.
And what can be more ludicrous than that Taslimas and Rushdies are often invited to join the debate against the “hate speeches” of Muslim preachers. The message is clear; religion in general and Islam in particular is unacceptable to the forces of modernity.
While the radicalisations of Westernism and modernity have left all other forms of radicalisation miles behind in terms of devastation they caused, they would use “radical” only to describe Islam. And when they discuss “Islamic Radicalism”, they would totally ignore the fact that if there is any real “Islamic Radicalism”, it is the direct result of the Western radicalisation at the global level and Hindu radicalisation within the country.
They will never debate the violence against Muslims and will never ask questions to the perpetrators of that violence even if it kills millions of innocent Muslims at the international level and tens of thousands in communal riots in India. But as soon as a Muslim name appears linked to any violence even if it kills a few dozens, they will leave no stone unturned in bringing the whole Muslim community to the worst possible media trial.
I happened to watch Times Now debate on Friday night with Arnab Goswami at its worst shouting at the panellists. If there is one radicalist in the Indian media, it is none other than Goswami. Only he knows what the best is; those not in agreement with him have no right to even claim that they are right.
And see the hollowness of his arguments.
He was spouting venom on Zakir Naik just because he linked the condemnation of Osama bin Laden as a terrorist to the proof of allegations against him. He said that if “Osama was really involved in those acts; he was surely a terrorist and must be condemned”. This sentence was a proof of Naik’s crime in Arnab’s view and his support to terrorism.
On the other hand, I have yet to see an Indian TV focussing the entire debate on those who announced booties for killing Naik.
I do count Zakir Naik as perhaps the most overrated “Islamic scholar” of recent times. He has hardly any innovative researches or thoughts of his own and most of his lectures have been prepared on the borrowed materials from the works of people like Ahmad Deedat, Achatya Naved Usmani, Ved Parkash Upadhyaya and Harun Yahya.
Apart from his mesmerising ability to produce references from scriptures, I do not think he is a good speaker. His answers to the queries are often unsophisticated displays of polemics. His certain remarks may have rightly irked certain Muslim sects.
But, I cannot see any of his statements as a proof of his spread of hatred against other religions or support of violence.
I, in fact, value his contribution because he attracted many wayward young Muslims to the truth of Islam and tried to bring Hinduism, Christianity and Islam closer by highlighting their common origin.
When he said that instead of targeting innocent people, terrorists should instead think of targeting the mischief makers, this was nothing but a way to dilute the anger of those Muslims who have resorted to illegitimate means to confront the illegitimate violence of West against Muslims. Only a naive or an enemy can infer from this that he was really telling them to take law in their own hands and kill the wicked.
At the most, this denoted failure in conveying what he wanted to convey - that violence against innocents is intolerable under all conditions.
Even his supposed remarks against other religions must be seen in their entirety. Islamic scholars including him always argue that all the previous scriptures and the founders of religions were true - many being the Messengers of God.
They quote Gita, Upanishad and other scriptures to show that like Quran, they also preached oneness of God and it was later that the purity of the original religions was adulterated.
Like many Christian and Hindu preachers who spread venom against Quran, Muhammad and Islam, Islamic preachers hold Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Ram in high esteem.
But when there is a predetermined effort to denigrate a person, and use this as an opportunity to put question mark on a whole community and their religion, who can question these media persons. They and their masters just know the art of questioning and never bother to face questions themselves.
The questions that need to be asked to them are: If violence is the proof of radicalisation of a community, group, country or ideology, why West and Westernism are not described as the worst forms of radicalisation?
Why they are not asked: Why they killed about one hundred thousand Afghanistanis when the alleged mastermind and his men were hidden either in Pakistan or somewhere in the nearby hills?
Why they killed 2 million innocent Iraqis when there was absolutely no evidence of weapons of mass destruction or its link with terrorism? (This has officially been proved by the Chilcot Commission Report.)
Why there is no worldwide debate on the role of Western radicalism leading to millions of Muslim deaths?
Why no one argues that if “Islamic radicalism” is to be uprooted, Western radicalism will have to be abandoned and Western violent campaigns against Muslim lands will have to be stopped forever?
Why the debate is always centred on “Jihadi ideologies” and Western military ideologies are not discussed at all?
Why are they not asked: why is the last century full of their wars against other countries, invasions and support to civil wars killing almost 180 million people?
And in India, why is it that the majority of deaths in communal riots are Muslims?
And when the overwhelming majority of terrorism related deaths in India in last few decades have taken place at the hands of non-Muslims including Naxalites, Bodos, Ulfa terrorists and Sikhs, why Muslims are singled out as terrorists?
[Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”, “Qur’anic Paradigms of Sciences & Society” (First Vol: Health), “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. Read more about him at http://www.worldmuslimpedia.com/dr-javed-jamil. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/javedjamil2015/, also http://javedjamil.blogspot.in/. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]