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EDITORIAL: 16-30 September 2001
Brains in purdah

Disturbing signs

A top police officer is humiliated by his own service while on a visit to Delhi. The culprits are not punished, the victim is punished instead for protesting against this humiliation.

VHP flouts one law after another. Its activists go on rampage, pull down and burn places of worship, burn their supposed ‘enemies’ alive and the home minister hastens to give them clean chit.

Bajrang Dal roams about, imparts military training to its cadres under the full glare of the media, yet our home minister is searching for evidence to ban SIMI which, as an organization, is not involved in any terrorist activity.

Madrasas are attacked time and again in official statements of the home ministry. Although the prime minister has very beautiful words to say about these institutions yet the tirade goes on and on while his home minister and IB fail to date to pinpoint one single madrasa where terrorist activities are taking place or where military training is imparted.

Serious riots occur and yet our home minister can detect only the hands of ‘criminal tribes’ who do everything but fail to commit their familiar crime of stealing and looting in these events.

Criminals in uniform, who have raped, killed, burnt houses and shops and looted, are declared above law by our home minister and when the whole country speaks out in outrage, his saffron mind bares its fascist colour. The minister promises to enact a ‘law’ to protect the unprotectable.

Officers in uniform and netas in khadi are shown on video to be selling the country cheap and yet the people who did this service to alert the nation are being penalized...

Against a general protest, textbooks are being saffronized, new history is being concocted, astrology and Vedic maths are being introduced in universities...

Corruption has reached new, unheard of heights. Scam-a-day keeps NDA busy. Aya-Ram, gaya-Ram culture has been fine-tuned to a pitch where no room is left for decency and fair play necessary to run a ‘democracy.’

These and many similar incidents are very disturbing signs of a fascist mind which has an agenda to take us back to the dark ages of the nazi, fascist and Emergency eras. With empty minds and eloquent tongues, all it can sell is barren, meaningless slogans. All the ills which were placed at the door of the Congress are now the hallmark of the BJP. It is good that the country has had the opportunity to watch the true face of the super-nationalists, thanks to the helping hands of super-socialists like George Fernandes who is cooling his heels following Tehelka - na Khuda hee mila, na wisaal-e sanam. It is time all forces, working for a better future for all people of India, unite and fight back....

Brains in purdah

Once again the unfortunate, Bleeding Valley is facing yet another trial. This time an obscure organization has threatened Kashmiri women of dire consequences, like attack with acid or bullets, should they venture out without hijaab, that is niqaab according to the limited understanding of these semi-literates whose understanding of Islam does not go beyond reading a few Urdu books which fail to tell them what are their limits and who is authorized to enforce Islamic laws and what is the spirit of their great religion...

These masaakeen are not told that there is no coercion by individuals in matters of religion, that only an Islamic State can take appropriate steps to enforce certain criminal and civil laws, like the collection of zakat and enforcement of shar’i laws concerning the community. The rest, concerning personal laws, is left to the conscience of the individual. A society, like ours, can only exert moral pressure on its deviant members. Use of force by individuals and and terrorism of any kind have no place in our religion and there is no Islamic sanction for such activities notwithstanding what the semi-literate authors may tell their gullible readers.

Hijaab is the Islamic purdah. Niqaab, a Turkish tradition, is not the Islamic hijab prescribed for our women. It is upto any woman to observe hijab or don niqaab or stay all her life behind closed doors but no one has the right or authority to prescribe niqaab as the shar’i hijab required of the Muslim woman.

Muslim society at home and abroad is facing many threats from within and without. The challenges from within are more serious and injurious. On top of these challenges to our religious and civilized life is literalism where the spirit of Islam is missing and all emphasis is placed on the length of pyjamas and beards. On the other hand, another group is bent on correcting other Muslims through terrorism. This brand is seen in places like Algeria, Egypt and Pakistan, killing their own people in the false belief of performing a religious duty. It is time real scholars and thinkers of Islam, those who know its spirit, spoke out...


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