Monday, November 10, 2008

Thoughts on the Anti-Terror Fatwa

As you might know, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, a conference attended by thousands of Muslim clerics, scholars and community leaders in India has endorsed a religious ruling against terrorism. BBC coverage here.

The Jamiat explained that "jihad is a constructive phenomenon and a fundamental right of human beings whereas terrorism is based on destruction. It is required to define 'jihad' and 'terrorism' in the right perspective, which stand poles apart. Terrorism is the biggest crime as per Quran," the resolution said.

However, there is more to it than the basic news, which I must say, is a good thing which I can tell my right-wing Hindu nationalist friends who believe that all muslims are non-progressive and violent. Previously, I have covered fatwas against terror, and against cow-slaughter.

The Times of India had an article about how some Muslims are not quite supportive of the fatwa, on the grounds of "but of course Islam does not condone terrorism. Why should we have to state it?". In my opinion, while their assertion about Islam is true, they must acknowledge that there is a strong smear campaign going on claiming otherwise. This fatwa will go a long way in quelling the fears of the less-informed, as well as perhaps against those extremist clerics who are trying to influence at-risk youth to take the violent path and are using religion as a justification.

On a different note, there were also resolutions asking for 10% reservations for Muslims and asked that "Muslims and Christian Dalits should be treated on a par with other Dalits by amending Article 341 of the Constitution".

My take on this is similar to my take on the Maharashtra CM stating that Muslims will be given preferences in Police Jobs in the state in addition to asking them to "learn Marathi as it is the state language and also been used for the Government jobs".

Dear Sirs, while you are making such progressive statements denouncing the heinous acts of terrorism and asking people to learn a language that can help them secure more jobs, please do not mix your message with the populist call for community-based reservations. Instead, how about openly saying that you are "not" for reservation for your [or any] community, but for aid [perhaps even a time-bound reservation plan] based on economic status?

Progressive fatwas like this make us go forward, but community-based reservations threaten to further aggravate people and threaten to take us back. Please think about this before including it in your resolutions.


On a slightly different note, I bought DVDs of Dor, A Wednesday, and Mumbai Meri Jaan yesterday (in addition to my usual mutton biryani and half-kilo imarti). Planning to watch them in the coming weeks :).


  1. i totally agree. Reservations based on economic status are the ONLY way to go!

  2. This is good news! Such progressive steps are what we need, instead of more extremist websites one way or the other. These are small, practical steps, that are needed to let the world know that a bunch of extremists don't speak for the whole clan. This act of distancing themselves from the extremists is necessary.
    Our govt on the other hand seems to be creating distances where none are necessary. Embracing reservations is a lousy thing to do. In fact, very few Hindus I've met even understand the true significance of the caste system and how it started. It's all horribly horribly horribly misinterpreted along the way. In this time and age, the caste system is redundant anyway. Cultural diversity is one thing, alienation is something else. It hurts to see SC friends of mine while away their time, learn subjects from me at the last minute, and get amazing colleges to choose from for the level of hard work they've NOT put in.
    I wonder what steps we can take to counter that. Everyone seems to enjoy the advantages of sectarianism. It's hard to make people see the higher truth if that would make them guilty about the free seats they get. NGOs helping educate children seem to be a more practical step.
    For now, this fatwa is GOOD news!