It happened in Udaipur on Tuesday – the chilling and cowardly execution of a ‘blasphemer’ by those claiming to defend Islam. Indians and people elsewhere were shocked, but not surprised. Because it occurs in some part of the world almost every day – on Tuesday, itself, two policemen and a health worker distributing polio drops were killed in Pakistan’s Waziristan by followers of the same radical belief system. Just recently, fifty persons were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in Nigeria. It just goes on and on – people have given up expecting better from those who call themselves Muslim and take such incidents for granted. They only hope that they don’t have to face such a situation in their lives, because they have given up expecting a solution.
Those who complain about ‘Islamophobia’ around the world claim that it makes life difficult for the vast majority of Muslims who do not practice this version of the faith. Unfortunately, the Islamic narrative is in the hands of the ‘few’ millions that refuse to live in accord with modern values, of which free speech, democracy and fundamental human rights are an essential part. The approximately fifty Muslim countries in the world are the worst affected, in most of which not only minorities are constantly under threat, but there is unending conflict among sects on matters of belief. If al-Qaeda was the flag-bearer of this faith some years ago, today it seems moderate in comparison to the Islamic State and Boko Haram. The greatest challenge to the Taliban are the even more extreme Islamic outfits in Afghanistan, today.
There is absolutely no point in trying to explain what is wrong with the self-appointed judge, jury and executioners who carry out the Udaipur like killings. They are uneducated, un-integrated, emotionally damaged fools that are manipulated by power-seeking others. It is done in the name of Islam, with promises of ‘Hoors’ in Jannat, but actually directed at obtaining the fruits of this world for the handlers and their families. A good example of this is the manner in which the Kashmiri separatist movement benefited just a few families, while the majority suffered decades of deprivation.
How is this worldwide eco-system to be combated? It would begin with making available greater information to the ordinary Muslim about the history of Islam and the reality of this world. Young children should not be left in the hands of clerics who insist the world is flat and the Sun circles the Earth. A platform should be created for discussion and debate – this does happen quite safely in some nations of the world. It needs only to be done in the proper and informed manner. It is much preferable to having it out in the streets, or becoming targets of guided missiles.