By Arise India Forum Staff

We often hear Muslim leaders and Islamist preaching eloquently about equality; but this oft-state eloquence is now-where to be seen in countries with Muslim majority populations. Minority religions are frowned often, and minority sects are not recognized and treated as second class citizens. Pakistan treats Ahmadis(a sect within Islam) as non-Muslims, when the fact is that they say the same prayers and follow many tenets similar to their fellow-citizens. Hindus are the worse lot; many are routinely kidnapped, badly treated in society, discriminated against, and sometimes forced to go against the tenets of their faith. The situation is even more unfortunate in countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia etc. There is no voice which speaks for them….

In India, we see a similar situation developing in Kashmir. A province ruled by Hindu ruler before independence, and known for it tourism – has become extremely intolerant. Ethnic cleansing of more than 100,000 Kashmiri Pandits in the 90′s was carried out by militant groups, with little opposition from the local population. While “secularists” in India today routinely bring up the issue of “minority” rights in Hindu majority India – they conveniently forget the treatment meted out to non-Muslims in Muslim majority countries. Why do they demand these rights, when they are not ready to extend these rights to freedom of faith and practice in other countries? Is it not a case of double standards? An article extract from Pakistani newspaper, The Dawn.

And now about us and our double standards. We want our madressahs and hijabs and missionaries preaching in the UK, which readily obliges because it respects your right to practise your faith (France and even Turkey will not allow half as much freedom to their Muslim populations), but here in Pakistan we won’t have the Ahmadis call themselves Muslim even though they recite the same kalema and pray the same prayer; we won’t allow Christian missionaries either.

According to a thin but a loud minority in Pakistan, anyone who does not believe in the Taliban or the Saudi-like reading of Islam is a heretic, who must be converted or ‘banished to hell’, as the expression in Urdu goes. Farhat Hashmis of the world also go around preaching that even greeting a non-Muslim is akin to heresy.

The Gulf is another story altogether. Most our of brotherly oil-rich people — read very honourable men, for women hardly count — have their rules of engagement listed according to your nationalities, rather the race. A white man from the US, say a doctor, draws a much higher salary than his plebian Bangladeshi counterpart even if both are graduates of the same American medical school! But neither can go to church in the holy kingdom, for no such place exists there.

A friend narrates that whilst he was in Riyadha, a Hindu chap was picked by the religious police along with him because they were found loitering in the marketplace while a muezzin had already called the faithful to the prayer. The Muslim friend says that he went down on his knees and begged forgiveness for his felony from the officer who hit him on the head and let him go with a warning that next time Allah will not forgive him, while the Hindu fellow found himself in a bigger mess. When he, too, was tauntingly asked if he was Muslim, he replied in the negative and prompt came the next question in all its fury: ‘Why are you not Muslim?’ To which the poor chap had no answer. He too was eventually let go with a long and hard kick in the back, but with the warning that next time if he dared say he was a non-Muslim, he’d have to face a bit more than the wrath of Allah. This, my friend says, is not Islam but is definitely quite the Muslim conduct, for which many will, perhaps very wrongly, cite the backing of their religion.

The article concludes with the following statement -

Today the word Ummah has been robbed of its original meaning and popularly connotes Muslims only. Muslims who feel free to discriminate against non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, whilst demanding and enjoying equal rights in Muslim-minority countries. Thus, the modern pluralistic, secular state is more Islamic in its social justice regime than the few Islamic republics which have their minorities on tenterhooks.

Copyright : The Dawn. The full article can be read here

 

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