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Islamic Fundamentalism and the Modern Freedoms!

Today there was a news item where 21 people have been caught in England as they were plotting to blow up multiple planes on a very large scale! All those arrested are British citizens and some are of Pakistani origin.

What is it with the Muslim communities that somehow their members are always in the crosshairs of a major conflict? Here are the major conflicts in the regions across the world and the parties in conflict at a broad level::

  • Russia: Russians-Muslims
  • Nigeria: Christians – Muslims
  • China: Chinese- Muslims
  • India: Hindus/Sikhs- Muslims
  • Jerusalem: Jews – Muslims
  • France: French (christians and atheists) – Muslims
  • US-led areas: Christians-Muslims

I am sure there are many other communities which are minorities in all these areas/countries.. and yet you dont get the others fighting! DO you see any pattern?

Somehow only ONE group is always aggrieved no matter where it is! We, of couse, have not considered the scenario in Islamic countries themselves like: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. Can someone raise his/her hand who looks forward to go and live in these countries? Why not? Because the fact that you will be discriminated based on your religious belief is a foregone conclusion! For example, suppose you want to construct a synagogue in Saudi Arabia as a Jew to practice your faith. Can you? If you are still pondering.. well, all the best!

So, if I have not listed the Islamic countries above it is because no one can even demand anything other than what is in the Shariat! So the seeds of conflict cannot be sowed at all, unless one takes to arms and suicide bombing there in the name of Jesus or Krishna!! Very unlikely scenario as yet. Most simply pass the privilege to go to such countries.

Given that as it is – anyone else who is in an Islamic country cannot hope to be treated as a normal human being – who is free to do what he/she pleases (try eating outside during Ramzan – for which I dont care two hoots – in Saudi Arabia or Iran!). So, when the Islamic societies are established in other countries they expect a special treatment that conforms not to the laws or traditions of that land but to Shariat! I am not saying the Islamic laws are all bad, they probably arent. But the most practically implementable ones are deemed regressive by most in the civilized world today and in the past! For example, it is unthinkable for most women to be constantly covered from head to toe or have a lesser voice in a matter than the men. Well there may be nuances and other verses that give women an “equal” status in Islamic society, but who cares for those nuances when the practicle implementable reality flies in ones face??

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So, at a more generic level – or at the basic level – it is a direct conflict between the practical reality of the Islamic regressiveness vs Modern world’s freedom. Yes, many will argue that the resultant promiscuity and treating women as sex objects in the Modern World is also not a very happy situation either. That is a good point! But at the very least the choice to be treated as such rests with the “object” herself!!

There is a difference between saying a Hijab is required and Not sleeping with Everyone and his brother is recommended!! In that difference lies the genesis of the conflict!

At the basic level, therefore, it is fear of the regressives that modern societies in the west and those in other countries are dealing with when they come face to face with Islamic groups. The reaction to the opposition of Modernity to the Islamic construct is that the Islamic groups take it personally and are motivated to right the wrong to their own individuality! They go ahead in their agitation to look for rights – iota of which would never be conceivable in any Islamic country! Now they want laws and customs to be ..well… customized to Shariat! Something that those with a bit of understanding of what went on in the Taliban infected Afghanistan and in Saudi Arabia detest!

As much as letting off the control in a regressive society is a blasphemy; putting controls on individual’s freedoms and having separate laws in a freer society is an equally blasphemous act! So, who is morally right or on a moral high ground?

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There is another level of this conflict. If the Muslims could quietly and discretely live in a country following their own customs and interacting normally with the rest then things could possibly be worked out. The fact of the matter is that most would like to “educate” other non-believers to convert them to their faith as well! It is not out of ordinary to hear a Muslim in the US saying that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world – so we are making up for the lost years that Christianity or Judaism got a headstart with! I have heard that statement made very emphatically by some Muslim friends!

Quite obviously, if a ideology which is inherently perceived as a “regressive” one, and which is claimed to be the fastest growing – would raise an alarm in most societies! So, it aint a question of making concessions – “they” would actually like to take over our society! Status Quo in the numbers in not an option that is enough for most Muslim organizations. They would rather grow in numbers!

The question that would immediately hits a citizen of such a society is – What if… the Muslims become a majority at a latter date? Will my kids be living in a society that resembles Saudi Arabia or Iran?? That is when, my hypothesis goes, that the conflict takes the most violent turn! When the future of the basic freedoms in a modern society are threatened in a conceivable and a permanent manner, the majority tries to clamp down on the Islamic minority, which is obviously frustrated anyways because they cannot do things ‘their way”!!

The two sides to the conflict now become neatly and clearly aligned to take the duel between an Islamic charter and Modern way of life to the next level!

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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2 thoughts on “Islamic Fundamentalism and the Modern Freedoms!”

  1. Most people believe in the pseudo sense of control. Some how the socities of the middle east with islamic being majority and some christian communities try to achieve this in the name of religion(the orthodx christian of middle east). They try to use religion as as weapon to threaten and control the weak. And women being the weaker sex gets most of it.

    Why ancient law of Sharia let us implemnet even the older tribal laws and live like tribals.

    Civilization can be implemented only with education. Be it democratic principles or human rights education is the key to all.

    All the communities listed by youa are deprived of this. The best is islam which limits education to Madrsa and Koran. Win win for the pseudo commanders.

  2. Most people believe in the pseudo sense of control. Some how the socities of the middle east with islamic being majority and some christian communities try to achieve this in the name of religion(the orthodx christian of middle east). They try to use religion as as weapon to threaten and control the weak. And women being the weaker sex gets most of it.

    Why ancient law of Sharia let us implemnet even the older tribal laws and live like tribals.

    Civilization can be implemented only with education. Be it democratic principles or human rights education is the key to all.

    All the communities listed by youa are deprived of this. The best is islam which limits education to Madrsa and Koran. Win win for the pseudo commanders.

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