‘Social & judicial inquisition and jihad‘, the award for enlightenment!?
How would one feel if one comes across a news saying “a Gautam Buddha peace prize winner has been fined or handed over a three-year imprisonment for raising questions about the practice of ritual killing of animals in the name of God in ABCD countries/communities” weird or unjustifiable isn’t it? But why do intelligent human beings normalize and take for granted when the name is not any Guatam Buddha or Noble peace prize winner, but just another commoner? just a news read to be forgotten?
This particular article is for discussing the latest news of a sentence of imprisonment to an Algerian professor handed over by their courts, but we think that is Africa + ABCD country so it is natural and normal!
We are taking topic from African horizons of ‘ABCD’ as we hear a news of an Algerian professor ‘Said Djabelkhir’ going for the toss’, since we are in midst of one ongoing series of articles, ‘In the wonderlands of ‘pseudos’, When ‘Rizvi’ goes for the toss!‘
Maybe South Asian and African horizons are different but replace the name of Pakistan in place of Algeria, most will say, ‘Oh that’s too usual, and too stressful to keep thinking over and over again’ won’t you? but even about Pakistan it is something happening outside our realms? But what about Rizvi ? Rizvi is no Gautam Buddha, but what if Gautam Buddha or any noble peace prize winner had been approaching India’s Supreme Court in place of Rizvi? too difficult and stressful to think and ask about? Or what if an Ex-Muslim apostate would have approached Indian Supreme court? that would be much more difficult isn’t it? What do Indian pseudo congress & Et al think what kind of freedom of expression they have created in India that ABCD can go on preaching their hate speech against Kafirs and Indian legal system will not question them but on the other hand will punish critiques of ABCD intolerance and the critiques of ABCD intolerance only will be victim blamed for speaking truth?
When we are just in midst of writing this article we hear social media talk about some Keralite Ex-Muslim Abdul Khader Puthiyangady getting arrested in Dubai for his criticism of ABCD he made when he was in India in Malayalam language, though it is claimed that the person used to talk with specific references. It is hardly any surprise Indian media would not even dare to report the news. And the Indian political dispensations could not dare to support Rizvi would harldy come in support of free speech rights of an Ex-Muslim atheist.
We will discuss Indian confusion over free speech in one of the articles in this series. We find discussing moderate heretics of ABCD itself so exhausting when global human right legal systems fail to support them how would the world find any proper space for any ABCD apostate Ex-Muslim’s point of view at all? It is true that new atheist Ex-Muslim movement is still lot to mature and is in need of some mature guidance from likes of Vivekananda philosophy. It is not too difficult for having patience with them when Hindus have been suffering much more from ABCD & pseudos.
While in India, in March 2021 when Rizvi went for toss, pseudos criticized him for going over to the court of law and how he himself not a scholar in ABCD, and how it is ABCD scholars domain, he/ scholars should try reinterpretations and ‘ijtihad ‘, What Algerian professor Djabelkhir is going through belies all pseudo objections!
Professor Djabelkhir himself is a scholar and academic in ‘ABCD’ studies. he was attempting his own academic pursuit of ‘ijtihad‘ i.e. reinterpreting ABCD texts to revisit traditional views on ABCD, as news reports inform us, an Algerian court handed him over 3 years of imprisonment.
Being relevant to our ongoing article series, in this article we will be taking note of Kamel Abderrahmani’s articles (1, 2) on the same topic in asianews.it for the benefit of our readers. (One more reason to write this article is while Abderrahmani’s articles seem a good read but asianews.it site is just http not https hence seems bit insecure so rather than giving just link giving synopsis will be more helpful to the readers)
Abderrahmani, through his articles informs us that, Algerian state has played the card of moderate but hybrid ABCD– tolerant and intolerant at the same time, meaning there by pro-regime dogma of Wahhabism and a certain amount of “politicised” Sufism. (Not much different to South Asia too has Barelvi and Deobandi and many other factions too)
Political quietism along with social conservatism
Abderrahmani says, most local Algerian Salafists are quietist*, including the imams, and stay clear of politics. Their only objective is to maintain a certain social conservatism in terms of social mores, not in relation to political institutions.
Footnote : Here quietest means political quietism something like Tablighi Jamaat in South Asia, where members of those groups keep themselves officially aloof from politics, but actively maintain social conservatism. Since usually they are not actively participating in politics and less likelihood of direct violence or political challenge from their side usually state whether ABCD or non-ABCD prefers not to disturb them. But the same social conservatism, with their literal reading of religious scriptures, even if not involved directly in politics, sets the social narrative as per their narrowly viewed sectarian and rigorously practiced ABCD orthodoxy. Though socially conservative quietists themselves not in politics or violence leave a fertile conservative orthodox foreground behind for any extreme point of views to be exploited upon.
Abderrahmani maintains, they [quietist] are not necessarily weapon carrying nor resorting to violence themselves; but are instead traditionalists, since their project is to Islamise society by maneuvering religion, by using it in particular as a proactive force against modernity on the move, or as an impediment against the potential [liberal] progress of ABCD society. They do this by propagating the “fear of God” about claimed to be “word of God”, a fear and insecurity capable of paralysing minds and annihilating any desire for emancipation; they can thus manipulate society, not only to conform with what they call “word of God”, but also to indirectly make oneself submit to those vested interests in contemporary power structures.
In any ABCD polity of ABCD countries, if ABCD violence is played down as a matter of pragmatism by the state; same time on the other hand conservatism is competitively promoted to claim political legitimacy. So like in Pakistan, in Algeria too stringent blasphemy laws are strengthened and used against free thinkers. Abderrahmani calls this process as ‘ABCD inquisition’ and ‘ABCD legal/judicial jihad’.
Inquisition of Professor ‘Said Djabelkhir’
Before ranting further briefly see what was all the crime of Professor ‘Said Djabelkhir’? As earlier said Algeria is over 99% ABCD only salafi or sufi can be the difference among themselves. But same time Algerians do have some amount of nationalism where in anti-imperial including that of anti-Arab imperial heroes are praised to an extent and a pre-ABCD Berber New Year day ‘Yennayer’ is celebrated. As expected some mullah frowned upon celebrations origin being pre-ABCD, Djabelkhir made some points citing certain practices and rituals in ABCD too are likely to be of pre-ABCD origin. What is so great saying, practice of Circumambulation, or ritual animal sacrifices in the name of God etc. exists since pre-ABCD times. If any practice exists since pre-ABCD times then speculating possibilities of borrowing practice need not hurt sentiments greatly. Since ABCD modernist liberals do not have much option to make changes in ABCD texts they usually look for alternate via media to shift blame elsewhere by some reinterpretations and practices which were not expected of ABCD principles need not be compulsory, is usually their stand. Modernist look out is somehow society progresses. Whereas ABCD conservatives frown upon any changes since their livelihood simply depends on continuation of their monopolized orthodoxy.
Different ways of judicial jihad
Abderrahmani says, “judicial jihad” operates in different ways when it is carried out in the Non-ABCD countries as opposed to countries with ABCD as the state religion. That is to say, the way it is conducted depends on location and the nature of the political system. For example, in the West, ABCD hides behind groups aimed at fighting racism or “Islamophobia”, so that intellectuals are singled out and/or prosecuted just because they consider ABCD religious ideology as a challenge in their writings. How would one compare the situation in India? In pre-independence India they asked for communal representation over and above the percentage in population besides partitioned nation that is history.
In Independent India ABCD, not only got unbridled rights of communal education, sans due state oversight against hate speech, not only dodged chances of any uniform civil code but kept government after governments on political tenterhooks and under pressure of nuisance value avoided socially progressive legislation and as Abderrahmani says blamed even socially progressive of own and impartial social progressives from majority community too. When any Rizvi approaches for human rights courts are not supposed to be for him, but when cases of freedom of speech come ABCD self appropriates all the freedom of speech for it-self and least to the other.
Abderrahmani says, in ABCD countries, “judicial jihad” preys on intellectuals, researchers and even ABCD specialists who would risk taking any critical look at the religion, providing critical readings of ABCD and interpreting religious texts differently from official and dominant narratives. They are often persecuted for “contempt of ABCD”. As per Abderrahmani, in other words, muzzling the voice of critical thinking about ABCD religion is an act of “judicial jihad.”
When it comes to South Asia matter of fact is, it does not stop just at ‘judicial jihad’ but if law does not bow down as expected; hate speech, show of nuisance value, riots, lynchings condoned by fanatic ABCD as well as pseudo-secular and such behavior is called pure peaceful victimized sainthood, any raised questions are dodged either with goalpost shifting or with whataboutery.
ABCD vested interests play re-cycle with it’s history
We shared an important issue in one of our previous articles, it’s not that no social reform efforts ever happened among ABCD communities, Saïd Djabelkhir is not the first ‘blamed to be heretic’ from Algeria. As Abderrahmani says ABCD history is cyclical; it repeats itself over and over, we say the important problem about ABCD social liberalism and progress is falling 10 steps backwards after going one step ahead. The reason is competitive politics of seeking legitimacy with ABCD conservative values with the help of entrenched vested interest of ABCD orthodoxy gets a cover, where liberal modernist intellectuals do not get any fair chance of reexamining ABCD orthodox claims.
Al-Kahina to Said Djabelkhir
In this article we have discussed the latest example how even ABCD modernist scholars too are constrained to speak freely. Hoda too writes in, à la Shashi Tharoor, very complex English, he himself will start finding constraint if he does not take help of rare and difficult to comprehend English words.
We end this article with an Algerian freedom fighter woman’s statue photograph. Those who do not wish to succumb to Arab imperialism can find inspiration from her.