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Are American Universities sponsoring a new type of racism?

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Dr. Dilip Amin
Dr. Dilip Aminhttp://www.interfaithshaadi.org
Dr. Dilip Amin has a doctorate degree in Pharmacology and is a lifelong (42 years) researcher in the medical field. He has earned 6 patents and authored 23 scientific publications. Dr. Amin is a Director of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition of the San Francisco Bay area, a certified speaker at Islamic Networks Group, and a Dharma Ambassador of Hindu American Foundation. He is a chaplain at local jails. Dr. Amin has travelled to 32 countries to learn of different cultures and religions. He has co-authored the book Hindu Vivaha Samskara. He founded the web forum InterfaithShaadi.org and guided 1200 youths and summarized his experiences in the book--Interfaith Marriage: Share & Respect with Equality. He is also the founder of HinduSpeakers.org.

Concerns about Stereotype, Exclusivity and Love Jihad

One of the many accusations levelled by Dismantling Global Hindutva (DGH) was, “Brahmins are violent proponents of casteism.” This kind of generalisation by DGH is dangerous!

Imagine how worried a Hindu American mother in the US would be at the time of admitting her daughter to kindergarten; just because their last name is Sharma, Mukherjee or Iyer. Because as per DGH, her 4-years-old daughter is a violent proponent of casteism! Isn’t this blatant racism? Why was this allowed and tolerated by 45+ American universities that sponsored DGH?

I wrote to many universities to understand their position on my 5 questions as posed in this video

The 5 Questions to the sponsoring universities:

  1. Are you justifying the slaughtering of innocent Brahmins by Alexander?
  2. Do you agree that Brahmins are violent advocates of casteism?
  3. Will college applications from Iyers, Kampellas, Trivedis, Sharmas and Mukherjees undergo extra scrutiny? 
  4. Are you making sure that bullying, prejudice and Hinduphobia do not aggravate on your campuses?
  5. Today, are you proud that you sponsored the DGH conference?

In response to my questions, Dr. Audrey Truschke of Rutgers University emailed me her new article in Scroll titled ”What the myth of ‘Love Jihad’ tells us about the Hindu Right”.

Truschke’s article has two main points:

1) Her concerns about Brahmins’ exclusivity.

2) Her belief that Love Jihad is a myth.

Brahmin Exclusivity

A major part of Truschke’s article is about the story of Suha Bhatta, a 14th century Brahmin, who converted to Islam and adopted the name Malik Saifuddin. Saifuddin went on to brutally persecute Brahmins. She wrote, “Suha Bhatta is said to have tortured many Kashmiri Brahmins, drove others to suicide, and prompted some to flee the region.”

The tyrant’s reign was filled with homicides, conversions, tyranny and forceful jizya on innocent Hindus. The punishments to vulnerable Hindus were violent, cruel, brutal and horrible (read more). This was only the 2nd of 7 exoduses of Hindus, on their way to extinction in the Kashmir Valley.

Apparently, Truschke believes that torture and ethnic cleansing of minorities and indigenous people by Muslims is justified. I wonder if Truschke also justifies the last and the final exodus in 1990 of 350,000 Hindus from their ancestral homeland in their own country? (read more on HAF).

Truschke’s article reeks of bias when she tries to find fault with the innocent victims, including children and women, but conveniently overlooks the acts of the perpetrators that were unacceptably brutal and cruel. Shouldn’t the Hindu parents be concerned with such professors who are biased against Hindus and their belief system?

DGH defends the slaughtering of Brahmins by Alexander in 325 BC (Dr. Gajandran Ayyathurai). DGH speakers supported any kind of violence against Brahmins because, apparently according to them, all Brahmins believe in casteism. Justifying violence so broadly against an entire community is unbelievable in this day and age—especially in an “academic” setting. 

I have serious concerns with such generalisation since I personally know many Brahmins who are not casteist and are trying to address such issues. This kind of blatant stereotyping is not healthy for the issue at hand, unless DGH’s objective was to defame Hinduism. (Video)

There are numerous examples of exclusivity by different groups around the world; be it the Nazis, the Christian crusaders or the Sunni Muslims. 

Nazis did not like Jews because they declined to accept Jesus as the Messiah and considered themselves as God’s “Chosen People.” The Christian crusaders drove out the native Americans from their land and killed millions of them. The Sunnis consider themselves as true Muslims while Shia, Ahmadi (the faith is banned in Pakistan today), Ismaili and other minorities are discriminated against.

DGH promotes the claim that all Brahmins (about 5% of Hindus or Indians) are casteist! By the same logic, it is insane to blame all whites, including their children, for centuries of slavery and current discrimination against African-Americans.

What do Truschke and DGH have to say about the whites, Sunni-Muslims and Christians’ supremacist ideologies? The fingers are pointed only at Brahmins for exclusivism, why not at all exclusivists equally?

Is Love Jihad a Myth?

A major flaw in Truschke’s article is that she is trying to prove that “Love Jihad” is a myth using an irrelevant story from the 14th century which is not related to “love”. That makes her whole argument very weak. 

I placed two comments of academic interest on her article that were in-line with the website’s guidelines, but Scroll.in rejected both the comments. (one, two) That incident and a follow up encouragement from a Muslim lady friend from India prompted me to write this article to OpIndia.

I side with Truschke’s wish that “old prejudices and the desires of elites to maintain power” must go and people should be tasteful to “modern sensibilities.” Let’s bring this contemporary subject matter discussion into the current context to be more relevant. 

What is “true love” and what is “Love Jihad”? Let’s answer this question with reference to a dating couple, a Hindu and a Muslim, in an American or Indian college.

True love is where there is equality and the Hindu-Muslim couple would.

1) Respect each other’s faith.

2) Celebrate holidays and practices of both faiths.

3) Treat both faiths equality, especially in raising children.

In such a scenario, there is no room for religious conversion of the prospective spouse as a prerequisite for marriage. In summary, Interfaith marriages should be, as detailed in my book, Share and Respect with Equality.

Truschke should endorse the above idea of “pluralism” or “secularism” as a general promotable idea for today’s youths in interfaith relationship. We are talking about general practices and not rare, exceptional cases.

When one partner insists on religious conversion of the other partner for marriage, after years of being in a romantic love relationship, it is an ugly form of love proselytism. This is exactly called Love Jihad. (read Aditi, SD, Akansha to Nusrat, Tamanna, Nirmala, and probably 400+ more cases at InterfaithShaadi.org)

It is admirable that most Muslims wish to follow Koranic teachings. However, to pick and choose from the Koran is a concern here. For example, Koran 24:30 teaches Muslims not to fall into a romantic love relationship before marriage (no zina; view Zakir Naik for details). I wish all “true” Muslim youths follow this teaching from Koran. However, when a Muslim youth who is in an interfaith love relationship approaches the imam, things start changing. The imam would insist that for Islamic marriage (Nikah), the Hindu party MUST convert to Islam. This is to satisfy Koran 2:221. Thus, ignoring 24:30 but choosing to satisfy verse 2:221 is Love Jihad. 

  • Koran 2:221: You shall not wed pagan women unless they embrace the faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an idolatress, though she may please you.
  • Koran 60:11: Do not maintain your marriage with unbelieving women (no zina or khalwat).
  • Koran 24:30: Say to believing men to turn their eyes away from temptation and to restrain their carnal desires. 

I have guided 1200 youths in interfaith relationships at Interfaithshaadi.org and have written two books on it. I have found that the majority (90%+?) Muslims insist that the Hindu in the relationship converts to Islam for the sake of Nikah. I hope some Imams will clarify to us that this is not true anymore and that the Hindu does not have to convert to Islam in order to marry a Muslim. 

I want to ask Truschke, if this “practice” of asking for religious conversion for marriage is in line with “modern sensibilities”? Muslim girls are strongly discouraged to date or marry a non-Muslim (including a Christian or Jew; People of the Book); is that not, in Truschke’s words, “controlling female sexuality”? (read Ayesha, Shamim and more) There have been many documented cases of Muslim families practising “honour killings” of their daughters, who were in interfaith relationships. Muslim boys do not face such constraints.

Isn’t it high time to drop the idea that Hindus are kafir, heathen or sinners and instead accept that Hindus are also “People of the Book” or “believers”? Why is there a need for the Hindu to convert for the Nikah? Isn’t it high time to give up “old prejudices and the desires of elites to maintain power” (in this case, to expand Islam)? 

Isn’t it high time to promote pluralism in an interfaith marriage? Is this not the time to teach the interfaith couples to learn to raise children in both faiths? Isn’t it high time that all of us give up any supremacist exclusivist ideologies? 

Summary

On the topic of Love Jihad, discussions should be based on today’s practical situations. It makes no sense to use a 700-year-old incident to say that Love Jihad does not exist today. If the concern about exclusivism, fingers should be pointed at all exclusivists.

Sadly, people from both sides spew hatred at each other using their own biased media. Such polarization is not healthy for society. American universities’ unsupervised endorsement of the monologue at DGH has hurt the sentiments of common Hindus. A biased stand on part of the universities is grossly irresponsible. I hope that the universities will realise this and reconsider their stand.

Feedbacks: The author is available to discuss and answer any counter-views or concerns shared at https://youtu.be/MmvI5PGfJm0 and below.

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Dr. Dilip Amin
Dr. Dilip Aminhttp://www.interfaithshaadi.org
Dr. Dilip Amin has a doctorate degree in Pharmacology and is a lifelong (42 years) researcher in the medical field. He has earned 6 patents and authored 23 scientific publications. Dr. Amin is a Director of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition of the San Francisco Bay area, a certified speaker at Islamic Networks Group, and a Dharma Ambassador of Hindu American Foundation. He is a chaplain at local jails. Dr. Amin has travelled to 32 countries to learn of different cultures and religions. He has co-authored the book Hindu Vivaha Samskara. He founded the web forum InterfaithShaadi.org and guided 1200 youths and summarized his experiences in the book--Interfaith Marriage: Share & Respect with Equality. He is also the founder of HinduSpeakers.org.
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