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Sharma and Rushdie and politics of appeasement

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The attack on Rushdie should be a wake-up call to unite against religious violence and intolerance. While most of the free world has condemned the attack, several Muslim organisations and individals voiced their support for, or even congratulting Matin, who made this murderous assault. Literature world has held a rally in New York in solidarity with Salman Rushdie.

Imran Khan has termed the attack on Salman Rushdie as ‘terrible and sad’, despite indicating that he understands the ire of the Islamic world against Salman and his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses. He, however, got scared of losing popularity in Pakistan and said that he had been quoted out of context. Mohammed Wajihuddin, in The Times of India on 20th August, 2022 says that their anger is because the book refers to an alleged mistake in the Prophet’s recitation of the Quran that Scholars say did not happen.

Now take the case of Nupur Sharma. She did criticize the Prophet, but whatever she said is reportedly taken from Islamic holy scriptures and no Islamic scholar has, so far, to the best of my knowledge, disputed it. Yet death threats and fatwas are issued against her and her supporters are killed. And there is not a single line of protest by left liberals, communists and intellectuals against this injustice. What a double standard!

All this showcases the threat Islamism poses to the free world and the liberal proclivity to go soft on Jihadi terrorism. Even the Muslim liberals are scared to oppose the Fatwas given with the blessings of Ulema. The difficulty the Muslim progressives face is that Islam posits the Ulema as the only intermediary between the Prophet and the Muslim community. This makes it very difficult for the progressives to go against the diktats of the Ulema. Moulana Azad and Zakir Hossain tried but had to succumb ultimately.

Indians have,since independence been brought up in liberalism– professing the abundant right of the free speech. But, in 1975, it was rudely shattered when national emergency was imposed. Again in 1988, Rushdie’s novel was banned flouting all our belief in the sacred right of free speech. This was the outcome of and culmination of the continuing process of practicing minority appeasement politics by most political parties and left liberal intellectuals. This was most vividly seen in 1986 in Shah Bano Case– When Rajiv Gandhi overturned the SC judgement protecting Muslim women’s right to maintenance upon talaq by passing a law in the Parliament..

Politics has eaten into our honesty, integrity and morality. Liberals, communists and other members of the anti-India cabal are influenced by this minority appeasement vote bank politics. Every breach of law against a Muslim in particular or any numeric minority, is considered an opportunity by the global cabal to demonise the majority population. In India, it is the Hindus. In the US, it is the whites and the Christians. And if you talk about Muslim terrorists and killers, you will be accused of Islamophobia.

Time has now come to clearly and forthrightly renounce and condemn this practice of minority appeasement. Equal right and equal opportunity for all together with unhindered freedom of expression is a sine qua non in a democratic country like India.

The writer is a long-standing commentator on current political and economic issues.

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