For me the Mumbai atrocities were so horrific that they defy comment. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t discuss them, of course, and in that spirit Muhammed Abdul Bari steps forward with a piece on CiF.
It is an exercise in theological arse-covering.
There will no doubt be much comment and analysis about this massacre, and it could well be that the murderers will claim to have acted in the name of Islam.
As Muslims, we have unreservedly spoken out against this perversion of our faith. There is no Islamic basis for murder, and this is exactly what happened yesterday. We persistently remind ourselves of the Qur’anic edict ‘If anyone kills a human being … it should be looked upon as though he had slain all mankind, and if anyone saves a life it should be regarded as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.’(5.32)
Terrorism is against religion and outside religion, despite those who claim otherwise.
Now I’m sure Bari is a kind and sincere man. He wants to avoid a backlash against Indian Muslims. He undoubtedly knows the Quran better than I do. There are persuasive arguments for the idea that Islamism has nothing to do with Islam.
But it strikes me as sordid that this guy’s first instinct, while the city still reels from a three-day ordeal of murder and chaos, is to ensure that his faith is protected from criticism. I mean, what kind of message does that send out? ‘I’m sorry you guys got shot, but it’s nothing to do with me, mate.’
I’ll segue from the sinister to the ridiculous with another CiF piece, this one by Musab Bora, explaining how Malaysian residents coped with a fatwa on yoga.
Even the word yoga became taboo. Across community centres and living rooms, gymnasiums and sports halls, yoga classes were recast as more innocent sounding ‘ballet lessons’. Young people held secret yoga parties, in defiance of the authorties. Teens put loose-fitting sports gear under their tight-fitting sports gear, to be released once they had congregated at friends houses. Only then could they join the other young rebels of the world by wearing baggy clothing and posing in uncomfortable positions en-masse.
But this anti-establishment mass-flexibility did not go down well with the authorities. Students associated with madrasas formed militias, with the intent of stopping these gatherings of yogic defiance. Door-to-door searches were conducted and videos of yogic instruction were seized. Yoga classes were broken up and children were encouraged to spy on their parents. Roadblocks were set up in the rural areas, and body searches were conducted to ensure joints remained unsupple. Secret guides were posted on Wikileaks to show how to feign stiffness and ill-health.
When Christopher Hitchens says ‘religion poisons everything’ people say he is exaggerating, or generalising. Yet there seems no situation that religion cannot make worse!
And while I’m banging on about this I should link to this excellent article by Maryam Namazie on sharia law.