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Islam and Politics

There is far too much talk of this kind. It actually ends up demeaning India more than Pakistan, but what should cheer all of us up this Republic Day is that our Constitution is a shining beacon in this troubled time....

Muslims are a worried lot. As soon as I air my concerns, I am bombarded with messages telling me that Muslim citizens living here for ages have nothing to worry about hence I should stop getting paranoid about CAA or NRC….

On maps of the Middle East of 2020, the most important features are the borders — the lines dividing states in conflict, and people in conflict within states. But on the old maps, those from 80 or 100 years ago, different lines stand out: rail, the kind of lines linking people to one another….

 

In some countries, religion or sect (denomination) play a vital role in determining someone’s place (or status) in politics or public life, as well as their right to work and education....

 

At a time when we should have been focusing on female literacy and empowerment, we are wasting our time on discussing distorted messages generated by ‘WhatsApp University’....

 

The images and actions of this protest break the stereotype propagated by some in India that Indian Muslims are susceptible to extremism....

No one knows the fate of the anti-CAA movement. But it is certain that this new Muslim assertiveness will continue to redefine the meanings of inclusive nationalism in the future....

That these women, as a collective, are in the lead has irredeemably dented the Indian Muslim patriarchy. This may be the first time that they have dominated the public space in such a resounding manner....

 
The Many Meanings of Shaheen Bagh
The Many Meanings of Shaheen Bagh
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

It is the bravery and the far-sightedness of these protests that they have not allowed any religious cleric to come near them. What also needs to be underlined is that the established Muslim leaders of different political parties have not been allowed to make political speeches. The beauty of the movement is that it is acephalous wherein young people are refusing to be cowed down despite brutal repression at some places....

In August 2014, the online portal New Age Islam (NAI) published a translation of two editorials dated August 22 and August 25 published in the Jamaat-e-Islami, Hind (JEI’s) Urdu mouthpiece, Dawat. Among other things, one of the editorials stated: “It is very necessary to welcome the announcement of the establishment of Islamic Caliphate by the ISIS because Islamic Caliphate is the aspiration of every Muslim and there has never been a disagreement on the issue among the Muslims in any period of history.” The JEI, incidentally, was not the only Muslim body in India to have expressed similar sentiments until the sheer barbarism of the ISIS stunned them into silence....

Even the mainstream print and television media, cowed down for so long, have gathered up the courage to hold the government accountable for its egregious misdeeds. The regime’s litany of half-truths and lies is at last being met with some investigative reporting and the assertion of facts. For this, the students of this country must be congratulated.....

Foundational texts of religions should "reflect socialist values" and should be rewritten so that they do not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, the committee concluded. Hence, some paragraphs of religious texts would be amended or re-translated....

Catholic and Buddhist states, which were once called unripe for democracy due to faith-based issues, have eventually moved towards democracy. It is a matter of time before the same happens within the Ummah as citizens’ movements thrive....

Only last evening on visiting my cardiologist in Lajpat Nagar, I met a nurse who looked like a foreigner. Asked about her nationality and religion, she said she was an Afghan Muslim born in India and brought up by her parents who, on facing severe harassment in Afghanistan, had taken shelter here. Will she and her family, poor Najeebullah the grocer, and thousands of others like these unfortunate souls, now be deported to Afghanistan to face inhuman treatment there once again? The CAA passed by Parliament of secular India says ‘yes, they will have to be’....

The British assumed that the Muslims spread all over the world formed one monolithic category. They assumed that Indian Muslims were similar to those they had come in contact with in Europe and other Arab lands....

Erdogan’s message was clear: now is the time to revive pan-Islamism. This was later echoed by all participants of the small circle of countries who, by sprinkling their rhetoric with “Muslim unity” sonnets and giving their gathering a theme that could speak to Muslim sensibilities the world over....,

 

Watching the pictures from the steps of Delhi's Jama Masjid, a brisk 15-minute walk or one metro station away from where I sit and write this on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, I'd wonder how she would have described thousands of Muslims spilling over Jama Masjid's 17th century steps....

Has India succeeded in addressing issues related to the Muslim minority, notwithstanding the entire array of constitutional rights and guarantees? An honest response has to be necessarily in the negative....

Muslim men, on this particular occasion, are encouraging their respective sisters, mothers, spouses and girlfriends to breach their designated boundaries, raise their voice and be partners in protests. It all seems like a perfectly choreographed public sphere set up....

 

This is no refugee or Atithi story, it is an insider’s tale. The civilisational urn has Islam as much in the mix as any other faith. But it has been a journey which has had its hiccups, defined as much by the strain as the smoothness of the ride....

The Sangh Parivar has a long tradition of describing Sikhs as the ‘sword arm’ of the Hindus. It is an assimilative ploy that seems to have stopped working. The BJP tried to sell the CAA as a way of regularizing the status of Pakistani Sikhs in India but the spectacle of an avowedly majoritarian party excluding Muslims from the purview of the CAA has rung alarm bells in a minority community that has had its own history with majoritarianism....

India Did Not Become Hindu in 2014
India Did Not Become Hindu in 2014
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

It is important to call out this government for its treatment of Muslims. It is equally important for Muslims to protest against this oppression. But while doing so, Muslims and others should not forget that anti-Muslim prejudice is a systemic problem and not related to any one political party. A better tomorrow will only come about when we recognise this problem and collectively try to overcome a system which has been loaded against Muslims in many ways....

Muslim masses who have been tolerating slurs on their patriotism and love for India silently for decades now ---with bushy moustache generals joining anchors on television to demand the Muslims chant Vande Mataram--- are out on the roads singing Jana Gana Mana as one. First to make it clear that they are Indians, two, they will remain Indians and three; they will not leave the country for anyone, or anything....

Which is why the otherwise nondescript Shaheen Bagh has suddenly found a voice that resonates far and wide? Every day, round the clock, braving the severe winter cold, large groups of women sit in protest here on the street. Raising slogans, chanting songs, seeking justice, shattering every stereotype....

With the Marxian left long dead in the MENA region, Islamist forces were the most prepared to fill the vacuum left by the decline of totalitarian regimes in the wake of the Arab Spring. After assuming power, Islamists soon began a war against all that is progressive and has killed people indiscriminately...



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