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Current Affairs ( 16 Nov 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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West Bengal Transport Minister Firhad Hakim Apologises For His ‘Blasphemous’ Remarks against Islam and Hinduism

Firhad Hakim Had Said That Hindutvavad and Islamvad Were the Cause of Bloodshed in the World

Main Points:

1.    Later he said that his statement was misrepresented.

2.    He said only the path of Buddhism could lead to world peace.

3.    Firhad Hakim confused Hinduism and Islam with Islamism and Hindutva.


By New Age Islam Staff Writer

16 November 2021


Firhad Hakim/ File picture


West Bengal Transport Minister had to apologise on twitter for his reported statements linking both Islam and Hinduism with terrorism. In a programme organized by Buddhist organization in Kolkata last week, he had reportedly said that both Hinduism and Islam promoted terrorism while Buddhism preached peace.  This had sparked a row of protests from Muslims of the state. Importantly, no prominent cleric of the state has commented on or criticized Mr Firhad Hakim’s ‘blasphemous’ remarks apparently because he is a powerful politician of the state and is very close to the CM Mamata Banerjee. The same section created a storm when the French Prime Minister had said that Islam was in a crisis. Violent protests had been staged in Bangladesh and Pakistan and the clerics of India had also expressed their deep resentment as they had condemned his remark.  Jamat Islami criticized his remark and demanded that he withdraw his statement. They said that Mr Firhad Hakim’s statement betrays his ignorance of the teachings of Islam. However, common Muslims of the state criticized Mr Hakim’s statement linking terrorism to Islam.

Finally, Mr Hakim posted an apology on twitter saying his statement was misinterpreted and that he respected all religions including Islam. He wrote:

“I respect all religions, and if my words have hurt anyone’s sentiments, my apologies. I didn’t mean that, my statement was misinterpreted. My religion Islam is a religion of peace & teaches me to respect humanity & every other religion.”

Earlier he had reportedly said, “In today’s world, people are perpetrating violence. On the one side, violence is being perpetrated by Hindutva and on the other, Islamist violence is also raging. Buddhism is the only path through which peace will prevail in the world. Therefore, we should also follow the path of non-violence.”

It appears that Mr Firhad Hakim had been pressurized by the party high command to apologise as it had created a bad image for him not among the Muslims but also among the Hindus.

It should be noted that he used the terms “Hindutvavad” and “Islamvad” and not “Hindu Dharma” and Islam dharma. Hindutvavad and Islamvad are different from Hinduism and Islam. Hindutvavad and Islamvad or Islamism are political terms and denote the political agenda followed for the establishment of a Hindu or an Islamic state respectively where the followers of other religions will be treated like second class citizens. This doctrine also justifies the use of violence and force for subjugating the minority community.  Perhaps Mr Firhad Hakim wanted to say that the political ideology of Hindutvavad and Islamism or Islamvad was the cause of violence in India and in the world and so we Indians should abandon the path of violence and follow the teachings of Gautam Buddha who taught Karuna and Metta (Sympathy and loving kindness for all). While criticising both Islamism and Hindutvavad for violence in the world, Mr Hakim forgot the fact that political Buddhism was also the cause of violence against minorities in Sri Lanka and Myanmar where Buddhism is the major religion. Like Islam and Hinduism, Buddhism also preaches peace and brotherhood but a section of Buddhists also follow the doctrine of political Buddhism that denies religious and social rights to the minorities. Due to the lack of knowledge of the difference between Hindutva and Hinduism and Islam and Islamism, Mr Hakim could not make his points clear and created a controversy finally leading to his apology. However, with his apology, the controversy may come to an end.


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