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Muslim rage is not about Islam [Op-Ed]
The Pioneer ^ | Thursday, October 4, 2012 | Mayuri Mukherjee

Posted on 10/04/2012 12:05:26 PM PDT by Jyotishi

The outrage and the violent protests organised by Islamists across the world have nothing to do with the supposed desecration of religion. Instead, these incidents are calibrated attempts by so-called religious leaders to firm up their politics, even at the cost of people’s lives

Even before the crowd from the previous protest had returned home, a new mob had gathered on the streets. It had been gaining strength throughout the day as hundreds arrived loaded in trucks and buses, and more people from the outside kept pouring in. Over the next couple of hours, the crowd swelled in numbers and a few local leaders gradually took their position at the helm — soon, they were whipping up outrage against some vaguely defined but provocatively conveyed threat to their religion, their Prophet or their holy book. Timing was the key, so one waited cautiously for the crowd to be sufficiently riled and then, just when the passions peaked, it was let loose like a pack of blood thirsty wolves. What followed was hours, even days, of looting, raiding, pillaging, plundering and killing. Until finally, the security forces showed up and brought the situation somewhat under control.

This is a fairly accurate description of the events as they unfolded in the little Upazila of Ramu, located in the coastal Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh’s southern division of Chittagong on September 29 and 30, when Islamists went on the rampage in the area and attacked Buddhist temples and homes, after they discovered a picture of a burnt Quran on Facebook that was alleged ‘tagged’ to a local Buddhist boy.

According to the latest reports available, at least 12 temples were desecrated and nearly 50 Buddhist homes systematically destroyed. But the moot point here lies not in the details of this heinous incident that has deeply scarred Bangladesh’s socio-religious fabric but in the fact that the description applies to almost any ‘Muslim protest’ that has erupted in recent times in response to a supposed act of religious outrage.

Indeed, instead of Ramu Upazila, the narrative can just as easily be placed in Masuri village in Uttar Pradesh here in India, where a similar crowd went berserk and brutally attacked the local police station after someone found pages torn out of the Quran by the railway tracks last month. The narrative also fits well in many other places — from Mumbai’s Azad Maidan where a crowd protesting atrocities against Muslims in Burma and elsewhere went on a rampage to the US Embassy compound in Benghazi where an armed mob protesting a shoddily-made, obscure anti-Islamic film killed the American Ambassador to Libya.

Look closely and a clear pattern of pre-meditated violence that emerges through each of these cases is unmistakable. The cause of the violence and the outrage here is inconsequential. It can be anything — a book that nobody has heard of, a movie that nobody has seen because it was never publicly released, a photograph that is quite possibly doctored, a quote that remains unattributed, a conspiracy theory or even a cartoon. It doesn’t matter.  What matters is how, and of course with what result, that singular instance of outrage (real or imagined) is perverted so as to make it look like it is a universal insult to Islam and its 1.7 billion followers around the world.

First, the Islamists go all out to introduce that supposed object of religious insult — almost always an obscure one — to their local audience. Then, they systemically manufacture outrage against that same object. The campaign is almost always framed within the narrative of a victim-community; a community that has been and continues to be wronged by the world. Ridiculous as it may sound, the idea of being at the receiving end of a global conspiracy is particularly tempting and as we know from past experience, hugely effective. Finally, what serves as an icing on the cake is the fact that Islamists, almost everywhere in the world, are an especially well-organised group. This automatically allows them mobilise large sections of the population and mount an effective campaign.

In other words, the bottomline here is that the protests may be hinged around an Islamic (or more specifically, anti-Islamic) subject, but in reality they have little to do with religion. Instead, the issue is of politics and power-play. Religion is merely an excuse used by the Islamists to whip up passion and mobilise social groups so that they can ultimately implement the latter’s agenda. Indeed, this is an argument that even Muslims political observers themselves have made. For instance, Mr Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US, in his recently published article on ‘Muslim rage’ minces no words when he says, “The phenomenon of outrage over insults to Islam and its final Prophet is a function of modern-era politics. It started during Western colonial rule, with Muslim politicians seeking issues to mobilize their constituents… and Islamists emerged to claim that Islam is not merely a religion but also a political ideology.”

Indeed, Mr Haqqani traces back an early prototype of this kind of mass mobilisation within the Muslim world to a book published in British India back in 1927. Titled Rangeela Rasool (Playboy Prophet), it was a “salacious version of Muhammad’s life”, says Mr Haqqani, but “hardly a bestseller”. In fact, much the like anti-Islamic film that today is all the rage, so to say, this book too went largely unnoticed until two years after its publication when some Muslim politicians raised a hue and cry over it. The British Government of the day even arrested and tried the publisher but he was acquitted — only to be later stabbed to death by one Ilmuddin, an illiterate carpenter known only by his first name, in Lahore. Ilmuddin soon became a local hero of sorts. Islamist groups nicknamed him Ghazi (warrior) and he was defended in court by a man no less than Mohamed Ali Jinnnah (although on purely technical grounds, as Mr Haqqani points out in his essay). The book continued to be a polarising point between the Hindus and Muslims of undivided India and exacted its price in blood during Partition as well.

It is interesting to note that it was after this case of Ilmuddin that the British amended the Indian Penal Code to include punishment for blasphemy and incitement of religious hatred. It is equally ironical that a little less than a century later, another young man would once again share Ilmuddin’s fate and how! In January 2011, Mumtaz Qadri would also be celebrated as a national hero for killing Salman Taseer, the powerful Pakistani Governor of Punjab would had dared to opposed his country’s draconian blasphemy laws.

The lessons to be learnt from the past and the present are clear. These protests, wherever they may erupt, are not just a product of politics disguised as religion, but that they must be exposed as such. 

The moment the state begins to legitimise such violence as being a genuine case of religious grievance; it loses the plot and half the battle. The Bangladeshi Government realises this, which is why the whole deal about the Facebook picture was underplayed. The Pakistani Government on the other hand doesn’t get it at all and so, it had the Ishq-e-Rasool day, during which several persons where killed. India must learn its lessons from all this and stop pampering hardliners.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2012; 2012issues; bangladesh; buddhist; crushislam; hindu; india; islam; islamicsupremacists; islamofascism; islamonazism; muslim; waronterror; whywefight; wot

1 posted on 10/04/2012 12:05:30 PM PDT by Jyotishi
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To: Jyotishi

Politics and religion are the same in Islam, and, under Islam, both are evil.

2 posted on 10/04/2012 12:12:51 PM PDT by Little Ray (AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Revolting cat!

It’s about having a small penis and legs more suited to courtship with a goat than a camel.

3 posted on 10/04/2012 12:15:28 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: Jyotishi

The article is full of crap, trying to cover up how evil Islam really is.

4 posted on 10/04/2012 12:59:25 PM PDT by aimhigh
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To: aimhigh

A comment at the site:

04 October 2012 posted by Tarun Sikri

Islam preaches hate and still its followers insist that its a religion of peace.

There is no bigger lie in the world than Islam!

Islam has made what otherwise would have been fine human beings into perverted maniacs who believe that ‘thighing’ a young girl is fine and one can marry even a child or infant. Which teaches that one needs to kill his enemies even if they plead for mercy and take his daughters and wife as sex slaves. Show no mercy to even young children. Kill all non-believers of islam even if they are friendly. It’s filled with thousands of vices like this.

What kind of religion is this? Have any of the mullahs asked themselves this question???

5 posted on 10/04/2012 1:10:17 PM PDT by Jyotishi (Seeking the truth, a fact at a time.)
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To: Jyotishi

6 posted on 10/04/2012 1:15:30 PM PDT by Travis McGee (
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To: Jyotishi; Eleutheria5; muawiyah
the British amended the Indian Penal Code to include punishment for blasphemy and incitement of religious hatred.
7 posted on 10/04/2012 10:07:35 PM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

One might suppose that before that law they simply did it in the neighborhoods and villages ~ without civil law interference.

8 posted on 10/05/2012 4:31:19 AM PDT by muawiyah
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