Many like me would cry in shame, in sheer frustration, at the unspeakable barbarities that fellow Muslims are committing - from Iraq and Syria to Pakistan and Afghanistan, from Nigeria and Cameroon to France and UK, from Orlando to Dhaka – killing completely innocent individuals in cold blood. They regard these brutal killings as acts of nobility. Some even rejoice and take pride. More than the killing the sense of fulfillment and justification these killers feel scares me.
From AlQaeda to ISIS, Boko Haram to Taliban, Muslim organization have sprung up whose principal contribution to the earth has been to preach hatred, promote enmity and perpetrate barbaric violence.
I have always condemned these barbarians whenever and wherever I could. I also recognize that for decades, perhaps for a few centuries, a number of Muslim schools, sects, movements actively preached exclusion, hatred, and violence.
So, I have – like crores of Muslims – voted, spoken and written against them, if only to isolate them, to stand apart from them.
Indeed, I would have wished to raise a private army, even if as a mere token of resistance, in an effort to defeat these enemies of humanity.
Yet I confess I did not go all the way out against them. I don’t even today. Why this half-hearted condemnation, especially when I squarely condemn these acts? I can’t always put up a brave face when in public meetings I deride this behavior. Why?
Much of my condemnation often gets circumscribed by many ifs and buts that are raised by agitated Muslim youth; the questions that remain unanswered. Like?
- Like whether Muslim barbarism was born in a vacuum, without precedent, without provocation? Or are many of these reacting to the collective oppression their brethren received at the hands of their tormentors: the colonialists and imperialists
- Am I sure there is no role whatsoever by the oil purchasers and weapon sellers, by the powerful trouble-makers and spy agencies?
- Did history and civilization have a 20th-century cut-off benchmark? Are we judging partially? Was ours an ideal world?
- In an ideal world, we would not have reached this level of injustice. In an ideal world, Bush and Blair would not walk free, while Osama would be killed and Morsi would languish in the jail.
- In a fair world genocide, facilitators would not so swiftly be elected to public offices – and be hailed.
- Ideal worlds don’t bestow veto power and permanent seats in their apex bodies to a few powerful; some would not exercise hegemony over technologies - from chemical and nuclear to missile and drones, preventing others from using them.
- In an ideal world largest ‘secular democracies’ would not so blatantly exclude their largest minorities from governance.
Yes, I feel very angry at these ‘civilized’ brutes. Yes, I also wish to shout at these merciless oppressors who denied Muslims their fair share, who oppressed Muslims when they could. But I can’t shout. And, at any rate, they are too powerful today to listen to my grievances. The families of the lakhs of innocents that the coalition forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to cry for justices – in vain.
So, neither can I cry in shame for the despicable behavior of fellow Muslims, nor can I shout at their oppressors who provided them with reason d'être
But, then, I ask “what is the way out?” Can Muslims continue to live in the past? Can they continue to harbor anger and revenge? And, in any case, is their strategy paying off? Is it likely to do any good to them at all?
There is not the slightest evidence that Muslim violence can remove injustice from our midst one bit. If any, there is some hope that constructive, non-violent affirmative action may pay off. And, even if it doesn’t, at least Muslims will live in lesser pain and greater dignity.
Therefore, I urge young Muslims to actively, indeed aggressively, the campaign against violence, against revenge. I urge them to wean away Muslim masses from these merchants of the half-baked strategy of revenge. In the interest of Muslim community alone, I ask fellow Muslims to forsake killing and, instead to focus public education and propaganda.
AS A MATTER OF STRATEGY MUSLIMS MUST RENOUNCE EXCLUSION, HATE, REVENGE, AND VIOLENCE. FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR FUTURE THEY SHOULD EXPLORE NON-VIOLENT MEANS FOR THEIR AMELIORATION.