The Qur'an, which Muslims regard as the final divine revelation, says clearly: "O You who have attained to faith! No men shall deride (other) men; it may well be that those (whom you deride) are better than themselves: and no women shall deride other women; it may well be that those who whom they deride are better than themselves. And neither shall you defame one another, nor insult one another by epithets. Evil is all imputation of inequity after one has attained to faith and they who become guilty thereof and do not repent. It is they, they who are evildoers."
|The Taliban decree is an act of religious apartheid conducted by an arrogant and ignorant minority who claims to speak in the name of religion.|
The Taliban decree is an act of religious apartheid conducted by an arrogant and ignorant minority who claims to speak in the name of religion. It has created the most serious crisis in the domain of ideas guiding the Muslim world since the emergence of Islam as a universal faith. If the Taliban are not challenged and confronted now, they have the means to change the color and scope of Islam. A victory by the Taliban will be a severe setback for Islam and for divine teachings in general.
But will this condemnation help the frightened community of 10,000 or more Hindus in Afghanistan? Will it soothe souls that are now hurt and exposed to all kinds of humiliation? Will any Hindu or non-Muslim accept the argument that Islam is good but the Taliban are bad?
How would Muslims and their leaders feel if their community were ordered to wear special badges in countries where they are in the minority? How would they react to Christian Europe, Africa and Americas, in Jewish Israel and in Hindu India, if their fellow Muslims are asked to dress in a particular way in order to distinguish themselves from the rest of society? Would they accept the argument that Christianity is good but the rulers are bad?
The argument that the Taliban are the antithesis of Islam has been heard several times in the recent past and it does not help the victims or the perpetrators. The world expects something different from Muslims. It expects some action on the part of those who claim to represent the true spirit of faith.
This is not a matter of Muslims looking good in the eyes of the world. It is a matter of their sincerity and commitment to their own faith. If they fail to protect the rights of Hindus to live as equal citizens of a state that has a Muslim majority, they should never complain about acts of religious intolerance again in their own community that are committed by other bigots.
What is happening in Afghanistan is a blow to all the intellectual progress Muslims have made over the years in their understanding of the divine teachings. It is time to challenge the Taliban.
So, on June 4, when Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, I and the members of my family and my co-workers will be wearing a badge similar to the one Hindus of Afghanistan are forced to wear. Our intent is to make the statement that the true commitment to Islam is meaningful only when the divine teachings of tolerance for all faiths are adhered to strictly.