By: Iftikhar Islam
Apostasy and Blasphemy are the major crimes according to Islam. Indian constitution also prohibits hurting sentiments. Freedom of speech and expression, and Blasphemy are two contradictory terms. We should understand these terms in depth as it is the substance of immense concern in our communities.
What will Indian government do if any Indian citizen commits blasphemy with the country? Will he be excused in the name of freedom of speech and expression? Will the debate prolong whether to penalize him or not? Each one sitting with the authority would unite and agree to the decision of punishing him to the severest, because blasphemy is not an ordinary crime; it is an invitation of waging war with the whole Nation!
Similar is the case of Salman Rushdie. He has committed blasphemy against the religion of Islam, mocked its teachings without knowledge, and besmirched its heroes to the core. He not only hurt the feelings of the community but also played with their sentiments throughout.
Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, Vice Chancellor of Darul Uloom, rightly pointed out and stood against the visit of the author of “Satanic Verses” (SV). It is not only Nomani who is against the visit but the whole Muslim community. None of us wants him to step in the soil of our beloved country. We love this country so we need to keep it uncontaminated from those who blaspheme. All sensible and true citizens would think the same.
Salman Rushdie not only degraded Islam and its heroes, but even tarnished Hinduism, its belief, and its heroes like Rama and Sita. He just did not stop here but went on to abuse the queen of England and their people. He used such jargon words for the Queen that even a prostitute would abhor if someone used those words to her. How can we tolerate those blasphemies that Rushdie has done to Islam and its heroes? Furthermore, how can we tolerate those abusive words that he used for women?
My beloved India was the first Nation under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi to ban the book SV. But this is the same nation who is debating on the issue whether Rushdie should be allowed or not. Rushdie tweeted that he doesn’t need visa to come to India. As official sources reveal, Rushdie holds a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card which entitles him to visit this country without a visa! This is a lame excuse of entering into Indian soil, what stance would our leaders take if a deadliest terrorist (just for the sake of argument) flaunted a PIO card; had they behaved in the same manner? How can our leaders allow him to even step into the country? He needs visa or not is secondary! He has already hurt the sentiments of the Muslims who constitute more than 20% of the Indian Population (not only did he hurt the sentiments of Muslims but of all those who are ethical). He should not be allowed whether he has visa or not, it is the matter of the community and their feelings. Some modernists are of the view that this is the 21st century and people should move away from religious dogmas, I would ask them, have we become so modern that we shouldn’t mind others disrespecting women, our religious personalities and our faith??? Sorry to say but this doesn’t reflect modernism from any angle but a mere showcase of stupidity! A modern man is one who knows what is right and what is wrong, he should respect one’s faith, upheld the status of women and keep away from such works which cause disharmony.
Do you think it is right to defame Rama and Sita? Do you think it is right to defame women? Why M.F. Husain was denied permission to live in India? Where were the freedom of speech and expression then? (We don’t support paintings of M.F. Husain as he has hurt majority of people including Muslims) Why people have the attitude of opposing any stance taken by Muslims? India is a secular country and every citizen of India enjoys the same rights and has same duties. No community should be hurt be it minor or major. Everyone should be protected!
The government of India should not grant him permission to step on the soil of India. His arrival will again ignite the sentiments of Muslims, it sprinkles salt on their wounds, as blasphemy is a major crime committed by Rushdie against Islam and Muslims and he has not yet apologised for his work and even the Muslim community has not forgiven him.
We urge our leaders to understand the matter and stop Rushdie from entering India. India does not belong to Hindus neither does it belong to Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Parsees; India belongs to Indians! Rushdie has hurt every Indian to the core by degrading Prophet and his wives, Rama and his wife Sita, and also women in particular. If we allow his entry to this peaceful land, others with the same mind-set would gain momentum of doing such acts in future. One Rushdie should be taught a lesson to prevent several Rushdies from taking birth. Our leaders are thinking of his visit because of some liberal mass that does not even care when someone abuses their own mothers! Why are our leaders bothered for those who don’t have sentiments and play with the sentiments of others behind the vivid screen of freedom of speech and expression?
Rushdie violated the sections 153, 295, as well as 500 of Indian Penal Code. Section 295A says whoever commits “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs…” It further clarifies “…insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished…” In spite of urging to punish the guilty man, our very own media is debating on the issue and trying to portray it as a game of politics.
I request our leaders not to be biased and give a blind-eye to a particular community. It is Rushdie who is playing with the sentiments of not only Muslims but also of other faiths. This man should not be allowed to enter the country unless he apologises and the community forgives him! He is continuously deceiving not only India but the whole world in general.