↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Sunday, June 07, 2009

M J akbar - Thank you for the Nildus Speech, Mr President

Dear Brother-Husain,I am certain about two things. I am a Muslim, and I live in this world. Now the uncertainties begin. On 4 June you gave what was heavily advertised as a major speech to the “Muslim world”. Does that mean that while every Christian believes in the divinity of Jesus, he can be legitimately and widely varied in his political interests, but Muslims must have both Allah and politics in common?As an Indian Muslim I belong to the second largest Muslim community in the world. I also live, proudly, as an equal, in India, a nation that contains the largest Hindu community in the world. Do you think I have the same political views as my fellow Muslims in Pakistan or Bangladesh or Nepal? You did mention that there are around six million Muslims in America. Were you speaking to them, or on their behalf, in Cairo? But for the accidents of life, you could have been an American Muslim, a Kenyan Muslim or an Indonesian Muslim. Would the same speech serve for all three?

Muslims live not only in different cultures and geo-political spaces, but also under different Constitutions. Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim nation, does not believe in a state religion. Pakistan, the second largest, became the world’s first Islamic republic. There are kings and autocrats and elected heads of government in the “Muslim world”, and one category that can only be described as “immoveable object” unopposed by any irresistible force. Many Muslims live on the margins. Not many seem aware of this fact, and it is possible that none of your speechwriters pointed it out, but 10% of the Russian population is Muslim. Islam came to that vast Eurasian region around the same time as the Christian church. Do Russian Muslims belong to the same “Muslim world” as Indonesians and Moroccans? The Chinese keep their Muslim-majority province, Xinjiang, a sort of closely guarded state secret, frightened that Islam might jump up and bite off Communism’s ear. Which world do these Muslims belong to? And what about the chaps in Britain, who probably went over on the assumption that Britain was still Great. Or the French Muslims, whose ears are still ringing with the famous Sarkozy diktat: “Off with their headscarves!” Where would you place them? In Above-Saharan Africa?


Post a Comment

<< Home