This is a post explaining once again my views on Islam and why I write what I do. This is in response to the comments to a post from yesterday, Geert Wilders is a Maladjusted Person. This post will not be of interest to you if you don’t care about the topic of Islamic terrorism.
In a comment to that post, Sriram quoted me —
Islam brainwashes people from an early age to become terrorists and suicide killers, as the report from Islamabad reveals. It turns people into killing machines. Humanity is lost and often to a degree that parents bury their children alive for such trivialities as talking.
— and wrote, “These kind of statements are quite not upto the bars you raised otherwise.”
I fail to see where I have failed to meet the standards (whatever they be) that I have set. I would like to believe that I do present reasons for my assertions. In the present instance, my claims that Islam brainwashes people to become terrorists and suicide killers is supported by evidence. Just open the newspaper any day of the week. Do people turn into killing machines as a result? Evidently so. Once again read the papers.
Check the statistics. TheReligionofPeace.com reports that for the week Jan 30 — Feb 05 2010, there were 29 Jihad attacks, which killed 210 people and left 716 critically injured. It reports that since 9/11/2001, Islamic terrorists have carried out more than 14,793 deadly terror attacks. They don’t report a death toll since 9/11/2001, but it must be over 100,000 dead. For the month of January 2010, it is 683 dead and 1,251 critically injured.
These statistics cannot be accurate. They may be under-estimates or over-estimates. It does not matter, really. The story they tell is undeniable. Even discounting them heavily makes you realize the extent of the horror that Islam motivates against non-believers.
Sriram writes —
I can easily counter this with so many instances: how about the music maestros such as Ustat Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Abdul Karim Khan, Bismillah khan not to touch even other spheres of human intellect? Not many devout muslims are turning out to such Killing machines.
Yes, you can counter with many instances of great Muslims. But then you are not arguing against me, in that case. You are arguing against someone who claims, “There are no good Muslims.”
Even if 90 percent of Muslims are peace-loving and non-violent, it does not in any way negate the proposition that Islam is a hateful ideology. That proposition is supported by the Quran (Koran) and other religious texts of Islam. People — critics and ardent faithfuls — have quoted chapter and verse which call for the murder of non-believers. Every act of Islamic terrorism is loudly proclaimed by the killers as an act of faith and in accordance with the highest ideals of the faith.
Sriram, if you have any evidence to contradict any statement that I make, please do present it at your convenience. Whenever I am disabused of a false notion, I am very grateful. I have very strong opinions but they are weakly held. Give me reason to, and I will change my mind.
Sriram writes —
All religions have flaws and could be anachronistic in today’s world for a few elite. Some religions have longer history (due to hospitable climate in such regions) and hence have evolved to more tolerant/accepting/receptive to other nomadic tribes.
OK, so Sriram does admit that all religions are not the same. Some are more tolerant. I am happy to note that we agree.
My point is that Islam preaches hatred towards infidels. That’s all. I have never claimed that every Muslim has been brainwashed by Islam to be a killing machine. I have never claimed that all Muslims are terrorists. People who read into my criticism of Islam a generalized hatred towards all Muslims are likely projecting their prejudices onto me.
Sriram writes —
Yet I do not like the hate mongering as it only leads to conflict. Does any one like a direct negation of their basic existence by others? At same time, how can we think of abolishing 30% humans overnight? Intolerance about intolerance is what i see in your posts. Something is not right. Is it my articulation?
Glad you clarified that you do not like hate mongering, Sriram. But since we are on the topic, have you stopped beating your wife?
See, that’s the problem, Sriram. You have elevated yourself by writing that you don’t like hate mongering, and simultaneously insinuated that I like hate mongering.
Of course no one likes direct negation of their basic existence by others — to answer your somewhat obtuse question. But where have I done that?
Now Sriram, you wrote about “abolishing 30% humans overnight”. Why? Can’t you distinguish between an ideology and groups of people? Sure Islam is an inhumane ideology. But Muslims are born into it. They do not choose to be bound by Islam. They have no choice in being Muslims. Islam demands death for apostates. Even if they wanted to, Muslims cannot escape from Islam. Your position that 30% of humans be “abolished” is hateful and dangerous. Not a good thing, not a good thing at all.
Sriram, you should really examine your soul and realize that criticism of an ideology does not imply that one is calling for the wholesale murder of innocent people. I agree that Islam does advocate summary murder of anyone who is an infidel. But going from your name, you don’t appear to follow Islam. That is puzzling.
Allow me to quote from an old post which dealt with the Nov 26-29th 2008 Islamic terrorist attacks on Mumbai. This I wrote for people like Sriram:
PS: And now I would like to very politely suggest that all those who believe that they have read in what I have ever written that I am calling for violence against Muslims, that they should get their effing heads out of their collective behinds and read what I actually wrote. I am against Islam — an ideology — not Muslims — a collection of humans. If you cannot distinguish betwen the two, you should get yourself some remedial reading courses at your local high school. Furthermore, if you are misconstruing what I wrote as a diatribe against Muslims, perhaps it reveals your subconcious hatred of Muslims. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you harbor ill-will against people merely because they are different. If you do, perhaps you subscribe to the Islamic doctrine of labeling people without justification.
Now I move on to Sahir’s comment where he wrote —
I really enjoy reading your posts on India’s development, education and economic situation. However, when you write about religion, especially Islam, you come across as being anti-muslim and anti-islam. I don’t think you are not a racist or an extremist, and I do think your point here is not “Islam is bad”, maybe your point is all religion is bad, or more along the lines of how freedom of speech is being eroded in the west, but it does not come across as this.
Sahir, thank you for your kind words about my posts on development, education, etc. And as you write later in the comment, you have not had a chance to read all my posts and therefore you do not know my position on all matters. I have written a lot of stuff over the last nearly 7 years of blogging and I don’t expect anyone to read it all.
So allow me to repeat myself. You write, “you come across as being anti-muslim and anti-islam.” That is a half-truth. I am anti-Islam and not anti-Muslim. You have my word of honor. There is no reason for me to lie about this to you or to anyone. If I were anti-Muslim, I would say it.
I do say what people consider pretty god-awful things, anyway. So why would I not say that I am anti-Muslim if I were indeed so. In fact, think about this: it is more dangerous for me to say that I am anti-Islam than it is for me to say that I am anti-Muslim.
I hope you appreciate the fact that I am brave (or foolish) enough to say it like I see it. I believe that it is my dharma — my most basic nature — to criticize ideas. I do that for all ideas. I do it for political ideas, I do it for economic ideas, I do it for religious ideas.
To some, all ideas are fair game for critical examination with the exception of Islam. For me, Islam is not immune from scrutiny. I argue that it is a dangerous and harmful ideology. If you disagree, I am willing to listen to your arguments. I will not kill you for disagreeing with me and I hope you will extend the same courtesy to me. (BTW, the “you” above is generic, and not Sahir.)
Sahir writes further —
However, the articles like this discredit you and might turn away potential blog followers. In addition, a blog post like this does not really add positively to the collective discussion about religion and freedom of speech, rather it would serve to make muslims defensive or angry, even the liberal or moderate ones, who are open to more discussion and rational thought .
I am mindful of the fact that telling someone that their mother is ugly will piss them off. If I honestly write critically about the evils of the Nehru-Gandhi clan’s control of India, it will piss off Congress faithfuls. I hate communism and say that openly but risk the ire of commies. I dislike censorship and therefore rub those who love to impose restrictions on other people’s freedom of expression the wrong way.
The purpose of this blog is my own edification and amusement. If along the way, someone finds this blog of some use, that’s great. But I am not in any popularity contest and even if I were, I am unlikely to win. So why bother lying when it feels much better to tell the truth as I see it?
I think uncritical acceptance of bad ideas lies at the core of pretty much all human misery. Economic distress is itself a consequence of bad ideas. India is poor because of bad ideas. There’s a reason for whatever it is that I criticize — at least to my mind. It is possible to discern it if one takes the time to read my blog. But I know that people are busy and they will misunderstand me. So what!
If someone says, “Oh what a brainless cretin and retard” on reading a post or two, and moves on, it does not matter. Big effing deal. You go your own way and I go mine. I will not demand that you be murdered and I hope you will not ask for my murder.
So I hope that I have addressed Sriram’s and Sahir’s points and to some extent once again clarified my position. I write “once again” since it seems to be a regular feature of this blog — my having to explain what I mean. Just for the record, here is what I had written previously on the topic.
Please read the following if you want to better understand where I am coming from. If nothing else, it will convince you that I am consistent in my position. Finally, if you feel that because of my opposition to an ideology — communism, socialism, Gandhi-ism (both the original and the fake family), Islam, monotheism, whatever — you don’t wish to read my blog, you are most welcome. The INTERNETS is big and there’s tons of interesting stuff out there. Don’t waste time over here.
OK, so now I quote myself extensively:
Religious insanity should be ridiculed as strenuously and as frequently as one can. . .
. . . the Guardian.co.uk reported that (as of Feb 17th, 2008), “180,000 demands to remove images of the Prophet” from the Wiki page on Muhammad have been made. I assume that these were followers of Islam who made that demand. Islam forbids the depiction of Muhammad because it could lead to idolatry — that is worshiping of Muhammad — and Islam calls for the death of all idolaters.
Yes, the followers of Islam if they so choose should not depict Mohammed or any other living creature. But demanding that non-Muslims follow the dictates of Islam is patently idiotic, and ridicule and derision should be heaped on attempts at controlling others.
Here’s a clue to those clueless retards that want to control others. You are not required by law — human or physical — to go check out any material that is not consistent with your ridiculous belief system. If you don’t like to read something or watch something because it offends you, then don’t do it. Just read or watch or listen to what you don’t find offensive. Don’t like a novel? Don’t read it. Write your own which suits your taste and follows your religion’s dictates.
Let me remind you. I find your belief system offensive and inhuman. (Don’t thank me. I am merely returning the compliment. Check out what your “holy” books say about my belief system.) But I would not presume to tell you not to practice it in the privacy of your own home. I don’t call for the ban of your “holy” writings that the majority of humanity finds offensive. . .
Let me also remind you that the world is a pretty big place. It is much much bigger than could be conceived by the writers of the “holy” books who lived and died their whole miserable lives in a desert in the Middle East a couple of thousand years ago. They thought that what they could see from the top of their camels is all that the universe was. Nope, the world is much bigger. Other people have other ways of living and thinking. Believing that the entire world was just a huge freakin’ desert where everyone must do everything exactly the same way is retarded and unimaginative.
It is stupid and dangerous insanity to want to dictate to others how they should live under your religion’s prohibitions. Let me give you an example. To most Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, killing cows and eating them is offensive and against their religion. Would you support a worldwide ban on the slaughter of cattle? If not, why not? What makes your ban any more reasonable than the ban on something that most Indians find offensive?
Grow up. It is way past the 7th century and we are no longer in the Arab peninsula, Toto. [Feb 2008 — Ridiculing Religious Insanity.]
To which, one person named Alpana wrote, “However I find it very strange that you fail to find it offensive when the same thing happens in your own country esp. by the goons of your favourite party:” She included a link to some protest about Delhi University text books by the BJP.
I wrote in reply —
Alpana, it is called division of labor. You take on the responsibility of reporting on “the goons of my favorite party” (as you put it) and I will keep reporting on what the goons of your favorite party (religion) are doing.
Did it ever occur to you that you should really be thankful that India is indeed a Hindu majority country? Have you ever considered what it would have been like for the minorities if the majority were not Hindus?
Take your “favorite countries” — Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, etc — what does Islam have to say about the non-Muslims and what do the people of your favorite countries do? Here’s a clue: they wipe out the minorities.
I really should not be so impolite to a visitor to this blog but this has to be said. I think that your attempt at equating Islamic global terrorism with the idiocy of bunch of hooligans is stupid and lacks a sense of proportion and decency.
I don’t know what motivates the self-loathing in you that compels you to come to the defense of Islamic terrorism by reducing it to a minor inconvenience. I can understand an illiterate Muslim from Saudi Arabia doing so. I can imagine the a Pakistani when told that Islam destroys temples whenever and whenever it can, responding that “But didn’t Hindus destroy the Babri Masjid?” That one act of insanity committed by a bunch of thugs is now used as cover for hundreds of years of destruction of thousands of temples.
Shame on you and your fellow travelers. India would not see so many dead from Islamic terrorism but for the cover that the likes of you provide. You are the “moderate” face that encourages the “tiny minority of extremists” to terrorize the world by trivializing their terrorism.
In this comment I name you and the message is specifically to you. But in general, there is a significant section of India which actually displays the same behavior and due to the same reason — ignorance and illogic. This message is for them as well. India has paid a heavy price (and I don’t mean just the jiziya) and will continue to pay for the generalized stupidity.
Miss Alpana replied in a comment essentially calling me a Nazi (although not in those words.) So I decided to set the record straight and I wrote —
This is a follow up to the Ridiculing Religious Insanity post. One reader, Alpana Sadya broadly agreed with the basic idea of the post but accused me of bias in that I did not object to incidents that involve goons of what she claims is my favorite party the BJP. She reported that there was a case of vandalism on Delhi University campus a few days ago and it was regarding the Ramayana. She feared that it portends ill for India and that India may break up in a civil war.
Just for the record allow me one clarification. I do not hold any brief for any political party or organization, foreign or domestic. I am free to criticize whomever and whenever I feel like. Most of the time my focus is on ideologies and not people. That distinction is worth keeping in mind. If ever someone misconstrues my criticism of an ideology with animosity against a group or a person, it reveals at best a reading comprehension problem and at worst guilt associated with a hidden prejudice of the reader against the group I am accused of opposing.
That last point is worth underlining. I am for or against ideologies, not people. I judge the people for how they behave, not what they fundamentally believe in. To lend support for my assessment of a certain ideology, I will have to point to specific actions by individuals or groups that acted in accord with the dictates of that ideology. I am given that opportunity by the actions of the followers of the ideology and is not something that I invent on a whim. If the facts I choose to highlight are in dispute, I’d like to be corrected. Otherwise I would like to hear an argument why the ideology cannot be judged, first, objectively without reference to actions; and second, by noting the consequences of the ideology as evidenced by the actions of those motivated by it.
Now on to other substantive matters.
By the time one has outgrown one’s childhood, most people without cognitive impairment figure out that one cannot eat one’s cake and have it too. We intuitively realize that there are trade offs in our universe: you either eat the cake and not have it, or you have your cake only if you resist eating it. Being unable to appreciate that basic principle is indicative of a mental defect. In very small children, it is cute to observe how they misapprehend the world but in adults that same behavior is pitiable.
Not everything that needs our attention can be attended to because we are finite creatures with finite resources. We have to prioritize things and then depending on our assessment of the urgency and importance of the things that need done, we sequence our actions. Not everything is equally urgent, or equally important. Some things are important but not urgent. The house burning down is urgent; getting daily exercise is important. Leaving the house to burn down because you have to get your routine jogging done is stupid.
The ability to make distinctions and see differences is absolutely critical. Perceiving the universe as one indistinguishable whole with no boundaries or distinctions is a wonderful mystical Zen experience perhaps but in our daily living we need to distinguish the benign from the malignant, the useful from the useless, the healthy from the diseased. We do that as a matter of course as it is ingrained in our genes: like all other living things, we are the descendants of a very long line of ancestors each of whom was successful in making that distinction long enough to mate and procreate.
We humans differ from other living things in one significant way: we live in a world of ideas, not just a world of things. Ideas can also be broadly characterized as benign, malignant or neutral. The same can be done for an ideology which is essentially a collection of ideas. The theory of evolution — like all scientific theories — is also an ideology, just like capitalism, or communism, or any other ism. Ideologies, like things, can be grouped and their characteristics examined. Any specific religion is an ideology. A group of related religions can also be examined as an ideology. Judging the goodness (however defined) of any ideology is no different from judging the goodness of things.
I have made the case that ideas matter elsewhere before and I am sure to do more of that later. But for now I will focus on religious ideologies only.
All religious ideologies are not created equal. They differ naturally because they were created by different people under different geographical and historical circumstances. Religious ideologies are contingent and don’t have any absolute existence, unlike say the ideology of the theory of gravitation. If you did the right inferences from observation, you would arrive at the same theory of gravity as someone who lived in a different land at a different time.
The major monotheistic ideologies were born in the Middle East and they share the same lineage. Their family resemblance is unmistakable. Judaism came first; the Christians acknowledge the Jewish bible and added their own two bits; then Islam came along and plagiarized bits from the preceding two and added its own twisted bits to it. Every age and every place that has been touched by the monotheistic ideology has suffered profoundly from its malignant influence. It has killed, raped, burnt, pillaged, and destroyed whatever it can. Not content with merely killing non-monotheists, it has encouraged its followers to turn their rage against one another. Sibling rivalry, perhaps. But the history books are full of rivers of blood shed by mutual hostility between Protestants, Catholics, Shias, Sunnis, and all of them at some point or the other against the Jews. Though Christianity and Islam are descended from Judaism, the Jews are held in special contempt by the followers of the other two. A Darwinist may explain that by saying that they all occupy the same ecological niche and hence the bitter rivalry.
But they are not equally vicious. The Jewish god is a monomaniacal savage but he does not command Jews to go out and kill the others. His world is restricted to the Jews and how he controls them. The Christian god is a much meaner god. He created a hell for non-believers and instructed his followers to go out and either convert or kill those who don’t follow him. A few hundred years later, the Islamic god upped the ante and instructed its followers to basically kill everyone who refuses to submit to him until the entire world is enslaved to him.
The sequence of origination ensures that the ideology which came later had the opportunity to revile the earlier one(s). Islam labels Jews and Christians monkeys and pigs; Christianity condemns Jews for having the blood of their savior on their hands. There is a progression of increasing violence in the three monotheistic ideologies.
One reasonable explanation for the savagery of Christianity and Islam is that they were invented by savages. They lived in a brutal and brutalizing environment. They lived in a dog eat dog world where worldly pleasures were few and far between. Their god is a reflection of that mentality that brutalizes humans and humanity. A brutalized male dominated warring society living in harsh conditions could not conceive of a god that was loving. The fantasies of a paradise which can only be described as an impotent man’s wet dream figures prominently in Islam.
How anyone can believe in a god of the monotheists is a fascinating subject. That god is literally unbelievable. This is widely recognized by the monotheists themselves — those who believe in the Islamic god vehemently reject the Jewish and Christian god, the Islamic god is unpalatable to the Jews and the Muslims, and the Christian god is idiotic in the opinion of the Jews and the Muslims. Each comprehends the utter stupidity of the other two, and non-monotheists arrive at the logical position — the logical union of the three views — that monotheism is utter stupidity.
What distinguished monotheism from other religious ideologies is that it is supremacist, exclusivist, and triumphalist. That attitude finds it most extreme expression in Islam — it claims it is perfection in every sense, no other ideology can be permitted to exist, and it will ultimately conquer every human for eternity. The non-monotheist religions are cautious and hesitant. Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism all claim to be correct but also make allowances that there are multiple ways and that different people will see the world differently. They are willing to accommodate other points of views, and other ways of living. But to the ideology of Islam, there is only one way and if you refuse to willingly submit to the dictates of Islam, you have to be subjugated and if need be, annihilated.
The followers of ideologies are humans. Human action is motivated by a wide range of impulses and incentives, not just ideologies — religious or otherwise. It is not too difficult to determine what the prime motivation may have been for a certain action. The kamikaze bombers of the second world war may have been Buddhists but the Buddhist ideology was not the prime motivator for their suicide missions. It was not an adherence to the principles of Buddhism but rather their allegiance to the Emperor and the nation that moved them. Stalin and Mao murdered scores of millions for a political ideology and not for their being atheists. They were bad people doing what came naturally to them as followers of a certain ideology.
Steven Weinberg has said: “Without religions, good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things. But it takes religion to get good people to do bad things.” I would generalize that observation: Without ideological motivations, good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things. But to get good people to do bad things requires bad ideologies.
So why am I writing about religious insanity in a blog which is about economic growth and development? How is religion relevant? Let me elaborate on why I think religion matters and why more importantly the ideology of Islam matters to India’s development.
As I have said before, all ideologies are not created equal. Some are benign and can be safely ignored. The Pastafarians will not sic their Flying Spaghetti Monster god on me if I call them ridiculous for their ridiculous beliefs. Well never mind the FSM as it was meant to parody monotheism. How about if I call Buddhists a bunch of retarded egg-heads and call the Buddha a dried shit stick? Not a problem. At worst someone may challenge me to a dharma duel which I could easily win by smiling stupidly as I make some seemingly profound statement like “what is the sound of one hand clapping” or “if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”
These days you can mock all ideologies — religious or secular — except one: Islam. Scribble something on a piece of paper and regardless of where you are and whether or not you have broken any local laws, Islam can and will take offense if it so pleases. That is usually followed by some of the faithful flying into a murderous rage (which is different from murdering people by flying planes into buildings) and setting out to kill you.
I object to an ideology that responds to criticism with violence and murder. Yes, the ideology has the response encoded within it. It is not the invention of the followers. By not allowing criticism, it forces a stop to human progress because it will not allow any idea — religious or secular — to survive if it is not consistent with Islam. This is why most countries where Islamic ideology is dominant do not figure in any area of science, technology, arts, and entertainment. Pretty much everything we know about the universe was discovered after the 7th century and therefore all that Islam could possibly know (and knows) was (and is) bounded by what was known by essentially ignorant people in the desert in the 7th century. So if Islam is allowed to dominate India today — today when it has finally emerged after a thousand years of servitude — it will be a disaster. What sort of disaster? Well, look at Pakistan and Bangladesh — those parts of the Indian subcontinent where Islam has triumphed.
Ideologies matter. Observe the differing performance of the differing ideological groups from the Indian subcontinent in Western nations. That is a natural experiment the results of which clearly demonstrate that Islamic ideology hinders the development of people because it prohibits precisely those freedoms that are most critical in human development and growth.
The ideology of Islam matters to today’s India and it has done so for around a thousand years. Will Durant, an American historian summed it up this way. ““The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in History. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown barbarians invading from without and multiplying within.”
The partitioning of India was based on that ideology of Islam. The Muslims of colonial India voted that they cannot co-exist with non-Muslims because their ideology did not permit that. The creation of Pakistan (and subsequently of Bangladesh) was the direct and unavoidable result of Islamic ideology. Thereafter, the constant state of war that exists between the three fragments can be reasonably traced back to the Islamic ideology of dividing all humanity into the land of Islam and the land of the kuffars. The millions of lives lost over the centuries continue to be added to every year — sometimes in bloody wars and more regularly in a war of thousand cuts of random acts of terrorism. Resources that could have been used in alleviating the misery of its poverty-stricken population, India is forced to use instead to buy weapons from the advanced industrialized nations to deter Pakistan from declaring and fighting one more of the Thousand Year jihads.
Being in a constant state of war with Pakistan is without doubt one of the reasons that India is miserably poor. I should hasten to add that it is not the only reason. Even without the existence of Pakistan, I am sure that some people would have figured out other ways of keeping India poor. And indeed they did. I have, for the same reason that it keeps India poor, opposed socialism and communism. But the Islamic specter haunting India is making the job that much harder. As the on-going conflict with Pakistan is religiously motivated — just like the partition of India was — I find it hard to evade the conclusion that India would have been much better off if it did not have to contend with Islam.
So now for the objections that prompted this essay. I agree that stupid people vandalizing property because of some offense they have taken is a matter of concern. But that is bad people doing bad things. None of the Indic ideologies (Jain, Buddhism, Hinduism) lend the least support to violence against people merely because of what they believe in or profess. I would worry about it but I would not lose my sleep over it. It is neither urgent nor important in the overall scheme of things. I could rant and rave about it but there are more pressing things that matter to me.
Which brings me to the point that I had made earlier in my response to Alpana in the previous post.
Alpana, it is a division of labor. You deal with what you consider to be the most pressing issues and I will do likewise. Our assessment will be different since we have different viewpoints. Besides, given that all tasks are not equally urgent or equally important, we have to prioritize and pick out battles. Complaining that I don’t balance out every instance of Islamic intolerance and terrorism I report on this blog with an instance of Bajrang Dal or Shiv Sena intolerance and mayhem is stupid at best. They are orders of magnitude different in their frequency and impact. And besides, like I have mentioned before, I am writing about a particular religious ideology and then illustrating the consequences of that ideology when it produces the natural result. Please feel free to do the same using your choice of religious ideology — I suggest Jainism as they are rarely taken to task and it has never been called a religion of peace. I am sure that you will have lots to write about Jain terrorism.
I know that I have a bias which reflects my personal history and upbringing. For instance, I am a non-Muslim and therefore my view of Islam is that of an outsider — an outsider whom Islam considers to be a little less than filth. As I was born to Hindu parents, I am a Hindu. As a Hindu I am quite familiar with the faults of Hindu society and I am critical of any bits of the ideology that is irrational and stupid. Fortunately, Hinduism is flexible enough that you can pick and choose the bits that appeal to you and reject the rest with nary a thought. For instance, I like the ideas behind the idols — the symbolic representation of the gods — even though I am not a theist.
Not only am I biased but I know that I am biased. I am not an impartial observer. I am partial towards rationality and reason. I don’t think tales of people rising from the dead and people flying off on their horses to the moon make any sense at all. Only those who don’t really understand what the world is clearly understood to be can entertain such idiotic notions. I think that anyone who seriously believes that the books that the monotheists follow were dictated by god — an omniscient eternal omnipotent being — is dumber than a doornail. Heck, those books are so full of nonsense and factual errors, that even a reasonably educated person living a thousand years before they were written would have known better. For instance, that the earth was a sphere was known since antiquity. Yet the authors of those books were clueless — they did not even have what is fairly common information. The so-called omniscient being apparent only knew what was known to ignorant desert nomads.
I have spent the last two hours writing this because I have had it up to here with the pseudo-secularists blaming the victims for the harm that is ideologically motivated and is unacceptable in a civilized society. I realize that it will not make me popular with that crowd because what I wrote will stick in their craw since they cannot factually refute any of the statements I made above. Their position is generally a fine mixture of illogic and ignorance — the antithesis of what I stand for. (It’s my blog. I can write this with only a hint of humor.)
So Ms Alpana, yes, India can break up in a civil war. It is quite possible. But to understand the likely cause, I would refer you to the previous break which was in the making for centuries but happened around 60 years ago. Examine the causes and it may give you a clue about the next one.
It’s all karma, neh? [Ridiculing Religious Insanity — Part 2.]
Here’s a post (Tragedy and Farce — Part 2) from Dec 2008 which I wrote following the Islamic terrorist attacks in Mumbai starting Nov 26th.
In the ultimate analysis, ideas matter. Ideas are what distinguishes humans from all known forms of terrestial living beings. The differences one observes in the development of various societies ultimately boil down to the set of ideas that a society developes, borrows, adopts, adapts, and uses. Ideas as embodied in the institutions and mores of society ultimately dictate how prosperous it is. A set of ideas that persist and pervade the collective consciousness of a society can be called an ideology. After controlling for all other factors such as natural endowments and accidents of history, the state of development and prospects of growth of a society (and therefore its economy) are fundamentally and inextricably tied to the dominant ideology of that society.
Ideologies that deny humans freedom are not consistent with development. The world has seen many totalitarian ideologies and witnessed their eventual and inevitable passing. That is not surprising because totalitarian ideologies are weak in the evolutionary sense: they cannot compete against ideologies that admit the ultimate force in human societies — human freedom.
Islam is a totalitarian ideology. It literally means submission and that submission is to a man who lived in 7th century Arabia and who determined that all have to submit to the will of his god, Allah, and that he was the one who was entrusted with the task of conveying the wishes of his god for the rest of humanity for all times and all places. As an ideology, it is inimical to humanity’s primal drive: freedom from dictation from above. As far as it goes, Islam was a perfect instrument for winning in tribal conflicts of 7th century Arabia. But the world is temporally and spatially much bigger than 7th century Arabia. Islam’s ideology cannot win in a globalized world, a world where the fittest ideas survive in a battle of competiting ideas and ideologies. Any ideology that has to resort to violence to maintain itself merely demonstrates its weakness and its days are ultimately limited.
Empirical and analytical evidence abounds with regard to the developmentally harmful effects of Islam. As an explanatory factor for underdevelopment and retarded growth, Islam is significant. Most of the Islamic majority economies are far behind in most indicators of human development. Even those Islamic states that have immense natural endowments such as oil and natural gas — and they earn hundreds of billions of dollars annually in exporting them — even they lag behind other states that are not so fortunately endowed. This is not conjecture or mere prejudice. Even a cursory reading of the present state of Islamic states reveals that fact.
The Arab world, overwhelmingly Islamic, has not contributed in any significant way to the modern world in terms of discovery, invention, production of art, advances in the sciences and humanities. It surely must be remarkable that Jews — vanishingly small in number relative to Arabs — have contributed astonishingly to technology, sciences, arts and humanities. Evidence is everywhere but just look at the number of Nobel prizes won by the Jews. Why?
The prime minister of India, echoing the reports of many committees, has noted quite rightly that Muslims of India are on average poorer, less educated, less skilled and generally do poorly in many generally accepted indicators of social development compared to non-muslims in India. That is not a badge of honor even though it is apparently proudly worn by some to claim that they are discriminated against by non-muslims.
The claim is that they are victims and therefore they are entitled to not only income transfers but also get a free pass for any transgression against basic human values. Not given to critical self-examination, the fault is always of the other. Proudly wearing the cloak of the victim, they cannot do any wrong. Predictably, after every act of Islamic terrorism, the so-called “intellectuals” and opinion-makers emerge with a ready-made explanation: Islamic terrorism is a response to poverty.
That is an untenable explanation. India has a large number of poor Muslims. But then it also has a much larger non-muslim population which is in the same economically dire straits. Why aren’t these non-muslims using terrorism as an instrument of influencing public policy? Since Kashmir is a favorite example trotted out dutifully in the explanation of random Islamic violence in India, how does one explain the total lack of terrorism by non-muslims who were driven out of Kashmir and are huddled in pathetic refugee camps for decades? Why aren’t poor Biharis terrorising India in their attempt to secure economic justice from the rest? What about the dalits and the other downtrodden? Why?
Every act of Islamic terrorism currently undertaken in justified on two incidents: Godhra riots and Babri masjid. Anyone will grant that destroying a mosque is damnable; and so are the roits that killed innocent Muslims and Hindus following the Islamic terrorism of burning innocents on a train. But how long can every act of Islamic terrorism be justified on those two incidents?
Here’s a bit from the most recent act of Islamic terrorism as reported in The Wall Street Journal:
On the 20th floor, the gunmen shoved the group out of the stairwell. They lined up the 13 men and three women and lifted their weapons. “Why are you doing this to us?” a man called out. “We haven’t done anything to you.”
“Remember Babri Masjid?” one of the gunmen shouted, referring to a 16th-century mosque built by India’s first Mughal Muslim emperor and destroyed by Hindu radicals in 1992.
“Remember Godhra?” the second attacker asked, a reference to the town in the Indian state of Gujarat where religious rioting that evolved into an anti-Muslim pogrom began in 2002.
“We are Turkish. We are Muslim,” someone in the group screamed. One of the gunmen motioned for two Turks in the group to step aside.
Then they pointed their weapons at the rest and squeezed the triggers.
They left a pile of dead bodies. Like they always do. But then can Godhra and Babri masjid be used to justify the thousands of temples that were destroyed in India over the last thousand years? Can they be used to justify the killing by the millions that Islam unleased on non-muslims in India over the centuries? Are there any statutes of limitation on the revenge that will be extracted for these two acts? When will be non-muslims in India finally have paid fully in terms of innocent blood, sweat and tears for these two acts of wanton violence and destruction?
I am far from done on this line of enquiry. But before I close this post, two additional points. First, the concluding paragraphs from an opinion piece (Is Yoga Bad for You?) by a Pakistani commentator, Irfan Hussain, writing in The Dawn commenting on the outcome of the lastest spectacular episode of Islamic terrorism:
Whatever the reason, such desperate and ultimately futile measures only serve to further marginalise Muslims. Already viewed as a backward community by much of the world, Muslims risk withdrawing from the rest of mankind at a time when globalisation is breaking down barriers at a frenzied pace.
In India, Muslim ulema have won the right to dominate women as a religious right. This exemption was granted to them by a secular Congress Party. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban and their supporters want to ban music, movies and even kite-flying. When the Taliban were in power, they had banned education for girls, and had denied women medical care from male doctors. Where will this madness end?
It will end if and when Muslims decide that enough is enough, and that they do not want to live in the sixth century. Unfortunately, there is much confusion in the Islamic world, with the result that uneducated mullahs issue half-baked edicts on everything under the sun, and ordinary people, unsure of themselves, pay lip service to these teachings.
Millions in the Islamic world have convinced themselves that their current weakness has been caused by the West. If they examine the causes for their backwardness more closely, they will discover that they lie much closer to home than they would like to admit.
Irfan Hussain leaves the reader to make up his or her own mind on the ultimate cause of the distress of Muslims in India and around the world. I am convinced that it is Islam. Muslims, in my opinion, are also victims of Islam as much as the rest of the world. That is the unvarnished truth and in all likelihood expressing that view publicly is not too good for my health. It is just an opinion but in today’s world, it is not safe to do so. This is significant. I can voice my opinion on what’s wrong with capitalism, or socialism, or communism, or nazism, or whathaveyou and people who disagree with me will call me all sorts of unkind names but only Islam will call for my beheading. Which brings me to the other point that I want to make before I conclude this piece.
Islam does not allow dissent — not just to its own adherents but also to non-muslims. Its supremacist and triumphalist doctrine essentially says that it has to subjugate the rest of humanity eventually, and if that means the total and complete annihilation of the non-muslims, so be it.
In the estimation of Islam, I am an idolator and therefore have to be killed merely because I refuse to bow my head in submission to Islam. I am guilty a priori. By my mere refusal to submist to Islam, I am the enemy. I, along with the rest of the non-muslim world, am guilty and therefore my destruction is ordained by the divine edict of the Islamic god Allah.
But as I said before, to me it appears that Muslims are as much the victims of Islam as the rest of the non-muslim world. (Some wit noted that Pakistan is a victim of Islamic terrorism; the first to die in a suicide bombing is a Pakistani.) I am not against Muslims for the simple reason that I have nothing againt random people I have never met. I can only like or dislike people for what they have done to me, not just because they subscribe to some ideas or ideology, however kooky and senseless it may be. Islam divides creation between two opposing and warring factions: the Muslims and non-muslims. I don’t. It is just unfortunate that I — an idolator — am categorized as an enemy of Muslims but I am not. As an average human being, I could not be bothered to go out seeking Muslims to kill.
And that is the point: non-muslims don’t wish any harm to Muslims merely because Muslims believe in Allah. But Islam does declare in no uncertain terms what Muslims are required to do to infidels. Hindus — such as yours truly — are not even classified as dhimmis — those who can buy protection from their Muslim overlords because they are the “people of the book.” I am to be killed outright if I refuse to submit to Islam.
Islam is a failed ideology, just like communism and nazism. The surest sign that it is failing is that it resorts to mindless violence against humanity, just as nazism and communism did. They have been consigned to the dustbin of history and so will Islam — soon.
To the candle burners: there’s illumination required where the sun doesn’t shine. Stick them up there please.