Let’s stop taking the bait: How Muslims should respond to provocative Issues

By Dr. Asma Anjum Khan for Twocircles.net

Triple Talaq, Beef, now Azaan. The more we respond, the more we engage with them, the more they succeed in creating an atmosphere, where it becomes easier for them to implement their agenda.

In the times like these, every day comes with a novel challenge.

Social media has made it possible that every man or woman who has an online account can express his/her opinion on numerous forums.  Earlier we would wonder what our aunt might be thinking about our latest shifting to a swank location or how our office mates and relations are reacting to our plans of visiting Turkey. No more, these worries. Just a click and the whole world and its myriad emotions [many times not so positive] is/are before our eyes. Eyes, which might do a roll at some comments made on our timeline.

Social media can and becomes a volcano bursting abruptly as some forgotten singer, an out of race cricketer or a Mahesh, Suresh or Rashid takes it as his right to express his not so critically important and not so scholarly opinions on the blazing issue of the day.

Provocations are huge and many, especially for the minorities. Hijab is their favorite issue to beat us with. Then naturally follows triple talaq, beef and  azaan. I am scared to even imagine the tomorrow. We see quick reactions on the issues of the day coming thick and fast. Wait, breathe deep and ponder, before you tweet. We need to be patient.

Especially in the heat and dust of our beloved country.

Our response should be mature and well-informed. The more we respond tit for tat in the heat of the moment and as brazenly as it was thrown at us, we are doomed and losing the battle, somewhere with our angry reactions.

Triple Talaq, Beef, now Azaan. The more we respond, the more we engage with them, the more they succeed in creating an atmosphere , where it becomes easier for them to implement their agenda.

Let’s Stop taking the Bait.

Don’t indulge! Just don’t indulge in such vicious debates which bring us nothing, give us nothing.

Take regular breaks from the internet. Stay away from Prime Time news on Indian television. This is a must. Read a book, visit a neighbor or just do nothing. But no bickering and arguing hot on the social media. You will be  playing a role , someone else assigns you. Without even you realizing , you may end up damaging your own cause.

But if you really decide to indulge, here are some tips. You may disagree, modify or just throw them out.

The first rule of engaging in any argument is to be civil. You getting angry means you are losing. Be calm and more than that be, very well informed. When it is said, Mughals looted the country, ask humbly, where did they take the money? Or better did they send it outside India for safekeeping? Nope. Not a single penny was sent outside, but spent here in this beautiful land. Read well before you embark on the mission of being the Saviour.  Social media though helpful in many regards, also gives us a pseudo satisfaction of doing something for and about an issue. We tweet about Akhlaque of Dadri or an unfortunate murder or rape victim and feel contented that we did our duty. Feeling thus fulfilled comes easy whenever online  but obviously it is not real. It tends to make us lethargic in our approach. We need to be among the real people at least some of the times to know and understand the ‘real’ situation and also if possible to chalk out ,our contribution, even if little towards resolving the issue at hand.  Sadly social media doesn’t allow for that and makes us mentally lazy.

After the storm on the stale singer Sonu Nigam’s outrageous comment on azaan, I saw some guys asking to give him dawah[ call to Islam] some others were asking to explain to him the beauty of azaan. Come on, folks, don’t be so naïve. He is only a stooge who is helping only himself, by vitiating the already tense communal atmosphere of our times. It’s also not about azaan or hijab or TT ,it’s about keeping some people, always on the back foot and engaged in useless rhetoric that ultimately results in further spoiling the essence of our composite culture.

Our screeching TV studios are  no help. They are literally adding fuel to the fire. Many of them invite some religious clergy who though well informed on religious issues are unable to satisfactorily tackle this particular media and deal with the shouting anchors and their co-participants. Dealing with today’s media be it television debates or social media activism is a different ballgame. You need to have that sort of mental toughness, suave and smart ways of the world to tackle and tickle the bones of contention while still being rational and able to hit the point home. Hit hard, if possible. There is no dearth of talent among our youngsters, let’s prepare them for this important job.

Time is witness To Indian Muslims having always been ever ready to accommodate and adjust with the arising situation. They won’t and don’t allow any breach of the law of the land. The supreme court guidelines on noise pollution or any other concerning issue, must be adhered to. But doing it selectively would be not without unpleasant repercussions and may raise the suspicions of bias.

(This article was first published in DailyO)

The author is a storyteller with a purpose. Her stories, essays and articles have been published in Indian and foreign magazines. Her day job is as a professor of English.