Condemning assault on Taslima Nasreen

Syed Ali Mujtaba,

Let me first condemn the assault on anti- Islam writer Taslima Nasreen. The label attributed on her being a Muslim reformist writer is a misnomer. Such pretensions should be unmasked dealing with characters like Miss Nasreen. She is not the first writer that comes under the bracket of anti- Islam writer. Such writers have started surfacing in Europe since 15th and 16th century. As Islam spread across the globe the tribe of such writers grew in number. So there is nothing new about Ms Nasreen’s action. She should be approached with this position and none should get trapped in her Islamic name that’s just an illusion.

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Having said that, I must condemn those who tried to assault Ms Nasreen. This is not the way a true Muslim would conduct against those who denigrate their faith. The stories of Prophet of Islam dealing with such people are perfect example to emulate. The messenger of Islam never hit any one who abused his religion. So the over zealous followers of Islam who tried assault this anti- Islam writer has not done any service to the religion. They rather discredited it of being an intolerant faith. In this universe there is enough space for those who follow Islam and also those who abuse it.

Now let me make some quick moral points. To me the duty of respecting the religious beliefs of others overrides the privileges of freedom of expression. This is simply because human dignity and respect should be the corner stone of all of human actions.

The liberal and inconsiderate body of literature that inflict deep wounds in the hearts and minds of millions of people can not be justified as a right to freedom of expression.

The above position does not stand true for the Islamic faith alone but also for the believers of other religious faiths.

It would be highly offensive for a Brahmin to applaud a cartoon that shows a group of Brahmins having roast beef for dinner.

Likewise it would be terribly repugnant for a liberal to appreciate the cartoon that shows the Taliban being honored for blowing up the statue of Buddha.

An expression that denigrate, dehumanize and deny the historical reality of some ones religious belief can not pass as a right to freedom of expression.

The human society as it moves on its infinite journey continues to grapple with the finality of such issues. The clash between the follower of a faith and those who abuse it is nothing new. The final judgment on such issues could never be pronounced. Let us hope and pray that a civilized society emerges where our conscience will allow us to recognize the fine line between expressing ourselves freely without hurting others.

An after thought to this episode I wish to add that I have worked as a reporter for three years in Hyderabad. I can locate the places in the twin city and i realize that the press club in Hyderabad is very close to a police station. Its about two kilometers from “lakri ka pool” the police control headquarter of the city.

Why the organizers did not made adequate security arrangement before conducting a function like this. I am sure they know fully well that their city has a sizable Muslim population and they have their sensitivity towards this author. Why the organizers did not make enough security arrangement to check unwanted people coming to their function.

Why such people were allowed to enter their premise in the first place. It makes me to speculate that this could be part of a set piece devised by the author and the organizers to gain publicity and mileage through this function. They must have anticipated this may snowball in this way and once that happen and actually that happened Taslima would be in the limelight once again.

The 24×7 electronic media is going bonkers. They have got action packed juicy visuals and they are playing it over and over again. The author has scored maligning Islam and its followers once again. Well in doubt I trust.

The author is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at [email protected]