Saturday, August 04, 2007

Poor, oppressed Muslims. No, really!

cross-posted at Protein Wisdom

So I was getting my fill of the daily Jihad over at TROP one day, and started wondering, could there possibly be another side to this? Are there really Muslims who are as despised and persecuted as well-heeled First World Muslim advocacy groups claim that they themselves are? (I exclude Palestinians, since a) their woes are all self-inflicted; b)I remember what a horror-show they turned beautiful, sophisticated Lebanon into in the 70s; c) their hands have been purple and smoking with the blood of Jews and Americans for as long as I can remember, and they recently voted for a gang of killers who promised much more of the same. So, off to the nth power, they should feel free to sod.)

After clicking around, I'd say it's very hard to argue that the Muslims of Gujarat, in western India, have deserved the outrages visited upon them five years ago. Short version: a train of Hindu pilgrims was set on fire, and in retaliation, and with the connivance of authorities in certain precincts, entire neighborhoods of Muslims were wiped out. A Hindu filmmaker, Rakesh Sharma, made a documentary about the atrocity, the chilling conclusion of which is here. On his blog, he tartly responds to non-resident Indians who protest screenings of the film in the U.S. :
"What about the burnt train", thunders a Gujarati NRI, "what happened was a reaction to Godhra". I pose a counter question - " Do you think post-911, every New Yorker should have gone out to on the streets to rape any Muslim woman, murder Muslim babies and kill old and young men? That New Yorkers should have burnt all Muslim cafes and shops, set fire to Muslim homes and that the NYPD should've helped them do it? That mobs led by local politicians should have ruled the streets of New York in the same way they did in Gujarat?" Like a proud American citizen, he recoils and says no.

So, why should Hindus and Muslims battering each other matter to the war on terror? They've only been at it since the 13th century or so. But the matter isn't as localized as it may at first seem. In Edward Luce's excellent new book In Spite of the Gods: the strange rise of modern India, we learn that, while many individual young Hindu volunteers did come to Gujarat to try to help the refugees, the Hindu ultra-nationalist dominated state government pretty much let the victims fester where they fell. There was no institution to turn to--except for Saudi relief agencies. And we all know what baggage comes along with their help.

So, consider: all the al-Qaeda that have been bagged overseas have been Saudi, Paki, British, Jordanian, and etc., but not so much from India. If that changes, if we start seeing Indian Muslims on the battlefields of The Jihad, we can in part thank the BJP and RSS parties of India, as short-sighted as they are bigoted. Let's hope those Indians involved in the Glasgow airport bombing were anomalies, rather than trend-setters.

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