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Two Sets of Muslims in the World

Reader comment on item: Islamophobia?

Submitted by Rakshas 10 Anan (India), Dec 6, 2005 at 00:25

One group of Muslims, among the elite, are of a secular attitude, being well-assimilated in most cultures where they live, usually outside the extreme Mullah-driven xenophobic and misogynist Islamic countries. They limit their families just like all aspiring modern people anywhere, gain access to benefits of modern living, especially higher education, and enjoy the resulting benefits (as taxpayers) wherever that they may be. Some of them are genuine asylum seekers who have risked much on this adherence to modernisation.

In India, for example, the minority Muslim groups of Ismaili Khojas, Dawoodi Bohras (Shia) have distinctly charted their own course in departure from the more fundamentalist Sunni groupings. But even among the latter groups, access to education and development facilitates accomodation to modern modes of living in the context of globalisation.

Living outside the typical ghettos, their women are independent and educated professional or career women, and their daughters especially can be taken for similar young women from any cultural group. They privately follow Islamic injunctions to prayer and fasting, with limited religious contact with the Ummah on occasions of festivities.

However, the parents have little time to inculcate religious values at home, and there is community pressure to enroll their sons in religious classes in the madrassas from a very young age -- after regular school hours (in secular schools) -- and thus the potential for radicalisation and exposure to jihadi doctrine definitely exists among the younger generation.

These modern Muslims are not open to allowing the rule of Sharia' in their personal lives, nor do they welcome undue interference in their preferred lifestyles! A lot of them are closet drop outs from Islam. Yet for the women among them, marriage can alter this delicate and judicious balance and adjustment to modern and egalitarian living. The same women then begin easily sporting the hijab and burqa, spouting separative jihadi philosophy through indoctrination by their husbands, in-laws or neighbours.

This indicates that adoption of a non-Islamic and cooperative way of life is a matter of individual choice not supported by the community-as-a-whole. While it may be tolerated in one particular elitist milieu, it is seen to be wayward by the Ummah that is swayed by extremist dictat of the bearded mullahs. This other vast group of obscurantist Quran and Mullah-following Islamic Ummah chooses the path of arrogant negation of modernisation and annihilation for self and others.

It is in the globalising mixed societies like India that the possibility exists for the elite as well as the emerging middle class among the Muslims to taking recourse to secular laws and practices. They are capable of standing up to the challenge of Islamism in defense of their personal choices, leading to a resounding rout of religious extremism in their midst. [This is why terrorists continue to be exposed, although one successful hit can result in a severe setback to all modern Muslims, wherever they may be, in terms of arousing ire of the majority community, and being clubbed with the Islamofascists.]

Understanding these complexities, and creating the ground for support to this group of modernising Muslims and their assimilation to the broader humanitarian world can be a powerful way of defeating the mindless mobs going in the name of the Ummah. When the time of reckoning arrives, it will be these modern and secular (closet) Muslims, in their inherent decency, who will make the decisive difference in weakening the violent negativism of the mobs by standing apart to display their strength as moderates. The possibility exists, if special avenues are delineated for them to associate with allied humanity opposing the jihadi ideology of Islam. Its a delicate operation, but it can succeed well in the final crisis.

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