OPINION

What Should be Done With Taslima Nasrin?

November 28, 2007
Mike Ghouse

When it comes to intolerance the people who understand their religion the least have the loudest voices. Their narrow minded Fatwas and their recent harassment of Ms. Nasreen in Hyderabad have earned her sympathizers, some sincere, but many such as the BJP Party are out to make political capital out of it.The first mistake the extremists made was to issue a Fatwa against Taslima Nasrin for her statements that did not go well with the fundamentalists. "She told the Muslim women to burn the Burqa" as if she will start wearing a skirt if a westerner says "Burn the Saree, it is a sign of backwardness".  

Neither is a sign of backwardness, it is a culture that has evolved and no one will drop what they are used to on the sound of a word 'drop'. In a democracy, people should have the freedom to speak; the best way to combat a bad idea is to offer good ideas to compete.

The second mistake the rioters made is that they did not follow their own religion. God advises in Sura 109 that when you present the word of God to the other, they may deny it, let them know that what they worship is not what you worship and at the end leave the conversation in good taste by saying 109:6 "unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!" They should have left her alone as there is no compulsion in matters of faith. What she believes is her belief.

The third mistake they made is violating the example of the Prophet. When he was traveling from Mecca to Taif, he was pelted with stones, he was bleeding, and at that time his associates and the Angel Gabriel were anxious to punish the miscreants. The prophet stopped them and said something to this effect. Let's not punish them, it is not the answer; instead let's pray that God may help them with Good will. All that was needed to calm Taslima Nasrin was to ignore her, pray for her and let her do what she wanted to do. Instead, those who want to destroy Ms. Nasreen in the misused name of their own religion help to build her up.  

The fourth mistake they made was in Hyderabad, where they threatened her life and nearly assaulted her, against the law of religion

 The fifth and a major mistake they made was not to have a debate with her on the issues. They did not have enough faith in their culture or religion to debate. Taslima would have easily lost in a debate from a few intellectuals and most likely she would not have gone on the attack binge.  

Now, let's turn the tables. Taslima Nasrin has gone through personal tragedies in her life, several women in the Sub-continent are abused, ordered and compelled to obey, be it a Muslim, Hindu or any family. Women in our society (all religions included) are to "listen" or "obey" their father and then husband. There is not much freedom for most women in our society, Taslima is no exception. She is raging with anger, instead of directing her anger at her perpetrators; she is directing at her religion and wing-dinging the responses from a few of her fellow religionists. It is unproductive. The Government of  Andhra Pradesh should have asked the MLA's to resign when they threatened to kill her, the government of UP should have arrested the zealot who had offered a bounty for killing her. The Indian Penal code would be sufficed to arrest them and put them through the legal system until they apologize. In addition we need to bring to the front what Qur'an tells about their attitudes "To kill a single life is like killing the whole humanity". It is not late now to go back and charge them. In a civil society, we need to punish the ones that mess up other people's lives, so others don't repeat it.

What should be done with Taslima Nasrin?

First, she needs to be given political asylum as a death threat looms for her in her native country. We have made other mistakes but that does not mean we should not do a few things right. We are a pluralistic democracy, and we should allow dissent and free debates as a part of education and learning. Second, to remove the eternal threat against her life for the stand she takes, she needs to be engaged in debates with liberal, conservative and middle of the line Muslims scholars. If she is wrong, she will accept it and will not have a face to be hateful anymore, on the other hand, if she has grievances, lets study them and figure out the answers. Most likely it is a personal and not a religious issue.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, interfaith, Islam, India, Multiculturism, Terrorism, Peace, Politics and Civic issues. He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry of the Memnosyne Foundation, and presides the Foundation for Pluralism a He is the president of World Muslim Congress a think tank with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world and vice-Versa. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. Mike's Profile, he is a Neighborhood Commissioner at the City of Carrollton, and a Board Member of Dallas Peace Center and has initiated the annual events like Thanksgiving, Unity Day USA, Holocaust and other events. He was Past President of Indian Creek HOA and North Texas Cricket Association and has been a member of several Boards.
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#1
Sanjay
November 28, 2007
03:04 AM

Hahaha! The crucial issue here is the Congress and the Left's blatant betrayal of secular principles, which they disingenuously claim to uphold -- but Mike Ghouse wants to portray things as really being about the BJP wanting to make political capital. I think it shows what Mike's priorities are. Anti-BJPism as a political ideology. What crap.

Again, the Shylock-baiting of the Left holds that the evil Hindooo Shylock must be feared above all else. So let's not let the wrong-doing of others distract our focus from the central evil of Shylock.

What a pile of garbage.

#2
free_kafir
November 28, 2007
03:30 AM

BJP came into picture on 23nd Nov 2007.

Yes,just 4 days from now they had ever commented on Taslima issue.
When when did Taslima wrote novels,kicked from Bangadesh,got visa in India,attached in Hyderabad??????????????????

#3
kerty
November 28, 2007
05:41 AM

You didn't expect BJP to remain mute when all parties who thump secularism have abandoned Taslima to be devoured by Islamic fundies? Why focus on what BJP is doing when you should be focussing on what other parties should be doing and what Islamic fudies should not be doing in India? "go to sleep or else gabbar will come", in this case BJP will take political mileage, is too filmy in an otherwise reasonable piece you have written here.

The problem with selectively quoting Koran verses to show moderate and liberal face of Islam is that for every verse one can quote, one can quote dozen verses that exhorts just the opposite. Islamic fundies know their koran and they are not wrong in their interpretations.

Your defense that all religions treat women in same manner is no excuse for Islam to treat them as such. All other religions have vocal critics who pound them about treatment of women and they get to exercise their freedom in India, what is wrong with having them in Islam? We know of no other religion that keeps its women in Burkha and Hijab. There can be no excuse for that. Moslems have to modernize themselves or else they can only blame themselves for their backwardness.

#4
razorMirage
November 28, 2007
04:15 PM

Mike Ghouse....[edited]

What is the meaning of the title.
"What Should be Done With Taslima Nasrin?"
What do you mean by that.
It looks like you want to kill, rape in your koranic style.
Taslima is not a 'piece' or some object as you and your book believe.
Pls refrain from using those tiles and on larget picture pls treat woman like humans.

How is it like if some one says..
"What Should be Done With Mike Ghouse?".

#5
Mike Ghouse
URL
November 28, 2007
07:25 PM

It amazes me to see three comments above, they have failed to read the whole article and are hungup with the words. Please read it again;

1)Taslima is an issue, and the states of Bengal, Rajasthan and Delhi don't know what to do? Hence the title, what to do with Taslim Nasrin.

2)BJP was not the focus of the article at atll. It was mentioned about those who are taking advantage of the situation. BJP is not sincere in their support for Taslima, if they believed what is good for goose must be good for gander, they would have stood up for major crimes and disasters... they are merely doing to get a political mileage. It will back fire, as the you cannot fool Bhartiya Janata bar baar.

3)The extremists have been told they are wrong in this piece, and you guys, did not read it.

#6
kerty
November 28, 2007
10:58 PM

Mike..

If you don't like BJP to take political advantage of the situation, solution is simple, just don't create such situations and hand them on a platter to BJP. If no moslems and no other political parties are willing to step up to the plate and stand by Taslima, than BJP will gladly step in to do what moslems and other parties should have done in the first place. Taking on Islamic fundamentalists is BJP's forte, so why would it shy away from Taslima who is hounded by Islamic fundamentalists? It does not mean Taslima supports BJP's political program or that BJP supports views of Taslima - the support is always confined to a given issue and they will have many issues on which they will strongly disagree with each other. On some issues political parties will agree, on other issues, they will fight each other tooth and nail. That is how political arena works. BJP, like any other parties, may have its share of flaws and failings, but on this issue of Taslima, it is dead right. It is the only party that dares to stand by Taslima when all other parties are crawling before Islamic fanatics. BJP is the only party that can stand up to Islamic fundies and protect people from Islamic fundies. Moderate Moslems who do not want to submit to Islamic fundies should be able to enjoy protection and freedom in India - and that should be the political mandate of secular political parties. In absence of such parties, BJP will gladly step in to show that it is the only party that can protect people from terror of Islamic fundies while rest of parties will buckle down to appease Islamic fundies. BJP is handed the issue on a platter and it would be a political fool if it does not run with it. BJP will be out there to extract its pound of flesh every time secular parties try to get away by appeasing islamic fundies. Other parties will do the same to BJP when BJP falters. That is called politics of check and balances. Very healthy in a democracy. Its an alien subject for commies and Islamists and I don't expect them to grasp it.

#7
(a+b)^2
February 12, 2008
03:27 PM

Thought provoking and a well written article
The politicians and the fundamentalists eagerly wait for situations like these to get their milage going. It was lack of initiation from the middle line muslims to engage Ms Nasreen into some kind of a dialogue and convince her what she wrote was inappropriate.
I feel you have hit the right chord when you say that
"she needs to be engaged in debates with liberal, conservative and middle of the line Muslims scholars".

#8
Man Singh
URL
February 12, 2008
06:04 PM

Mr Mike,

Islam has tow faces and so are teachings of Quran. One face is when Mohammed was weak in Mecca and his whole compaign was funded by his rich wife Khadija. Mohammed acted like Budha and so were suras revealed during that time.

You all goodies goodies qotations from Quran belongs to that early phase of `Mohamed the weak'

But by preaching these Budha like humansitic teachings Mo could gather hardly 50-70 follwers in 10 years and these follwers were also mainly spoiled people kicked out of their home or some women who were helped by him.

But the moment he became strong, teachings changed, Suras changed and so was changed aggressiveness. The moment islamic state was formed, attitude towards pagans jews and christians changed and later revisions of suras were revealed.

Now Mr Mike you are using outdated suras of Mecca as reference belonging to Mohammed the weak which has been superseeded by Suras of Medina belonging to Mohamemd the boss.

Everybody knows that whenever there is a confusion, latest version of any codes, standards and documents are used. Older version is considered as superseeded by later.

Here is the collection of teachings of Mohammed of Mecca and Mohamemd of medina.

You can easyly decide based on cronology which is latest and applicable to Muslims.
Phase 1: Peaceful persuasion stage.
Highlights
A policy of peaceful co-existence with the pagans of Mecca.
Give and take strategy with the pagans and the hypocrites.
Jews and Christians (people of the Book) were considered as friends.
Mohammad was almost like the Buddha preaching love, forgiveness, non-violence, and peace.
Only the pagans of Mecca were considered as enemies (i.e. enemy list contains only one group).
Important verses
(Note: To save time and space I have given the main messages of the verses omitting the complete verses. )
1. Be patient and bear with those who deny the truth; God will deal with them...73:10, 11 (3)
2. 'To you is your religion, to me is mine'...109:1- 6 (8)
3. Be patient with the evil doers...38:15-17 (38)
4. Show patience to the pagans...20:130 (42)
5. Don't be in a haste to fight...19:83, 84 (44)
6. Be patient with the unbelievers (pagans); God's way will prevail...20:134, 135 (45)
7. Mohammad is not sent to dispose of people's affairs...17:54 (50)
8. God guides those whom He pleases; rewards will be in paradise...10:25, 26 (51)
9. God will call into account the pagans who slander the Qur'an...15:91-93 (54)
10. It is not God's job to see if people believe the truth or not...6:104 (55)
11. Turn away from those rejecting faith and proclaim peace on them...43:88, 89 (69)
12. Invite the unbelievers (pagans) with beautiful preaching and gracious arguments; be patient and do not retaliate...16:125, 126 (70)
13. Leave the unbelievers (pagans) alone...23:54 (74)
14. Repeal evil with good deeds...23:96 (74)
15. Leave the unbelievers alone and wait in patience for God to punish them...52:45, 47, 48 (76)
16. Mohammad is only a warner and not an enforcer...67:26 (77)

All teachings are so good and equated Mo as Budha.

Now look at Mohamed of Mecca when he became chief of bigh 10,000 army.
Phase 4: Offensive war or open declaration of attack to spread Islam
This phase is the stage of open offensive war against all the unbelievers. This phase started in 630 AD after Mohammad re-entered Mecca and captured Kaba from the pagans. This is the phase, which is currently valid for all Muslims.
Highlights
Permission was granted by God to declare offensive war against all non-Muslims.
Kill the pagans and humble the Jews and the Christians through Jizya tax.
Tabuk expedition (late 630 AD) is the first war against the Christians.
The world is divided into two houses, viz. House of Islam (Darul Islam) and the House of war (Darul Harb).
All Muslims must fight to convert the Darul Harb into Darul Islam.
This is the final teaching of Qur'an and so it is valid today and for future (that is, for eternity).
Christians are included in the list of enemies (that is, the list now grows to four).
Verse 9:5 (also called the verse of the sword) replaces all verses showing mercy, love, tolerance and forgiveness to all non-Muslims.
Important verses
1. Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable...3:85 (89)
2. Kill (execute by beheading)/crucify/torture who opposes Mohammad...5:33 (112)
3. Do not make friendship with the Jews and the Christians...5:51 (112)
4. After giving four months notice break all treaties with the pagans that they did not keep; those treaties with the pagans that they kept are to be honored to their full term; in future make no more peace treaties with the pagans and kill all pagans who do not accept Islam...9:1-6 (113)
5. Pagans who accept Islam are brothers of Muslims; those who break the agreement fight them...9:11, 12, 14, 15 (113)
6. Do not make friend or seek protection from the unbelievers (includes pagans, hypocrites, Jews and the Christians)...9:16 (113)
7. Unbelievers should not visit mosques or maintain the mosques of God; they will go to hell...9:17 (113)
8. Those who do Jihad are the highest in rank; they will dwell in paradise...9:19-22 (113)
9. The unbelievers are unclean, forbid them to enter Kaba...9:28 (113)
10. Fight against the Jews and the Christians until they are subdued and pay the Jizya tax with submission; God's curse is on them...9:29-31 (113)
11. If you do not fight in the cause of God with whatever you have got then God will punish you with a serious punishment...9:38, 39, 41 (113)
12. If you fight for God then expect either martyrdom or paradise. The unbelievers can expect only punishment from God...9:52 (113)
13. Those who are able to fight for God but do not do so are rejected by God...9:90-96 (113)
14. Whether you slay or slain in Jihad, God has promised paradise for giving all in the cause of God...9:111 (113)
15. Fight the unbelievers surrounding you...9:122 (113)
So, what do we learn from the above list of Quranic verses? Are you confused? Of course you are. When the Islamists in the west are drumming, "Islam is peace. Islam is tolerance. Islam is merciful" who will not be confused by such contradictory statements! Let me tell you something. Actually there is no confusion whatsoever if we follow the simple rule on abrogation.
This simple doctrine of abrogation says that when there are confusions (i.e. contradictory statements in Qur'an), the later verses abrogate the former contradictory verses. The result is that only the latest category of verses remains valid without any doubt. That is why it is so important to know the chronological order of verses in Qur'an.

Therefore Mullas threatening Tasleema Nasreen represent true latest version of Islam and they are doing exactly what tasleema deserve as per islamic law.

Mr Mike Muslims are 1.4 billion strong today. They are economic and militiryly powerful then India. they can eliminate Pagan hindus easyly.

Why should they follw Islam of Mecca preached by Mohamed the weak. They are follwing latest revelation by Mohammed the strong.

Think over it and do not declare me as enemy of islam immediately.

You have eliminate these last revelations of Quran if you want humanity to respect Mohamed as it does for Budha.

Are you ready to do that?
Are Muslims ready to do that?
Though there is no harm in it.

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