Thursday, February 19, 2009

Doing what is right

How often have you seen this picture in the media?? Look at their boards. Not what you expected??

One of my fundamental beliefs in the world of aid and global development and peace and unity is that change will NOT happen unless it comes from within (this applies to people on a personal level too). Indians need to take responsibility for their own and help develop their country; Africans need to do the same with Africa; and Americans need to do the same with America. Don't like what's going on in your community?? Then find a way to fix it!

Its why I am so proud of the Indian muslims for making a silent, public statement about their religion. During the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai when several innocent people were slaughtered by terrorists who were doing their "jihad" in the name of Islam, the Indian muslim community vocally supported the innocent victims and stood behind their core religious values of tolerance and love. For anyone who is angry with Islam, go read the Holy Koran. There are pages and pages about love and peace and unity, yet the terrorists and the media never focus on them. The real muslims need to come out and show the world what their religion is really about.

Now their voices are even louder, and I want to thank Tom Friedman of the NYTimes for highlighting this story. To date, none of these so-called "martyrs" of this terrorist plot have been afforded a proper burial.

All nine are still in the morgue because the leadership of India's Muslim community has called them by their real name - "murderers" not "martyrs" - and is refusing to allow them to be buried in the main Muslim cemetery of Mumbai, the 7.5-acre Bada Kabrastan graveyard, run by the Muslim Jama Masjid Trust.

"People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim," Hanif Nalkhande, a spokesman for the trust, told The Times of London. Eventually, one assumes, they will have to be buried, but the Mumbai Muslims remain defiant.

"Indian Muslims are proud of being both Indian and Muslim, and the Mumbai terrorism was a war against both India and Islam," explained M.J. Akbar, the Indian-Muslim editor of Covert, an Indian investigative journal. "Terrorism has no place in Islamic doctrine. The Koranic term for the killing of innocents is 'fasad.' Terrorists are fasadis, not jihadis. In a beautiful verse, the Koran says that the killing of an innocent is akin to slaying the whole community. Since the ... terrorists were neither Indian nor true Muslims, they had no right to an Islamic burial in an Indian Muslim cemetery."

I'm proud of the Indian muslims, particularly the Mumbai muslim community, for doing what is right. It is quite often, very hard to do what is right. Doing this, has made the Indian muslims vulnerable to threats and every kind of low-level mediocrity that their lesser "brothers" will use against them; and more so, in a country where they are a significant minority. But they've stood up and stood loud. And as a human being, that makes me proud!

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