The preamble to UNESCO’s Constitution says: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be erected. A man is the sum total of the ideas, behaviors and values he collects. Values are the beliefs he holds to be true. These values are maintained by parents, family, peer groups, religion and society.
A study indicates that we are guided and dictated more by religion than anything else in the world. Religious values teach us how to live a life and what to do and what not to do. It is a worldview that answers the fundamental questions of life and its purposes. Interestingly, it also suggests the nature of the relationships a person has with his co-religionist and with people of another religion. There have been wars to prove that one religion is better than another.
Islamist fundamentalism is an extremist brand that targets a man’s “mind” and dictates his cognitive, emotional and intellectual processes. He makes believe in a single belief system that he follows; other religions are false, he is told. This creates a worldview that is very rigid and inflexible.
There’s nothing wrong with preparing someone for the religion you were born into. The problem begins when he is given only one way of thinking and is prepared not only to defend his religion but to ensure that others – derisively called infidels or kafirs — also follow his religion or perish. Also, he is prepared that his religion is supreme and all other religions are inferior and it is his basic religious duty to convert others to Islam or fight with them. His sole purpose in life is to defend and propagate his religion. Instead of being a rationalist, he turns out to be a fundamentalist.
This education in an environment of hatred of the other and of “us” against “them” captures the subconscious mind of a young child kept in a rigid Islamist environment. He is used to thinking in a particular way. His loyalty first and foremost to Islam supersedes his other loyalties – to the nation or the Constitution. For him, his religious laws are above the laws of the nation or the rule of law. When he grows up, bubbling with Islamist fervor, he becomes a tool in the hands of a manipulative religious leader. He can tolerate neither the good values of other religions nor the bad values of Islam. For him, anything that goes against the indoctrinated Islamist value is blasphemy. He may go so far as to kill anyone he feels has dared to expose the evils of his belief system.
He becomes a hatemonger and just needs a spark. He picks up stones when he sees “others” celebrating their religion in their own way. He finds it hard to tolerate the other way of life and begins to believe that his religious duty requires him to do something to file his protest. For this, he is not even averse to taking lives. He picks up everything at his disposal to use as a weapon to murder anyone he thinks is an infidel. He is ready for Sar Dhar Se Judah.
The goal of a fundamentalist Islamist is to impose the principles of Islam on the whole world, that is, the Islamization of the world. In India, the goal of this group is the Islamization of India.
Islamic fundamentalism is a global phenomenon. The goal of this movement is to return to the “original” principles of Islam as they were followed in seventh-century Arabia. The dangerous part of this philosophy is that it enjoins the Islamist believer to convert all other non-believers to Islam by force, violence and power.
Everything that happened in Udaipur is the work of the same exclusivist mindset which considers coexistence with people of other faiths as a hateful idea.
The author is a freelance columnist. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.
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