It is strange that there is a summon for “us” to think about the religious minorities in Islamic theocratic states like Afghanistan. When the Parliament of India enacted a law amending the Citizen Act, to provide a pathway for minority Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Parsis, in these lands ruled by medieval laws, to obtain Indian citizenship, there was an anguished howl of protests and condemnation from the usual suspects including “eminent scholars from India and the West.” A carefully cultivated fear campaign the Indian Muslims were to be denied their citizenship spread across the land like wildfire. Of course, riots ensured and people were killed.
When educated Muslims tried to calm the fear by assuring their fellow believers that the law had not a word to say about the status of Indian Muslims, they too were targeted as traitors. Now the truth is known and all those who were known participants in the fear campaign and riots have slithered back into their lairs, still without any shame waiting for another issue to resume their treachery. Scaremongering being what it is in India they may not have to wait too long.
When I criticized Christopher Ram who was also part of the hysteria in a letter which I think was carried by your outlet for completely getting the Citizen Amendment Act wrong, one person was so upset that he reported on several occasions he wanted to “vomit.”
I wish to examine one other point raised in the mail. We are told that “Devanand Bhagwan and Charles are Christians – their religion commands then to WITNESS for Christ,- a basic tenet of their Faith.” (My highlight) Truly speaking this is a very scary argument to advance. When you examine the course of human history it is easy to see the ocean of human blood spilled in the name of believers following the commands of religion. You will obviously see how dangerous this “witnessing” is.
The Christians who started the Crusades that slaughtered millions of unbelievers in one of the worst bloodbaths known in human history were following religious commands.
The churchmen who burned helpless women witches which was a virtual entertainment exercise in Christian history were following religious commands.
The Christians who invented the horrors of the Inquisition and killed a countless number of “heretics” in Europe and South America were following religious commands.
The Muslim men who flew planes into the Twin Towers not so long ago by their own admission were following religious commands.
The suicide bombers of the London underground were following religious commands.
Those who sawed off the heads of unbelievers which they proudly and gleefully displayed were by their own admission following religious commands.
The Muslim men who attacked the Indian parliament were following religious commands.
And those who masterminded the Mumbai attacks and murdered scores of peop[le were following religious commands.
The Islam terrorist group that attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was following religious commands.
John Chau who broke Indian laws and bribed fishermen to take him to the Sentinelese tribe was following religious commands. He went there to WITNESS, to TESTIFY, to PROCLAIM.
So to speak so glibly about men following the commands of their religion as if it is an inherent virtue is utterly mindless and downright stupid.
Every Christian act of WITNESSING has as its ultimate and only goal CONVERSION.
The least, the very least we ask for is the right to examine the witness, and when we exercise this right see how we are demonised. It is a risk I am prepared for.
By Swami Aksharananda