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The World Awaits a Muslim Response | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It would be a resounding message to the Islamic world if the investigations confirm that the Mumbai massacre was carried out by a Pakistani organization championing the Kashmiri separatist movement. But the Islamic world also requires a more important answer. The Islamic world demands that a firm stance be taken on the Kashmiri issue, regardless of whether the investigation confirms direct or indirect involvement of separatist groups in the attack. Personally, I do not think there is any need or significance in supporting rebel factions seeking independence for Kashmir from India.

Kashmir is a part of India with a Muslim community that must obtain its rights as a political entity equally and justly within the institutional framework of democratic India. This is an “approach” that grants justice and equality to all citizens. The Muslim presence in India did not spring up from nowhere; Muslims have lived, thrived, and integrated in this region for hundreds of years. India has given birth to some of the most important Muslim scholars who have had significant influence in Islamic jurisprudence in particular, most prominently Abu Hassan al Nadawi, whose scientific legacy has led to India becoming one of the most important centres for research in the Sunnah [Prophetic traditions] today. Moreover, it is home to the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, one of the most important and successful Muslim missionary movements in the world.

It is dangerous for Muslims all over the world to follow these “plans for land” and insist on independence, isolating themselves from their own communities. Will this happen one day in Hyderabad, the Indian city with the largest Muslim population or in Birmingham in the UK, which has experienced a significant growth in its Muslim population?

It is ridiculous, and a waste of time, money, and blood. Muslims should worship God no matter where they are, to strive and obtain the rights to freely practice their religion away from political slogans and the waving of separatist flags. Otherwise what is the difference between them and the militant racist schemes of Zionism in Israel, or the old apartheid of South Africa?

I am fully aware that such talk is “unwelcome” and will result in the defamation of this article and the author but this is not important; what is important is to prevent Muslims from “entangling” themselves in political separatist movements that have their own agenda and are supported by people with wider interests and far-reaching influence.

The Pakistani model confirms this. The Pakistani “Muslims” accomplished their sought-after independence from India only to transform their country into a prison of corruption and tribal conflict and now there is hostility between adherents of the “same religion” amongst the people of Baluchistan, the Sindh, and the Punjab. As a result, the country’s human and natural resources fall prey to this senseless hostility.

India is demanding real and comprehensive integration of its 150 million Muslims, and to not let the opportunity to gain the same rights as other communities pass them by. The Indian Muslim community has fewer rights than others, and this was supported by the former extremist Hindu government that was removed from power after the last elections.

There needs to be a decisive and clear position against the Kashmiri separatist movement. It will be a new but necessary Islamic message to the world. The Islamic religion is one of worship, morality, and coexistence, and must not be exploited by those who plot to gain land and create political slogans. It is not enough to write articles and attend marches; the world is now waiting for the Muslims to follow a different approach.