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From the Desk of Editor (02 Sep 2013 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Do knowledgeable Indian Muslims tacitly support Jamaat-e-Islami's bid for reprieve to Bangladesh's war criminals? Does this amount to treason or is it merely inhuman and un-Islamic?

By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

2 September 2013

Reacting to my statement in the recent brainstorming session New Age Islam Foundation had organised among some Sufi-minded Indian scholars, Muhammad Yunus Saheb shared the following thoughts with me in a personal letter but he allowed me to choose whether to share it with readers. So I am putting it below in this column for wider dissemination.

My comment: As far as I am concerned I continue to believe that by supporting the war criminals of Bangladesh who were involved in the killings of tens of thousands of innocent fellow Bengali Muslims Indian wing of Jamaat-e-Islami is revealing its anti-national, inhuman and un-Islamic character. Also, that by keeping quiet at Jamaat-e-Islami's public demonstration of its demonic face, the larger Indian Muslim community, certainly the knowledgeable among them, are participating in this treasonous, inhuman and un-Islamic act.

Let us not forget that we are talking here about mass murder, genocide of Muslims by fellow Muslim Army that should have been there to protect them and their religious leaders whose job it was to protect them rather than point them out to the marauders so they get killed.

 I know these are strong words, possibly revealing my own intolerance. But, be that as it may, I do have very strong feelings about what happened in Bangladesh. I will try briefly to explain why. Perhaps one should not tolerate everything

I was a college student in Patna in those days (1970-71) and had for the first time got acquainted with something called a newspaper, coming as I did from a village in Bihar with no concept of daily newspapers. The first news I read and kept reading day after day was about the killings of thousands at the hands of fellow Muslim countrymen. The then East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami's goons went on giving a list of Bangladesh's brains to the Pakistan Army soldiers to be eliminated. Colonies after colonies of Bangla intellectuals, academics, scientists, in particular, were liquidated in a bid to cripple what they must have known was an emerging country.

Let us recall the fact that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not even demanding independence from Pakistan to begin with. He and the then East Pakistanis merely wanted the implementation of the results of a free and fair election held under military rule. Call this my psychological problem, if you will, but I find it impossible to reconcile with the killers of fellow Muslim countrymen by a groups which calls itself the party of Islam.

And for Indian wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami to demand reprieve for these killers and war criminals I find treasonous as Indian governmental support for Bangla war of independence had national support and was a humanitarian demand to which we responded despite many odds, not the least being American alliance with Pakistan and its unforeseeable consequences for us. For the larger Muslim community, at least, the knowledgeable among us, to extend tacit support to this act of treason I find devastating.

Normally a group of citizens should have the right to differ with the government's policy and even a national consensus. But Indian Muslim support for war criminals in Bangladesh is mind-boggling. To me treacherous and unforgiveable. Obviously, Muhammad Yunus Saheb is not alone in disagreeing with me; Indian government agencies themselves do not agree with me, otherwise, all Jamaat-e-Islami members, at the very least those who came out on streets and gathered in a ground in Kolakata to demonstrate their support, would have been rounded up for treason. Obviously Indian intellectuals and media do not agree with me either, as I see despicable Muslim leaders and ulema from other groups including Sufi groups who have extended their tacit support to the Indian wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in this matter continue to be treated with respect. Magnanimity of the Indian elite or stupidity only time will tell. But I expressed what I felt and at least a few Muslims listened to me.

Some Sufi-minded scholars in our brainstorming session too suggested that we should behave as Sufi masters did, use the language of love. However, I don't think Sufi masters had the misfortune to face terrorists in the guise of Islamists. They were interacting with common masses. When they encountered Islamists they just got themselves killed. Language of love did not save them. I do not see any reasonable possibility of a rational dialogue with Jamaat-e-Islami. There are individuals in Jamaat-e-Islami you can talk to.  Some of them even leave the group on their own. Some top leaders left the group during Maulana Maududi's time too.

As I started my journalistic career working with Jamaat-e-Islami's magazine Radiance Viewsweekly in 1972, I still have some friends and they are very kind people, though no longer with the Jamaat. I had joined as a fresh graduate in English literature, with no idea whatsoever of what Jamaat-e-Islami was, but soon realised this was no place for any sane person to be at. Any group is a bunch of individuals with varying traits. But a group has its own identity and philosophy.

Jamaat-e-Islami has its own ideology. It believes that Islam is a totalitarian political philosophy out to conquer the world. As Maulana Maududi, its founder-ideologue said: "Islam wishes to do away with all states and governments which are opposed to the ideology and programme of lslam. ... Islam requires the earth - not just a portion, but the entire planet."

 I consider Islam a spiritual path to salvation and am grateful for God having created such a beautiful multicultural, multi-religious, multi-colour, plural world.  I want to co-exist with people of all hues in this world.

 I repeat, I do not see any reasonable possibility of Muslims like me having any rational dialogue with such fanatical people who are prepared to kill any number of innocent people including fellow citizens and fellow Muslims and interpret Islam whichever way suits their politics in their crazy bid to conquer the world for establishing their rule in the name of restoring God's sovereignty.

 I am glad Yunus Saheb, who is the strongest pillar of support for New Age Islam, expressed his disagreement with me and even allowed me to share this with New Age Islam readers. His letter follows:


Dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,

 I laud your effort to combat the ingress of extremism and radicalization in India. There is a pressing need for regeneration of Islamic thoughts and for a healthy debate among Muslim intellectuals on how best to integrate with the mainstream society in India as well as any Muslim minority countries. On my part I have done a number of researched articles on the theme, simply as a Muslim and a witness to humanity and I must thank New Age Islam for its support in getting some of them translated in different languages.


As it happens, humans cannot be above error. A sweeping remark hit my mental screen hard right in the beginning of the article and I feel, the article would have drawn greater admiration and would have been free from an obvious flaw, if that remark/ reference was omitted, from an otherwise compelling report.


1.      The article has this statement: “Indian wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami clearly showed its anti-national character as Bangladesh's war of Independence had been supported by India.”


My comment: Any political party has as much right to express dissent against a government policy as the British law makers against their Government’s proposed policy for military intervention in Syria. You must know that Jamaat Islami still has a good following at grass root levels in Bangladesh as much as the MB in Egypt and other Islamist parties in many, if not most Muslim countries. So an Islamist party’s taking out a procession resenting their secular/ liberal Government’s policy, cannot by any stretch of imagination be conflated with sedition or harboring anti-national feeling.


This only goes to show that a top notch Muslim journalist of international standing as you remains mentally conditioned by Hadith legacy as expounded in my latest article in these words:


“There is no tolerance and political space owing a closed mindset that does not admit of any fresh thinking and is singularly rigid and incapable to strike a deal with those on the opposite side, ready to invite the Superpowers for moral, material or military support against political rivals.”


The issue on hand is immensely more complex than Jamat-e Islami, India, exercising its democratic right (as it thinks appropriate) and its in inclusion as an element of argument brings across the truth of the following conclusive statement of my article:


“In one word, the typical Muslim society is riddled with so many tiers of divides that it remains perpetually locked in debates over past and contentious issues and fails to focus on serious issues in a logical, collective and cohesive manner – a legacy of the rigidity, scholasticism, divergence and contradictions that permeate the Hadith sciences."  


You can only learn if you allow people to disagree and think coolly and logically from the perspective of others. You have to win the Jamaat-e Islami, India by rational logic (fiqha) and not irrational logic as illustrated above.

You may post it or answer me directly.


Related article:

Sufi-Minded Islamic Scholars Brainstorm New Ways To Further New Age Islam Foundation's Multi-Dimensional Campaign Against Islamic Radicalism



URL for this article: http://www.newageislam.com/from-the-desk-of-editor/sultan-shahin,-editor,-new-age-islam/do-knowledgeable-indian-muslims-tacitly-support-jamaat-e-islami-s-bid-for-reprieve-to-bangladesh-s-war-criminals?-does-this-amount-to-treason-or-is-it-merely-inhuman-and-un-islamic?/d/13310



  • Identity is the most important thing in this: who you are more in a particular situation- an Indian or a Muslim or a Bengali or a Pakistani (west)? That is why identity politics is very dangerous. The person who is indulged in this loses himself, as if to say, he loses his"identity", his self and he becomes someone else. During the division of Pakistan, whose identity as a whole was of a Muslim state and when another group of Muslims, with a different set of identity focus i.e., on language (Bengali Vs Urdu) there was total chaos and confusion. I see 1971 in a very positive way for India. It reinforced India's position as a truly secular state. Proud to be an Indian. I wonder how many Muslims will say this, without adding "Muslim", i.e., he will not just say 'I am proud to be an Indian', most Muslims will say " I am proud to be an Indian Muslim' or 'I am proud to be a Muslim Indian' or he will merely say ' I am proud to be a Muslim'. Well hello, if religion has given so much to you, then your country is not far behind, both should run parallel. 
    By Harsh - 9/7/2013 5:01:01 AM

  • There Is No Source Of Happiness Other Than That In The Heart Of Man.

    By Hazrat Inayat Khan

    Bowl of Saki, September 5,

    Man seeks happiness in pleasure, in joy, but these are only shadows of happiness. The real happiness is in the heart of man. But man does not look for it. In order to find happiness, he seeks pleasure. Anything that is passing and anything that results in unhappiness is not happiness.

       from  http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VI/VI_3.htm

    In reality very few in this world know what happiness means. Pleasure is the shadow of happiness, for pleasure depends upon things outside ourselves; happiness comes from within ourselves. Happiness belongs to the heart quality; pleasure to the outer world. The distance between pleasure and happiness is as vast as that between earth and heaven. As long as the heart is not tuned to its proper pitch one will not be happy. That inner smile which shows itself in a man's expression, in his atmosphere, that belongs to happiness. If position were taken away and wealth were lost in the outer life, that inner happiness would not be taken away. And the smiling of the heart depends upon the tuning of the heart, the heart must be tuned to that pitch where it is living.

       from  http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VIIIa/VIIIa_4_4.htm

    There are a thousand excuses for unhappiness that the reasoning mind will make. But is even one of these excuses ever entirely correct? Do you think that if these people gained their desires they would be happy? If they possessed all, would that suffice? No, they would still find some excuse for unhappiness; all these excuses are only like covers over a man's eyes, for deep within is the yearning for the true happiness which none of these things can give. He who is really happy is happy everywhere, in a palace or in a cottage, in riches or in poverty, for he has discovered the fountain of happiness which is situated in his own heart. As long as a person has not found that fountain, nothing will give him real happiness.

       from  http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VI/VI_1.htm

    If there is any source from where one can get the direction on how to act in life, it is to be found in one's heart. The exercises of the Sufi help to get to the source where one can get the direction, the right direction, where there is a spark of the Spirit of Guidance. Those who care to be guided by the spirit, they are always guided, but those who know not whether such a spirit exists or does not exist, they wander through life as a wild horse in the woods, not knowing where it goes, why it runs, why it stands. It is a great pity to be thirsty and remain thirsty when the spring of fresh water is within one's reach. There can be no loss so great in life as having the spark glittering in one's heart and yet groping in the darkness through life.

       ~~~ "Sangatha II, Saluk: The Good Nature", by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

    In point of fact, whatever one makes of oneself, one becomes that. The source of happiness or unhappiness is all in man himself. When he is unaware of this, he is not able to arrange his life, but as he becomes more acquainted with this secret, he gains mastery, and the process by which this mastery is attained is the only fulfillment of the purpose of this life.

       from  http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/X/X_3_4.htm

    By Ji - 9/5/2013 4:59:01 AM

  • I agree with Author. Government must treat these organization as anti national. I think these organiation has no business to tell bangladesh court what they are expected to do.
    By satwa gunam - 9/3/2013 5:43:14 AM

  • Andrew Marr once said regarding Islam "The power of sword is strong- all fact; the power of faith is strong- new fact. When you combine the two you get the most potent force". It is actually not right to say this just because of the actions of the people. If by people's actions religion is to be judged then the same thing should also apply to Christianity after it became a state-religion when Emperor Constantine became a Christian. 
    I thank Mr Mohiyuddin for his fine comment. 
    If one keeps on repeating the sword-verses of the Quran then it will be ingrained in one's mind and one will think that this is the true Islam. To counter that we a) contextualize it and give it a frame of reference and b) we speak about the peace-verses, which are valid for eternity; unlike the sword-verses. 
    The Quran clearly says that there are only two criteria for violence: 1. "Fight those who fight you but commit no excesses" and 2. "fight those who have oppressed you and forced you out of your land". There is no where in the Quran which says that you have to dominate the world, in fact God says that if He had willed He could have made everyone follow one religion. This most emphatically shows the pluralistic dimension of Islam. 

    By Aiman Reyaz - 9/2/2013 7:07:41 PM

  • Dear Mr. Sultan Shahin,
    You must be aware that during the 1971 bangladesh war, every single muslim country supported Pakistan, including moderate non-aligned muslim countries like Indonesia and Egypt
    There is a caste system in muslim countries
    in which more arabised muslim countries are ranked above less arabised muslim countries..
    In Darfur, in Sudan, black muslims are killed in thousands by Arab muslims and not a peep from the muslim ummah
    In Mauretania, black muslims are enslaved by Arab muslims, without any protest
    Most muslim countries are dictatorships and supporting Mujibur Rehman who wanted election results to be enforced would be hypocritical on their own political systems
    And even in Bangladesh, the Jamaat-e-islami gets 10% of the vote
    Professor Naim, who writes in Outlook, has written on the role of the Indian muslim press during the 1971 war. 
    Per the Naim article, many sections of the Indian muslim press were treasonous during the 1971 war and the Indian political establishment got them arrested
    "Still later, after the war started in December, the editors of Nasheman(Bangalore), Da'wat (Delhi), Radiance (Delhi), Sangam (Patna), and the Jamiat Times (Delhi) were taken into custody under the Internal Security Act and held without trial for several weeks."
    "When an unequivocal condemnation of the Pakistani action was issued by Maulvi As'ad Madani, a Congressite Muslim, the Jamiat Times, for example, wrote this rejoinder (Delhi; 23 April 1971): "You don't know what brutalities were committed by the Bengalis against the non-Bengalis. You should ask the grieving relatives in Delhi. Destiny never forgives a tyrant." A similar opinion was expressed by Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani of Monghyr (Bihar) when he refused to sign the statement of condemnation circulated by Jayaprakash Narayan on behalf of the Insani Biradari. The Maulana said, "Why must you now condemn Pakistan when earlier you did not condemn India for communal riots? The Bengalis did more brutal things to the non-Bengalis." (Reported in the Jamiat Times of 11 June 1971.)"
    As opposed to such interpretations, a more dogmatic one was offered by a significant section of the Muslim press in India. According to this group, the crisis in East Bengal was a rebellion against a Muslim government and therefore reprehensible in terms of their interpretation of Islam. The learned editor of Sidq-i-Jadid (Lucknow), Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, wrote in the issue of 11 June 1971, that "the Islamism of Pakistan deserves little comment, yet the government there was after all a Muslim government, rebellion against which cannot be forgiven." He maintained this stance even a year later. "Pakistan is after all a Muslim state," he wrote, "like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Those who rebel against it are to be condemned as are all those who rebel against a Muslim state. This is a shar'i fact which cannot be glossed over by using such labels as 'Mukti Fauj' and 'Freedom Fighters'" (Sidq-i-Jadid; 2 July 1972).
    In November 1971, at the time of the Eid-ul-Fitr, the three hundred and fifty-odd members of the Bangladesh mission in Calcutta chose to say the Eid prayers by themselves, instead of joining the local congregation, as a protest against what they felt to be the unsympathetic attitude of Indian Muslims. In response to this news, the Jamiat Times of Delhi editorialised as follows:
    Mufti Zia-ul-Haq had written in his Jamiat Times: "When our own borders are endangered we are ready to forget our complaints and make every sacrifice for our country." Radiance, on 5 December 1971, carried an editorial that expressed much the same sentiments, as did the editorials in the Hindustan Times of the previous week, namely that Yahya Khan should be given a chance to get out of the mess in some rational manner, and that there should be direct talks between India and Pakistan on the issue of refugees. In spite of such sentiments and avowals, on 8 December 1971, the government of India arrested, under the Internal Security Act, several prominent Muslims, including Mufti Zia-ul-Haq of the Muslim Majlis and the Jamiat Times, Maulana Abul Lais and Maulana Muhammad Yusuf of the Jama'at-e-Islami (Hind), the leaders of the Tamir-i-Millat and the Ittihad-al-Muslimin of Hyderabad, and the editors of Dawat, Radiance, Sangam, and Nasheman. Some of them were kept in prison, without trial, for as many as forty-one days!

    By Barani - 9/2/2013 2:38:52 PM

  • Mixing politics with Islam leads to Maududism. It is important that we confine religion to moral and spiritual spheres and keep it out of public and governmental spheres. The purpose of politics and governments is to serve all people equally irrespective of their religious beliefs. Politicians and governments are servants of the people. If they pretend to speak for God, they become our masters, make us slaves, and control our minds and behavior to an extent that we become exclusivists and supremacists, hating others and killing without remorse.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/2/2013 11:21:33 AM

  • It will take some time before the subject raised by Mr Sultan Shahin Sb and Jb Muhammad Yunus Sb sinks in and I am able to understand what Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami stands for. For that matter, what Jamaate e Islami did during the war of independence of Bangladesh is inhuman, malacious and un-Islamic. It demands world wide  criticism and banned all over the world.

    Jb Yunus Sb writes: You can only learn if you allow people to disagree and think coolly and logically from the perspective of others. You have to win the Jamaat-e Islami, India by rational logic (fiqha) and not irrational logic as illustrated above. As a true Muslim and a scholar of Quran, Hadith, Fiqh and political Islam, he always has a point worth pondering upon.

    By Arman Neyazi - 9/2/2013 1:28:44 AM

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