Mumbai and Islamic India

Muslim Matters

Mumbai and Islamic India

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Oakland–India has the second largest population of Muslims (after Indonesia) in the world.  Yet they are a minority — about 12%  — and like most minority populations they undergo much prejudice, vilification and repression.

Muslims in India are denied full access to education, meaningful jobs and promotions and other opportunities–that lessens their influence in the country.  Most critically, they have been defamed by the right-wing party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) which has systematically motivated violence and hateful sentiment against them.   In 2001-2002, there was a genocide of Muslims in Gujarat, as well as anti-Muslim riots in Mumbai (Bombay).  On the peripheries of the Indian “Empire,” the Islamic majority State of Kashmir is in open rebellion against New Delhi, and the Indian forces there have committed many abuses against the non-combatant population.

At this moment, the more moderate Congress Party is in power, but there is an election approaching election. The Mumbai attack could grossly affect Congress’ chances of winning again, and put the BJP back in power.

An article in the Malasian Star of the seventh stated that the US was most concerned over the assault because this adds to a fear of armed conflict between India and Pakistan, where allied Rawalpindi would be forced to divert from fighting the Taliban and the remnants of Al Qaida on their side of the Durand Line. This would be disastrous to the war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s position is that the terrorists, though they came from Pakistan, were non-State actors whose cohorts, in fact, had been banned by Islamabad.  The Head of State, Asif Zardari, replied to the harsh criticism coming out of New Delhi that Islamabad had been hard hit by terrorism, and were dedicated to its defeat – besides, “My wife [Benazir Bhutto] had been murdered by them!” 

India, however, alleges the ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) was involved. 

The columnist Patrick Buchanan asserted in the San Francisco Chronicle that “…this atrocity was a success”  in fact a “…triumph of terror..,” for “…the plotters assured themselves of round-the-clock worldwide television coverage.”  They completely”…murder[ed] moderation and stok[ed] militancy…” against the evolving Indo-Pakistani detente.  Further, “The terror target was really Pakistan,” and, thus, “India is wrong to blame their neighbor[‘s Government].”  A War between India and Pakistan is what this faction desires.

There is dissatisfaction among Indian Muslims, and some perceive such hostilities with gratification because of the daily mistreatment they have received from India, although the more progressive Americans of Indian Origin and Indo-Islamic groups within India have denounced the violence.  To understand the situation better I would like to go back to the comments of Angana Chatterji made on Islamic India last spring at the Islamaphobia Conference in Berkeley, California.

In the US, “South Asia is identified between its extreme Left and Right.”

The Indian Diaspora is very influential in Washington which is the basis for several leading Indian and Indo-American commentators to assert that the attack against India was in effect an aggression against the States because the jihadi attackers saw Bombay in alliance with the U.S.A..  This lobbying in the District of Columbia has been particularly vehement by the supporters of Hindutva (the fiercely anti-Islamic political right-wing  philosophy) affiliations who have definitely influenced American policy towards New Delhi.  Expressly toward their assertions on the Islamic majority State of Kashmir.  Further, she affirms that the “Government of India profoundly impacts the U.S. Department of State’s policy toward the [whole] of South Asia.”  The U.S.A. has [consciously] demonized [any] European access to the region as a counter-balance.  There recently has been more anti-Islamic sentiment by the Hindu Middle Classes. 

This damnation of an extremely large Islamic community has endeared Hindu India to the Israelis in the far West of Asia.  This was demonstrated in the aftermath of the Mumbai incident by demonstrations in  support of New Delhi’s “War Against Islamic Extremism.”

“Although there are [a mere] seven hundred active militants in Indian administered Kashmir, there is an overwhelming civil mobilization”  buttressing the resistance of the fighters.

To conclude, though the Mumbai terror came from abroad–it in no way is totally without sympathy from some sectors of the indigenous Islamic communities,  With such a large Muslim populace, this does not bode well for the Indian Federation.


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