For Immediate Release:
Indian Muslim Council-USA (http://www.imc-usa.org), an advocacy group dedicated towards safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, deplores the sequence of events triggered by the violent protest against Taslima Nasrin at the Hyderabad press club. It is unacceptable for anyone to indulge in violence or incitement of hate language, especially when it is done in the name of Islam and Muslims. We are further shocked by the bounty on Taslima Nasrin and condemn it in the strongest terms.
India is a secular democracy that in principle protects the freedom of speech and religion of all. While some may use these freedoms to traffic in hate for political gains others use it for earning fame and money. We must not attempt to challenge this through use of violence and hate speech for it ultimately undermines the harmony and order in a society.
There are many, like Taslima Nasrin, who blame Islam for all the ills of the world today, it seems freedom of speech has become a convenient platform for anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Islamophobia has become a global cottage industry. We believe, as hard as it may be the best approach to combat hate is through kindness and love as taught and practiced by Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) alternatively engage the Islamophobes or ignore them.
We hope that this new storm around Taslima Nasrin will result in a widespread dialogue on how to balance free speech, with respect for religion and sacred institutions. Various forums and critical reviews by individuals, organizations and media of Islamaphobe literature would expose the limited value and anti-Islam rhetoric.
We also pray that in moments of trial, the leadership of the Indian Muslim community will act with wisdom and not in a way that empowers Islamophobes and brings disrepute and loss of good will for the community.
Syed Ali Rehman
6321 W. Dempster St.
Morton Grove, IL 60053-2848
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