A Dialogue with God and Dialogues that go missing

Guest post by SUDEEP KS and BOBBY KUNHU

On Sunday 4 July 2010, T J Joseph, a college lecturer, was attacked by a group of people on his way back from the church in Muvattupuzha in central Kerala, and his right hand was chopped off. We believe this heinous act deserves to be condemned, and that such acts pose a major threat to the secular fabric of the Kerala society.

The attack has attracted immediate media attention, and it is said to be related to a recent controversy over a question paper. Joseph, in his Malayalam question paper, had asked one question that apparently hurt the religious sentiments of some people.

The Kerala society’s response to this whole episode has been equally disturbing. Pinarayi Vijayan, state head of Communist Party of India (Marxist), calls it ‘Talibanization of Kerala’. It has been made out to be a question of ‘freedom of speech’. The media, politicians and intellectuals are busy expressing serious concerns over a ‘religion’ that is intolerant and fanatic. The Police has also let out suspicions on some groups involved in this incident, and both the television and print media have been religiously reporting it.

So where does the proverbial ‘nose’ begin in such a question on one’s freedom of expression?

The controversial question was framed based on a mad man’s dialogue with God, from a book on scriptwriting. The book is being attributed to filmmaker P T Kunjumuhammad in most of the discussions about this unfortunate incident. Mr Kunjumuhammad clarifies that it is taken from a speech that he made about the madman character Nazir in his film ‘Garshome’. In the question paper it appears as a dialogue between Mohammed and God.

Whether the dialogue should hurt the religious sentiments or not is a fairly subjective matter. It does not hurt the religious sentiments of either of the authors (one of them Hindu by birth and the other a Muslim). At the same time we feel that Nazir becoming Mohammed is not as innocent an act even if it is not intentional, and that there are reasons why such a twist could hurt someone’s religious sentiments.

Some people ask, then what about M F Hussain or Salman Rushdie or Taslima Nasreen who create objectionable content in their works? We believe there is a difference. If one thinks Hussain’s work is crap, one has the choice of not buying it. Same with Rushdie. This does not apply to a student who does not have a choice but to answer the question even if it hurts his/her religious sentiments.

This brings us to an important question — What is the kind of audience implied when we speak of the author’s freedom? An audience that is free to choose what it wants to hear, or an audience in captivity? The concept of freedom of speech makes sense when the authors want to reach out to a notion of freedom that is equally available to the speaker and the audience.

We are not trying to justify the attack on T. J Joseph in any way. This is certainly not the way to react to a ‘hurt sentiment’. A barbaric act is a barbaric act. But seriously, there is a problem when we start making statements on a religion based on an act done by some fanatics, or in taking names of some ‘suspected’ outfits. There have been cases where a person got arrested because he subscribed for a particular newspaper. That is how the police work most of the time.

Violence is nothing new to the Kerala society. So it is alarming how a singular criminal act (especially when it is from a particular community) becomes ‘Talibanization’ of Kerala. Do such exaggerations help in any way? Does Kerala become a Gulag because CPM indulges in brutal violence in Panur? Or because BJP indulges in violence? Does Kerala become a Gujarat because of a Marad or Nadapuram? It does not. It can happen only on a marginalized community that gets ‘homogenized’ and victimized by forces both from outside and inside at the same time. It is important that we resist such a homogenization — both as outsiders and as insiders.

It is also sad that Muslims of Kerala are in a tight spot post this incident — as our friend Afthab says, “Mulsims are in the forefront in condemning this brutality, as they are the most disturbed and shamed by this violence, they are strangulated and asked repeatedly in a highly subtle way: “Why don’t you condemn these monsters? Are you really with us….?”

One of the authors (you can guess who) has been under tremendous pressure over the last two days to condemn this incident. A Hindu can continue his/her secular self even if he/she does not care about some atrocity carried out by some Hindu men or women but that does not apply to Muslims.

When contacted for a comment, poet Satchidanandan said: “I cannot comment on this without studying the context of this whole incident – What was the source of the controversial dialogue, how it became part of a book, how it became a textbook and how it appeared in a question paper. While reiterating that this was a barbaric attack, I will say that the whole episode contributes to demonizing Muslims (as I mentioned in the Sufia Madani case earlier).”

Satchidanandan has hit the nail on the head. It is indeed ironical that the discourse is being driven towards “talibanization” of Kerala by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities. It is also strange that the mainstream reactions border to frenzy without having done basic homework. For instance, most of the media and commentators have not even talked to P T Kunjumuhammad to whom the origin of the impugned questioned has been attributed to — he was fairly unaware of even how and when his speech got into the book. Meanwhile, RTF and jpg files are getting distributed over e-mail, claiming that it is a book written by P T.

We also think (regardless of our agreement or disagreement with the point of view) that it is important to state that P. T Kunjumuhammad is also equally concerned about the way the discourse is being taken forward, and he believes that there are late 19th Century and early 20th Century arguments within Islam against what was done to T. J. Joseph and to raise those arguments would be the best way to intervene in this demonization process.

There seems to be guilt by association that operates when it comes to marginalized communities regardless of the professional content of what they do or their beliefs. It is rather amusing that theories of individual and organizational mens rea are being attributed by almost all the discourses on this incident, regardless of the procedure established by law – even as the Police investigations are only in place. One wonders why the prosecution lets go if its case even before the case begins?

Rather sad, that while collectively condemning the barbaric act that chopped off Joseph’s hand, we collectively are also chopping off the arteries that would have mainstreamed the diverse Muslim lives that inhabit Kerala. We need to create more dialogues rather than creating more victims.

42 thoughts on “A Dialogue with God and Dialogues that go missing”

  1. Mr Joseph, victim of the dastardly attack allegedly by a gang of Indian Popular Front activists had already been put under suspension and inquiry by the educational department, for having authored a malicious question.
    It looks strange that the print / electronic media and the authorities are not willing to open debate on the malcontent that necessitated proceedings against this gentleman in the first place. Had such a debate been put in place earlier, one would even hope that unhappy incident would not have happened at all.
    Alas, now there are ‘leftists/secularists’ on the one side and ‘terrorists’ on the other! Both sides are not willing to speak up what’s it all about. Kerala with its population of 23-25% of Muslims has been described as on the road to Talibanization. Is it not exactly what the powers that be want to say?
    Who will suggest people to see through all these sinister games and rise to the occasion, challenging the empty rhetoric of secularism and arbitrary police actions oriented to communal profiling?
    Who will uphold the spirit of secularism and rule of law as enshrined in the constitution?
    Before indulging in rhetoric and hate speech will the concerned people and the media ever acknowledge that the Malegav(MAH), Ajmeer(Rajastan), Mecca Masjid(Hydbad) blasts had actually been NOT carried out by any Islamic group, though in the first place those were attributed by police to such organizations?
    Let’s go to the (mal)content of the question paper in Malayalam,which is a conversation between Mohamed and God that the students were asked to provide punctuation marks(An approximate translation as I remember the text):
    Mohamed Oh God,Oh God( padachone padachone)

    God What’s the matter you dog (enthada naaye)

    Mohamed
    Into howmany pieces I can chope a mackerel
    (Ayila ethrayayittanu kashnikkentathu)

    God Haven’t I told you many times that you can chope it into three pieces
    (moonnu kashnamennu ninnodu ethrathavana paranjittundu naaye)

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  2. it is also quite strange that even the authors cleverly take position by hiding certain facts which even a kid could understand by going through newspapers/media ..or talking to people in kerala
    there always had protests and comparisons made with gujarat when Marad happned. to nandigram when chengara happenned and strong protest against cpim and bjp calling the former “marxist killers’ and the latter as ‘hindu fundamentalists’
    the very act by Popular Front, an extremist muslim organisation in the name of Islam will add to the already existing demonisation process..
    by trying to divert and not addressing why such ‘intolerance’ happens most of the time as a religious offer, the authors are also adding to the same process only… so the authors who seems to behave protective are also culprits.. as one of my friends wrote; the people who committed the crime are also victims of religious intolerance.. they have taken a self-rightious Islamist religious position..pity them..one should also sympathise with them.. else these acts of protective apologies will only further the demonisation of muslim community only..

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  3. One of our biggest problem in this country is our warped sense of western concepts. We are not truly secular and one can argue we will never be, not in the western liberal sense.

    The question is why such a shameful and barbaric act is even committed, that too in the most educated state of India, by students.

    Like everything else in India, its about politics, we drag down each concept, each idea to the level of pettiness, so let me ask the big question why were these students so angry, because a perceived insult was done to their “holy” figure. Its this sort of a priori world view which is the problem, why is Prophet the messanger of God, because the Q’uran says so, how do you know that God exists, because Q’uran says so (you can fill any religious text and holy figure here).

    Its like enlightenment never happened. If the people of this country don’t want to let go of their dogmas and igonorance then unfortunately the state has to push for harsher law and order regime, if we get the politicians and beaurocrats we deserve, lets also have laws that we deserve. And as much as it is against my liberal sensitivities, if the population doesn’t become progressive, then the state has to, people will follow.

    Liberal secular values are the only way for India. We need to become a country where igonrance becomes more abhorant than heresy.

    And lastly a persons right to offend others is more important than his choice to be offended. That is the true test of a rational, liberal, secular and a just society.

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  4. It is rather unfortunate that we are compelled to talk about the Muslim faith and religious tolerance at a moment we all have to stand together and express our solidarity to the grieving family of Professor Joseph and stand-up and condemn this brutality and violence (I am not using the term “barbarity”. Though as a signifier has multiple meanings, it is largely connected with the colonial representation of indigenous lives) and do everything possible to bring this heinous criminals and conspirators to justice and think aloud what can be done to ensure the peaceful coexistence of people of Kerala… Condemning this violence should be conditoional upon anything? NO…We can NEVER problematize the question of the right of people to live their life..

    But those who shout against religion as the cause fail miserably in differentiating people’s religious believes and rituals and the violence of people (both practitioners and non-practitioners) in the name of religion and understanding it as more political than religious… Is this act one of religious orthodoxy… How many whom we generally classify as orthodox (I have serious contention regarding such classifications) can be associated with violence done for religious causes, than those who who do not practice religion, but attached to religion becuase of the cultural identity? So is it not political?

    It is alright that we have some cherished ideals like kicking religion out of people’s lives one beautiful day and will succeed in “uplifting and enlightening” them out of “false” illusions of people…There is nothing wrong in striving for spreading the promise of a world of “progress” and “fredom” that is free from all “wretched” influences of religions…

    But can we argue for the unlimited rights for injuring the believes that brings meaning to the lives of millions to make their lives unbearable? This crux of freedom of speech has been debated throughout our history, and there is a wealth of scholarship already available as arguments and counter-arguments… It is a shame that we have to repeat this endlessly…

    In some internet discussions people pose the whole lot of issues like M.F. Hussain, Rushdie, Thaslima and Joseph and asks whether “you have a consistent stand?” Is there any inconsistency? I dont think any sane person can compromise on the right to live of anyone..But all what they do and write should be protected unconditionally? Can anybody stand for M.F. Hussain’s right to abuse whatever Hindu believers consider sacred and indispensable for her belief unless one is a warring secular or a anti-hindu fanatic?

    Can we decontextualise past events and take an absolute stand in the matters of freedom of speech?. Can one take a stance on the Novel Lajja in Bangladesi context and just repeat it in post babri masjid Indian context (which is the very theme of the novel)? Can’t an act of resistance become that of an offence at another? And taking a position on Rushdie’s novel be described as hypocritical and the saction to some sick fanatics to raise a threat to his life?

    Is all speech acts considered equally valid in our society of “unlimited freedom”…Anybody with a vague sense of the functioning of the modern nation state and national imeginaries can make such a ridiculous claim? Then why should one ask for unlimited freedom just to abuse religious people?

    We should also think about why Muhammed has become the central figure of the discussion about free speach and muslim intolerance… Does one really insult the prophet by these acts who lived his life fourteen ceturies ago? Or is it that Muhammed being used repeatedly as a symbol to insult and injure people who are connected to him in unexplainable ways… Saba Mahmood has argued persuasively how a Muslim is connected to Muhammed invoking the Aristotelian concept of “Schesis”…(Is Critique Secular: Blasphemy, Injury and Free Speech”) ..

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    1. yes, I agree religions were there for centuries, look at the top ten problems of the world you can see almost all of them are on the name of religion, Kashmir, Palastine, Chechniya, coming closer Gujrat, Marad. You may tell these are aberrations from the principles of religion, i have one question, by centuries of existence these religions cant prevent these aberrations, people continue to use religion for creating problems, its really the failure of religions. Then mathetaratvam is not a bad word, in the west secularism may mean lack of religion , but in Indian contest its the coexistence of religions…. the true Nehruvian secularism. In the case of religion I am a true Marxist, its the product of social setup, The Marxism do not appeal the abolishn of religion, even though it happen in some Communist countries.

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  5. Taneja,I fully agree with your views on this issue.But please don’t forget that rise of fundamentalism of various sorts is result of communal politics being played by the powers-that-be.

    Gandhi was a mischief monger,a hypocrite and at best a Hindu revivalist.Respect for all religions was a ploy to thwart separation of the state and the church,to allow the government to intervene in religious matters,promote some particular religion and all in the name of secularism which had no place in our social ethos.

    Liberal secular values are only possible if state and church are separated and no official intervention in matter pertaining to or promotion of religions.

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  6. an old book and an old context still looms large above our heads and we are forced to repeat debates, one after another.. SHAME is SHAME whether it is Bangladesh or India.. and SHAME gets a name with such acts of cowardice in the name of Islam..It is easy to chop the hand off, but the impact it creates will not limit to the culprits alone. how many more victims in the name of an old book?words are hardly sacred.

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  7. @KVM. Agree. While it may be true that the said question may have had a mailicious intent (some say the professor, who was on a punishment transfer to Newman college, wanted to settle scores with the management) it is hard for me to think they were intended to hurt Muslims as the Jylland-Posten cartoons, which clearly smacked of Islamophobia. A preceding question in the paper asks the students to write about the freedom of religion as enshrined in the Indian constitution.

    Another question in the same paper tests the knowledge of the students about P.K.Pokker’s (a marxist idealogue) views on modern man’s attitudes towards nature. There’s nothing which suggests malicious intend here, only the mind of a secular-leftist who does not find anything wrong in subtle ideological posturing, even while setting an internal question paper.

    Would the students have had a problem with punctuating the conversation if it was taken from an university approved textbook. Or did the manipulation of the conversation by giving the name Mohammed to one of the characters change the politics of the text and the quotient of provocation?

    Someone I spoke to felt strongly that Joseph should not have set such a provocative question to his students given the volatile political climate. She used the same word the state education minister used to describe the left-inclined professor, retracted after being flayed by the academic community: moron. The underlying thought is that the professor should have engaged in self-censorship and desisted from drafting the question.

    When the controversy erupted in March, there was absolutely no effort on part of the media to investigate the actual content of the question paper or add a context. There was frenzied reporting as usual, most of it which claimed that there was insult to the prophet, when there was no such reference anywhere in the text, except for the name Mohammed. No one bothered to interview Joseph and put out the truth behind the alleged insult. Joseph went into hiding because of the threats against him and the police resorted to brutal torturing of his son, an engineering college student to find his father’s whereabouts. Again no questions were asked by the media on the flagrant violation of human rights.

    A wimpish self-censorship prevailed, when the need of the hour was commentary and debate.

    The scanned copies of the question paper and the pages of the article by P.T.Kunhumohammed now circulating the web have done a job that the media failed to do. The context and the facts if revealed on time would have helped push the contours of artistic and academic freedom.

    Will it hurt if the faculty and students of an educational institution have the liberty to question and test received wisdom and to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions. Would it hurt to have little islands of free speech in our midst, where mind is without fear and head is held high? Or would that be dreaming too much considering the current academic ambience?

    The brutal reaction to the perceived blasphemy have send the media into the frenzied mode again, with news of arrests and detention and seizure of ‘incriminating’ material pouring in from every part of Kerala.Every bit of unrelated news – from detonators being seized to sabotage of the breaking system of a passenger train are being woven into the narrative of terror.

    A shroud that can be wrapped easily around on the shoulders of the other.

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    1. Some people wont be able to resist their innate urge to appear in beautiful nick names to release their deeply entrenched hate in the core, with pernicious abuses to Muhammed and Believers …I dont know to show what ?

      But there are more intoxicating materials of hate towards him and the believers, produced in cyber world everyday, if one has a little bit patients to do google searches…

      What a pity?

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    2. great tragedy is that those who paste comments dont even know what was there in the question paper. poor they are made to clap clap. this is en example how a nonissue can be made a big one and start putting ones ideas as ultimate truth. pity this moral deed.

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  8. We are definitely not restrained by anything in outright condemnation of the attack against Mr Joseph;we also demand that the culprits who have done it or have conspired for this heinous crime in the grab of whichever organization should be punished according to the law.
    The differences in views, however, do not seem to be about the crime itself. It rather turns to another set of debates, which are either genuine or farcical:

    In my view, genuine debate ought to be about tolerance of faiths both at individuals’ and states’ levels.
    Why do most of our secularists single out practice of Islam as uniquely giving rise to terror and violence, whereas experience all around the world tells just the opposite.Who is running the business of war and genocides with impunity?Who is intolerant of who? What kind of role the Western media and their counterparts elsewhere play in vitiating peace and distorting realities everywhere to the advantage of global capitalism?

    Regarding the farcical debates in this context , I would say that there is nothing as worthless and hypocritical as viewing the ‘question’ as one raising the issue of academic freedom. Why should Mr Joseph,who seems to be a committed leftist
    change some other proper name(Nazir?) in the original text by P T Kunjumuhammed to Mohammad? If Mr Joseph himself is the author of this disputed item, what do you think of his tolerance to the Islamophobic propaganda and his willingness to take part in the hate speech IN THE NAME OF LEFTor SECULARISM?
    Doesn’t Mohammad intended here to stand for the Prophet?

    As a leftist and secularist myself, I am not only ashamed of this kind of ‘secularism’ but also as offended as many practicing Muslims.

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    1. Even if we assume, for arguments sake, that “Mohammad” is Prophet, is this prophet a “man-eating monster”, who cannot be named/criticised/mentioned/imagined/portrayed..? It is really shameful that even today WE tend to live with the such moronic visions. time to show courage and get out of such a SHAME..

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    2. Let me play the devil’s advocate for Joseph here who lost his palm for alleged blasphemy. I did feel hurt when I read the question/conversation. That feeling went away once I had access to the context. A schizophrenic’s self-talk with a dogmatic God who keeps on saying a mackerel can be cut only into three pieces. A god who uses foul language when met with a nagging nonsensical doubt about the divisibility of a mackerel. Changing the name Nazir to Mohammed doesn’t make the text it any more ‘blasphemic’ than it is already, because of the ritual impurity attached with the usage of the abusive word ‘dog’ . If it wasn’t perceived as insult to prophet it would have been seen as an insult to God.

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    3. @KMV
      Why do most of our secularists target islam? Who is at fault, the religion or the onlooker? I am sure the translator of Fathima Mernissi knows this answer very well. Every religion is ‘touchy’ when it comes to its prophets. Islam had had the good oppurtunity to be an exception, as it outrightly rejects personality worship. Paradoxically they are the ones who resort to volence at the slightest provocation. And going through Professor Joseph’s text in its right context, there is good reason to believe that the adaptations were unintentional. One can’t be completey sure , though….. And, for those who call the professor a ‘moron’, its very easy to make arm-chair statements like whether Nazir or Mohammed ought have been the right name in the context.

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  9. Dear Venuettan, I agree with you that the communal profiling should end. It is not only a question of whether the ‘rational’ secularists acknowledge that many blasts initially ‘assumed’ to have been carried out by Muslims (that is very ‘natural’, isn’t it?) are now turning out to be acts by non-Muslim people or groups. Te police, ATS and these secularists owe apologies t the families of the many Muslim men who were picked up in connection with all those blasts. It will take many years for those families to come out of the trauma that they went through.

    Mannan, I do not understand how we are ‘hiding facts’. We clearly said that Kerala does not become a Gulag because of CPM’s violence in Thalassery and that it does not become a Gujarat because of a Marad, and it does not become a Taliban because of this act of cutting a professor’s hand. It is not to say that there has not been such connections made in the media.

    Even as I say that, I find the media and mass reaction to this single incident much worse than their reaction to the previous incidents you mentioned. (Say, the brutal killing of a school teacher by CPM or to Marad.) Even today’s Mathrubhumi (after 6 days of the incident) has title storythis incident, and they have also roduced the first day’s story, including the picture of the teacher whose arm was removed. (Janmaboomi is better, they have carried this story only in the bottom half. They also have a simlar picture on it).

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  10. Some people wont be able to resist their innate urge to appear in beautiful nick names to release their deeply entrenched hate in the core, with pernicious abuses to Muhammed and Believers …I dont know to show what ?

    But there are more intoxicating materials of hate towards him and the believers, produced in cyber world everyday, if one has a little bit patients to do google searches…

    What a pity?

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  11. Will there be a United Front of seculars and Islamic fundos ? This posting could serve as its manifesto. One suggestion: reduce the word count if you want anyone to actually read it.

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  12. I didn’t wish to comment further on this issue, but since the debate on secularism is somehow reduced as an anti-Islamic polemic i just wish to make it clear that it was not my intent and neither do i subscribe to such thought.

    I have been a secular as long as I remember and I do not practice any religion. But as an agnostic it is not my intent to ridicule religious people, my only argument is that lets make religion a personal issue. In a democracy people will say things that you do not like and write things which are against your beliefs. How do we want to deal with this.

    I am against any kind of censor, whether it is against Rushdie or M.F. Hussein, I believe that our movies should not be censored, just rated. My argument is against any sort of gag against somebody speaking his or her mind. I want our comedians to make fun of religions, political figures and talk about sex.

    And let me end with this, if we can’t guarantee freedom of speech, and safety of people who want to hold their view. Lets just put out an guideline of what we can and cannot publicly discuss, lets ask all stakeholders, supporters of a particular political party, religious organizations, various cult leaders, custodians of “cultural” values, people representing various regions, trade unions etc…anyways what else is there to discuss other than cricket and movies.

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  13. Dear Binu,

    I don’t think Sri Joseph needs a “devil’s” advocate — everybody stands by him and condemns the violence meted out on him.

    The problem is in (i) making it a question of tolerance levels of a particular religion for an act done by some people and (ii) in making it a question of ‘freedom of speech’ and holding all the people who criticized him for the question and asked for an apology to be responsible for this incident. That was the line of argument by many, including ‘Mannan’ and novelist Anand. I think getting hurt and chopping off one’s hand are two very different things.

    You said you felt hurt the first time you read but that feeling went away once you had access to the context. But seeing the context and the twist in the context (of making it a dialogue between Mohammed and God), I feel it could still be hurting to some — given that the whole Holy scripture is based on one such conversation. Joseph was apparently warned by colleagues and even the printer of the question paper that it was probably not an appropriate question for examining the ‘punctuation skills’.

    As for naming groups and people, and picking up people saying they had some CDs which contained ‘scenes of violence’ done by Taliban (that is what newspapers reported yesterday), the least said the better. There was a similar hunt on a Dalit organization DHRM calling it a ‘Dalit terrorist group’. Police picked up anyone who had any links to that outfit and harassed them. It started a few months back, and it still continues.

    * * *

    [In my previous comment some parts got eaten up, thanks to a bad system at an internet Cafe. Please read that part as:

    “..Even today’s Mathrubhumi (after 6 days of the incident) has its title story on this incident, and they have also reproduced the first day’s story, including the picture of the teacher whose arm was removed. (Janmaboomi, the official Sangh newspaper, is better, they have carried this story only in the bottom half. They also have a simlar picture on it).”

    One wonders who all are real threats to a peaceful life in Kerala — those who asked for an apology or newspapers like Mathrubhumi. (Kerala Kaumudi was the ‘star’ in the ‘Dalit terrorist’ hunt, along with Mathrubhumi).]

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  14. We all, including print, visual and other electronic media condemned the despicable, dastardly and cowardly act of chopping of right hand of Professor T.J. Joseph . I don’t know why we all failed in highlighting the role played by Sister Stella, JI and solidarity in healing the wounds and building the bridge among the hearts and minds of the people. Sister Stella was very intelligent. She could have called any Pentecostal or other Christian missionary organizations to donate the required blood. If not, she could have bought it from any blood bank. I think she wanted to harness the situation and to calm the atmosphere by accepting the sincere offer given by JI and Solidarity workers who had reached promptly at the hospital to console the affected family. She might have thought the request to donate blood should go first to Muslims as it will help first to heal the wounds created in the minds and hearts of the Keralite society. JI and Solidarity were bold enough to respond positively considering the anti JI propaganda carried out vehemently by the proponents of chopping of hand in the wake of donation of blood to T.J. Joseph. I am unable to imagine how the Keralite media would have reacted if JI and solidarity had failed in responding to the request positively in the fear of would be “Anti-JI” propaganda in donating the blood for a blasphemer and a monger of heresy. Our media could have highlighted it as it reflected the religious side of the episode. Unfortunately, our media was more interested in depicting the irreligious and heretical act of violence as “religious”. Highlighting of sincere offer by JI to sister Stella, Sister Stella’s call to JI and Solidarity for blood and prompt and positive response by JI and Solidarity would have helped to calm the atmosphere, build the bridge and integrate the society. Unfortunately, our media seemed to be looking for anything other than what would have helped to heal the wounds. Sitting in the well of their own prejudices, Media were broadening the wounds, widening the gaps, deepening the hatred into an ocean of perilous darkness. In this heap of darkness, they missed to catch the glimpse of light and rays of hope. Chopping of hand was despicable and the question paper issue was malicious and deliberate. The sincere offer given by JI, the call given to JI by Sister Stella and the prompt and positive response given by JI and Solidarity to Sister Stella’s call were commendable acts. The Malicious question given by Prof. T. J. Joseph and Chopping of hand were dastardly and cowardly acts. But donation of blood to such a professor by JI and Solidarity was a bold and courageous act. The blasphemous question and reacting to it resorting to violence were acts intended to polarize, disintegrate and fragment the society. A request for blood from a Christian to a Muslim organization and positive response by a Muslim Organization to donate blood for the wounded Christian enhances the concept of peaceful co-existence and integration. Still, our media failed utterly in projecting the good, positive and constructive side of the episode. I want and hope the professor T.J. Joseph, the principal of the New Man College, the other culprits and accomplices involved in the question paper issue and the proponents of chopping of hand represent the small minority of the Keralite society and Sister Stella, JI and Solidarity like movements representing the majority. Having said this, I want to tread upon the undercurrents and countercurrents of this episode.
    Historically speaking Islamophobia has been there from the beginning. Koranically it is only a kind of creation of boisterous and hullabaloo atmosphere to overcome the music of truth. Koran said: Those who disbelieve says: Do not listen to the Koran, create fuss and ado so that you may become able to overcome” (41:26). History is replete with this fuss and ado. Recently, this has been given the title of Islamophobia. It is the same wine of fuss in the new bottle labeled as Islamophobia. Again Koran says how to respond to it: “You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will hear from those who were given the scriptures before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But, if you are patient and vigilant and if you have forbearance – Indeed that is of the matter (worthy) of determination” (3:186). Again Koran says: “ They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths”. Koran itself excerpts all malicious and blasphemous statements that enemies of prophet had made against him during his life time. “he is only a magician” “a false dreamer” “ only a poet”, “an impersonator”, “ an Imposter”, “Fabricator and concocter” “a schizophrenic /insane/mad man” . We never see in the history of Mohammad and his followers resorting to violence to counter this kind of filthy allegations. They were advised to ignore and they were ignoring such insults not to get deviated from the goal. The revelation continued to pour down against which such filthy allegations and arguments were not able to withstand.
    I think those verses reflects and exemplifies the history of western relationship with Islam. Europe’s socio-political and literary history actually explains those verses. Even though Jesus was a middle easterner, Christianity was not able deepen its roots in the middle eastern parts of the world where all Biblical prophets had come. It had to take refuge to the western world. It lost even the considerable parts of Europe to Islam (Cyprus, Turkey, Macedonia and some other parts of Balkan areas). The western Christianity was always under a fear psychosis. Historically, the western Christianity, the Greeco-Roman paganism put in the new bottle of Christianity with the label of Jesus Christ, understands that it cannot withstand against Islam, if Islam is presented in its right and proper form. So, Europe and Papacy resorted to the tricks of disinformation, misinformation, manipulation, distortion, interpolation and misappropriation. They even spread lies. They mixed false and fallacies with facts. They wanted to conceal and dissemble the truth. They orchestrated character assassination of prophet Mohammad, the greatest human being the history of mankind has ever seen. They had started this from the time of Prophet Mohammad himself. It continued throughout history in general and during the 11 centuries in particular when Islam and Muslims were stronger in all walks and fields of life. For example Catholic Encyclopedia says (even) Martin Luther believed Mohammad as first born son of Devil. During the period of 17th, 18th and 19th centuries of European colonization Astro–Asian, African and American continents, Europe was able to ethnically and culturally cleanse all provinces like America, Australia and New- Zeal-Land (the new name given by British for the Maoris’ old land of Aotearoa) wherever there was no strong presence of Islam and Muslims. How to deal with Islam and Muslims always posed the big question mark for the Westerners. I started studying Islam from the books written by Orientalists. I can say any body who goes through the literatures, thoughts and social history of Europe during the middle ages will see the same . Let me give some examples for you: Divine Comedy of Dante, Mahomet, a tragic play written by Voltaire (simply a pitiable dramatic version of lies fabricated by Church and Papacy – You cannot believe a thinker like Voltaire swallows whatever Church and Papacy had vomited when it is related to Islam and Mohammad). Sultan’s Court, the book written by Alain Gosrichard is a survey of Orientalist texts written during 17th and 18th centuries. The books written by Baudier Michael ( the French), Cusa and Alfonso A Spina ( Spanish), Humfferey Phidieu (English) are only some examples of how lies can be concocted and fabricated, how to tarnish the ever illuminating face of prophet Mohammad, the greatest leader of the world and after all how to program and condition the minds of millions by creating myths, prejudices and reservations, when you deal with Islam and Muslims. For its latest version, you may read “Rage and Pride” and “Force of Reason” and “Thwarting Eurabia” written by Oriano Fallaci, a well known Italian journalist.
    The modern Islamophobia has got the same hues and colours of the anti-Islam propaganda carried out by Europe during the dark middle ages. The recent development in Kerala is only a pale mimic of what westerners had done during the middle ages. The Christian elements in Kerala seem to be falling in the same trap when they follow the same methods adopted by church and papacy of middle ages in Europe without understanding the socio-cultural pitfalls. That’s what we see in the books published and distributed in Pathanamthitta, in the question paper of Thodupuzha Newman college, the role played by Christian Church in controversy of Love Jihad, intolerance towards Muslim students in different educational institutions ect. I do observe a pattern also in all these developments. Rather than resorting to the kinds of failed tricks played during the middle ages, what I want my Keralite Christian brothers to do is to engage with Muslims and conduct healthy debates on the points they do differ among an dbewtween themselves. Christians can even try to disprove the unequivocal Koranic claim reiterated by Mohammad repeatedly that coming of Mohammad as a final prophet was foretold both in Torah and Injeel. It seems our Keralite Chrstians also are caught by the same fear psychosis towards Islam, because of the aggressive and soft debates and discussions all Muslim organizations in Kerala conduct with the Christian people. Scripturally and Intellectually, Keralite Christians seems to be agreeing that they cannot withstand the Muslim arguments. That’s why we never see Christian community in Kerala conducting a cultural debate, symposiums or seminars involving others in general and Muslims in particular while all sects and factions of Muslims do conduct it abundantly involving other religionists, especially Christians. This is also at a time when Keralite Christians seem to be engaging in other kinds of acts which help to polarize the society on religious level and put each sect in the water tight compartments. Why do Muslim organizations try to engage in debate and discussions with Christian people may be because of the confidence level Muslims have got over others in general and Christianity in particular. I do understand prevalence of peaceful, calm and serene atmosphere will be very much advantageous and conducive for Islam and its propagation. I request Muslims not to fall into the trap and pitfalls set by Islamophobists by becoming provoked and exasperated. As Koran said, be patient and have forbearance. Be vigilant and cautious. Be optimistic by finding opportunity in every difficulty. Always work to create a peaceful, serene and tranquil socio-cultural environment. Work among the people, with the people and for the people. Never go back again to cave Hira, for the revelation that has brought down the prophet from the solitude of the cave Hira to the people is still with you. I am sure, Islam will thrive more in a peaceful and serene atmosphere as history has proved it again and again. Chaos and violence serve only the vested interests of enemies of prophet and Islam.

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    1. John Civillo,

      It is clear from your opinions and also from your open hatred toward christians and christianity that you are a muslim. Then why cheat everyone by signing in with a christian name. You cannot judge others if you yourself are fake. This is also in response to Manash’s comment that a dialogue between Jesus and Mary should be asked in their question paper by the christian college. Well, you all make it seem that the christians are the only ones who hurt the sentiments of another’s faith. Well, in Malayasia two Muslim spies entered a catholic church and took part in the Holy Communion. After partaking of the bread and the wine which christians believe as the body of Christ and the blood of Christ these spies spit it out. If this was done to the muslim faith by a christian I’m sure the spies’ tongue would be cut off!
      Also with all the opinions in this forum, I came to realize with much saddness that India is not a secular country after all. It is only hypocrisy and nothing else.

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    2. @ Civillo
      Alas, the cat is out. Look at the way in which a critisism of islamophobia evolves into vehement ‘cristianophobia’ . Or shall I use ‘islamophobio-phobia’. Well done . there will be many takers for your cultural relativism.

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  15. John Civillo,

    I don’t see how your statements that Christians cannot hope to withstand Islam, and that their belief is not as strong as that of muslims, hence they do not debate them, help in maintaining good communal relations between the communities.

    If Christians were to accept the perfection of the Prophet, that would mean they were Muslims. It’s a little unfair to expect Christians to believe in the same things that Muslims do, or maintain that the only reason they don’t is down to “Islamaphobia” . I don’t see the value of ‘religious debates’, no faith is ‘scientific’ or can be ‘proved’. It’s all down to belief, and what makes sense to you.

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  16. Lesson Number 1: When the civilized are malicious, the barbarians will be cruel.

    Lesson Number 2: You cannot claim any moral legitimacy by insulting someone else’s father without having mocked your own.

    The Christian college in Kerala can prove its fairness by putting in the next question paper, an erotic dialogue between Christ and Mary Madelene. This time the students should be asked to remove the punctuations.

    Amen.

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    1. Manash,

      Well, you all make it seem that the christians are the only ones who hurt the sentiments of another’s faith. Well, in Malayasia two Muslim spies entered a catholic church and took part in the Holy Communion. After partaking of the bread and the wine which christians believe as the body of Christ and the blood of Christ these spies spit it out!! If this was done to the muslim faith by a christian I’m sure the spies’ tongue would be cut off!!
      Also with all the opinions in this forum, I came to realize with much saddness that India is not a secular country after all. It is only hypocrisy and nothing else.

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  17. Dear Sam,
    Thanks for your comment. Appreciate it and I am an advocate of open communication and respectful debate . I am very much greatful to you for bringing into my notice any of my wording or sentence that might be not helpful in maintaining good relations between communities. I am a man of incessant introspection and try to look into issues from others eyes from time to time. I went through my article once again and I could not see any word or sentence denoting “ Christian belief is not as strong as Muslims”. Moreover, I cannot be judgmental on an issue like strength of belief which is quite relative from person to person and cannot be measured. Nonetheless, I am sorry and do seek the pardon of my readers if my writing has imparted such a message inadvertently. Even though your message is very short, it raised three relevant issues in terms of use/non-use of debates, discussions and dialogues in the realm of religion, relvance of mentioning ofwestern Christianity cannot withstand Islam if Islam is presented in its right and proper way and the relationship between faith and reason. This requires a detailed response and I do expect your comments on my observations reading it thoroughly. For me, more important issue is to seek the truth without any bias and accept it once I am convinced of it rationally, historically and scripturally. It is true
    I had mentioned: “The western Christianity, the Greeco-Roman paganism put in the new bottle of Christianity with the label of Jesus Christ, understands that it cannot withstand against Islam, if Islam is presented in its right and proper form. So, Europe and Papacy resorted to the tricks of disinformation, misinformation, manipulation, distortion, interpolation and misappropriation. They even spread lies. They mixed false and fallacies with facts. They wanted to conceal and dissemble the truth. They orchestrated character assassination of prophet Mohammad, the greatest human being the history of mankind has ever seen”. This is a perception got precipitated in me from my vast reading of western literatures written during the middle ages. I am eager to correct myself if any body can prove it otherwise. Now what I see in Kerala also is same. Keralites Christians don’t engage in debates involving others while I do observe almost all Muslim organizations do it involving others . As far as inter-religious debate is concerned, Keralite Christians seem to be a closed society. Apart from this, Keralite Christians seems to have some elements within it who want to foster Islamophobia. I am sure debates and discussions, regardless of whether it is religious or non-religious, will enlighten us a lot. It will help us to see the things through others eyes. It will nurture mutual respect. It will help us to correct ourselves. We think of supernova while we do miss what is just below our noses. Our eyes seem to have been set on the stars while we do lack the smack of the soil and don’t know our fellow people and religionists. In our pondering over the micro things, we just ignore the macro facts of our day to day life. The study of the different religions will save us from this predicament situation and will definitely help to promote mutual understanding among all religions and religionists. Apart from the media manipulation and propaganda, we have to strive hard and make deliberate efforts for creating an atmosphere in which all people can converse cordially, discuss and debate with respect and share their beliefs and creeds one another without any fear, reservation or prejudice. Hiding, Dissembling and concealing of the facts do not help promotion of social harmony or mutual respect. Mongering misconception breeds hatred which is fertile place for violence and chaos. We need to pay perseverance to alter people’s attitude towards the religion from an explosive emotional issue into a matter of serious thought. Debate and discussion with mutual respect is the best antidote to cure the social disease of violence and chaos. All have to resist the notion of truth being monopolized. The absolute truth is and has to be a common goal and public asset of all and sundry. Even if we may disagree one another, let everybody say what they believe it to be true. For the truth is the lost asset of humanity for long time. It might have become so strange to us due to its absence from our life for such a long period. One thing is sure and true. God, the Almighty who has created us all, and who has made our earth a planet suitable for life and who has arranged therein air, light and water which are very essential elements for sustaining the life on this planet might have showed us the true and straight path to lead our life also. We cannot allow the truth to become the private property of any sect, section or nation So, let everybody put forward what they believe it to be true even if it could be false to others . I want our Keralite Christians engage in dialogue and debates with Keralite Muslims in an intellectual level rather than publishing trashes like the books published in Pathanamthitta, or compelling students to write stupid answers for absurd and malicious questions hurting religious sensitivities and mongering hatred and heresy like that of what we saw in Thodupuzha College, or campaigning on misnomers like “Love Jihad” and showing intolerance to headscarves of Muslim girls which Christians nuns in the same schools also wear. I am sure the former helps to enhance better communal relationship while the latter is very much detrimental to it as we see nowadays.
    Why did I mention Western Christianity cannot withstand Islam? I made this statement deliberately and consciously to unearth the root-cause of Islamophobia. History, scriptures (Both Bible and Koran) and the logic support this statement.
    History: Mohammad claimed to be the final prophet and said repeatedly that his coming was foretold by both Old and New Testaments. Historically, the first person to believe in his prophethood was Waraqat bin Naufal, an erudite Christian pundit and priest and uncle of Kadijah. The first king to believe in the prophethood of Mohammad was Nagus, the then Christian King of Ethiopia. One of the tribes who entered into Islam and believed in the prophethood of Mohammad was a Christian tribe from Najran, east of modern day Saudi Arabia. Koran repeatedly mentions that coming of prophet Mohammad was foretold in both Old and New Testaments. Though genealogically Arabs as an ethnic society is descendants of Ishamel, most of the original descendants of both Ishmael and Ishaque who constitute the modern middle eastern society, the background of Bible’s narration of human history supported this claim by embracing Mohammad as the final prophet. Let me quote some verses from Koran in this regard which I hope a truth seeker cannot ignore taking into consideration of the current and historical back ground mentioned above. “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel ..” (7: 157). “Those to whom We gave the Scripture ( Jews and Christians) recognize him (Mohammad) as they recognize their sons ( from the crowd). But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it ( 2: 146) “And, remember when Jesus, son of Mary, said: ‘ O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah unto you confirming the Torah (which came) before me and giving a glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me whose name shall be Ahmed”. (61:6) . I mentioned western Christianity. For this, we need to go through the history of Christianity also. The Nicea Council assembled by the Emperor Constantine in AD 303 resulted in the horizontal ( in the sense eastern Christianity and western Christianity) and vertical (in the sense of Unitarianists under Arian and Trinitarians under Constantine) split of Christianity. Eastern Unitarian Christians embraced Islam upon the coming of Prophet Mohammad while the Western Trinitarian Christianity with the Greeco-Roman paganism filled with the label of Jesus Christ survived and spread under the patronage and support of Roman empire first and European colonialists at a later stage. That’s why the famous historian Wil Durand had said, “Christianity was not conquering Rome, but it was conquered by Rome”.
    Scripturally, both Muslims and Christians believe in Torah and Injeel as revealed books. Koran explicitly, unequivocally and repeatedly claims coming of prophet Mohammad is mentioned both in Torah and Injeel as explained above. Can’t it be debated with mutual respect? In my opinion it can be debated, discussed, proved or disproved. In this respect also both history and Bible as it is available now are in favor of Islam. That’s why one of my missionary friends told me while I was a Bible student that “We Christians won’t be able to win the hearts of Muslims as long as we go to them with Bible since Bible is more in favour of them than us”. That’s why we see Muslims always discuss and debate this issue with Christians while Christians don’t want to touch this subject. We know and claim and it is true that Bible, both Old and New testaments include many predictions and prophecies. If we ask our Christian fathers and friends, pastors and priests about disintegration of Soviet Union, or 9/11 or Iraq War, we might probably get the answer that it was foretold in Bible. I am not sure if Bible prophecies go to that extent or not. What bewilders me is not the eloquence on such prophecies but silence on other prophecies. How come a Book of prophecies which foretells even the disintegration of Soviet Union become silent on the greatest leader of history, according to Michael H Hart, and who is still influencing our day to day life?!. How can a book which includes prophecies to the extent of American occupation of Iraq be mum on the most successful leader of history who triggered the collapse of both Roman and Persian empires and whose teachings still make frequent interventions in the human life and redirects the course of history?!! Prophet Mohammad’s life was wonder of history for Thomas Carlyle. For La Martin, Gibbon, Arnold Toyenbee, H.G. Wells , Wil Durant and for other eminent historians he was simply the turning point of the modern history. Is it possible Bible ignored such a person whom history has become incapable of leaving behind? Does Bible say anything about him?
    Out of many verses in both Old and New Testaments ( like Deut. 18:15, 18:18 21:21 Psalms 118:22-23, Isa 42:1-13, Habakuk: 3: 3-4, Mathew 21:42-43, Jn 14: 12-17, 26-28, 16:7-14 etc) and out of fear of length of this article, I would like to quote only three verses from the Old Testament which I think support and corroborate each other and deals with subject of Hjra and Battle of Bader and Conquer of Mecca which were the most historically important events in the life of Prophet Mohammad.
    The Oracle About Arabia.
    In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites
    Bring water for the thirsty, O inhabitants of the land of Tema, Meet the fugitive with bread.
    For they have fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow
    And from the press of battle.
    For thus the Lord said to me, “In a year, as a hired man would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will terminate;
    and the remainder of the number of bowmen, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the Lord God of Israel has spoken.” ( Isaia 21: 13-16)
    The most explicit facts of the above prophecy are the following:

    1. This prophecy takes place in Arabia since the title of the prophecy itself is “The Oracle about Arabia” Or “Burden upon Arabia”. So, we have to reconcile this prophecy with the history of Arabs.
    2. This verse includes two time bound predictions of Migration and a battle that takes place within or after one year from the date of migration. ( Please refer to Commentary by Dake even though he does not reconcile the predictions historically or geographically)
    3. Caravans of Dedanites means descendants of Ishmael (For this also please refer to the commentary by Dake)
    4. The battle that will be taking place after one year will be between the people migrated to Tema and the people from where they had migrated ( Kedar)
    5. Kedar though stronger than Tema before the battle from where the people migrated to Tema will be defeated by Tema
    6. Kedar is a name of place in Arabia from where people had migrated to Tema which also is in Arabia . Kedar as a name of place originated from the name of Ishmael’s second son as per Bible ( Genesis: 25:13, 1 Chronicles 1:29, Ezekiel 27:21)
    7. Ishmael as per Arab history settled in Mecca ( in Arabia) and Arabs are ethnically known as descendants of Ishmael.

    We will get the implicit fact of this prophecy when we reconcile both time bound predictions of migration and the battle that follows it after a year with the history of Arabia. Then we will know where the places of Kedar and Tema are exactly in Arabia and what are their current names.

    In Arab and Islamic history only one mass migration is historically recorded. That is known as Hijra from Mecca to Medina. According to Muslim historians and the western historians like Gibbon, HG Wells and Carlyle it was the turning point of modern history. The fact that Islamic calendar started based on Hijra also denotes its importance. As the above mentioned verses from the Old testament clearly mentioned the migrants ( Muhajirs in Islamic history) were forced to flee from the drawn sword and bent bows. The inhabitants of Tema (Medina) known as Ansars ( Helpers) in Islamic history welcomed those migrants with bread, water and shelter. As the above mentioned same Biblical verse clearly had mentioned about a battle that followed after a year from Migration, the battle of Bader took place during the second year of Hijra on 17th of Ramadan. In this battle, Meccans from whose land the believers had migrated to Medina were defeated by them. So the second prediction relates to the battle of Bader which was forced upon Islam by its pompous enemies one year after the migration of prophet Mohammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina and Islam’s victory in defending its existence. This battle also is considered as another turning point in Islamic history. I know and understand there are so many scholars in Biblical studies. I am eager to know how they will reconcile those verses historically other than the way mentioned above. Dake, the well known Bible commentator, puts this verse under the star which means it includes a prediction. And moreover, he says this verse includes two time bound predictions (It really includes three predictions i.e, Migration, Battle after a year and the victory of migrated people also). I don’t know why Dake has left this prediction without reconciling both historically and geographically. Was it a deliberate mum since he understood reconciliation of those three prediction will directly relate to Mohammad, his followers, pagan believers of Mecca, Helpers in Medina and Hijra and Battle of Bader? Is it possible we become afraid of truth! Can we imagine the deliberate efforts by the vested parties in hiding of truth from their followers and readers?

    We can see the same kind of prediction in Habakuk also but in a different way with detailed explanation of historical impact the prophethood of Mohammad and Hijra will make. Read the following verse:

    God comes from Tema, And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah.
    His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise.
    His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand,
    And there is the hiding of His power.
    Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him.
    He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations.
    Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed.
    His ways are everlasting. ( Habakuk 3:3-6)
    Since we understood from verses of Isaia 21:13 that Tema is a place in Arabia ( Medina), here in this verse coming of God from Tema means the divine help that was given to Prophet Mohammad and his followers by giving them refuge in Medina which facilitated the establishment of the Islamic state and spread of Islam thereof. In order to understand “ The Holy one who came from Mount Paran” , we have to locate the place Paran, geographically and historically. A special consideration has to be given why it is mentioned “ from Mount Paran”. As far as prophet Mohammad is concerned, he got the revelation from the cave of Hira in Mount of Light. Secondly, while migrating from Mecca to Medina, he hid in the mount of Sur in Mecca in order to escape from the enemies who were following him and his disciples. So, the Holy One who comes from Mount Paran is definitely prophet Mohammad. In addition to that, as per Genesis 21:21 Ishmael, the father of Arabs ethnically and the first born son of Prophet Abraham from Hager lived in the wilderness of Paran. As per the history of Arab, it was in Mecca. So, Paran is Mecca. There is another incontrovertible Biblical proof to support that Paran is Mecca. In Genesis 21:17-19, Bible says about a well that was created miraculously for Ishmael while he and his mother Hager were left in the wilderness of Paran .
    “God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
    “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”
    Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.” (Genesis 21:17-19)
    Arab and Islamic history also speaks about this. The running between Safa and Marwa during Hajj and Umra is in commemoration of this historical event. The well of water mentioned in the above verse is the inexhaustible Zamzam well in Mecca which can be seen with our naked eyes. The verses in Habakuk after this speaks of pre and post Migration events.. .. The earth of full of his praise. The meaning of the word Mohammad itself is “ the praised one”. Even a second does not pass on this planet without being promulgated that Mohammad is the final prophet from God either through Calling for prayer or other way. . Historically speaking prophet’s Hijra had the chain effect on history. It is still making ripples in our life. Before his coming, it was pestilence and ignorance. But After migration even the plagues who were bent to kill him followed him and became his disciples. The migration gave him the power. His teachings spread like sunlight all over the world after migration. Geography and cartography of the world changed after Hijra ( He stood and surveyed the earth). All the ancient places of civilizations (the places like Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Sind) accepted him as the last prophet from God. The Persian and Roman empires which were looked upon as invincible (Perpetual mountains) got shattered and the nations which were under their colonial power were liberated (hills collapsed). The last verse says that prophet Mohammad did not bring anything new and the ways he taught will stay for ever in this world since he is the final prophet ( His ways are everlasting!).
    Geographically and historically we understood that Paran, the place mentioned in Bible is Mecca in Arabia. The well of water (zamzam) mentioned in the above mentioned verse also support this fact. Let me quote another verse from the Old Testament which also makes reference to Paran.
    Moses said: “The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones; At His right hand there was flashing lightning for them. (Deuteronomy 33:2)
    Here Moses gives a very clear indication of three prominent prophets in sequence and as continuation and completion to one another. First is about himself since he got revelation from Sinai. The second one is prophecy about the prophet Jesus from Palestine ( Seir is a place in Palestine near Jerusalem). The third verse makes reference to another prophet from Mount Paran ( a mountain in Mecca). Here also a special reference has been given to Mount since prophet Mohammad got his revelation from cave Hira in the Mountain of Light in Mecca. In addition to that there is a clear indication of completion of the message through him since it says God shines from there. Thirdly, there is indication about bloodless conquer of Mecca also when it said “ he came from the midst of Ten Thousand holy one ones”. When Prophet Mohammad conquered Mecca without spilling even a drop of blood, in his expedition there were ten thousand holy ones!. This was another important event in the life of prophet Mohammad. Many decisive battles in Islamic history including of the most important ones of Battle of Bader and Conquering of Mecca took place during the month of Ramadan in which Glorious Koran also had started to reveal upon Prophet Mohammad.
    Finally before conclusion let me shed some more light on the above mentioned Habakuk ( 3:6) verse which says “His ways are everlasting”. Glorious Koran looks into the fact of Divine Guidance from three angles. First, human being is in need of guidance from God to know the truth as human knowledge has got its own strength and weakness, limits and limitations, frailties and flaws. The Glorious Koran says: “ Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds since he considers himself self sufficient. Surely! Unto your Lord is your recourse (for guidance)” ( 96: 6-8). Secondly, God has taken it as His own responsibility to show the straight path and provide guidance to Human kind taking into consideration of innumerable fallacious paths that lead human being astray . The Koran says: “And upon Allah is the responsibility to show the straight path especially when there are way that turn aside” (16:9) Thirdly, it is Right of God to say humankind how to operate its life on this planet as both human being, earth and all the universe are creations of God. Koran says: “His is the creation and the commandment” (7:54) Then Glorious Koran sets two indispensable features of the truth. The truth is Universal and Absolute. It does not change from time to time, place to place or species to species. What is truth for the first human being is the truth for the last human being also. What is truth in the heavens is the truth in the earth as well. It does not change during the passage of time ( “He is Allah in the heavens and on the earth” 6:3). Secondly, the means adopted by God to reveal the truth also is same and is part and parcel of Divine justice. It is the prophet hood from the same species ( 6:8-9, 16:43,. Holy Koran says the first person on this planet himself was a prophet. He was a human being. The last prophet, Mohammad also is human being. All the prophets who came in between them also were human beings. This is another way from many how Islam and Glorious Koran place Jesus as a human prophet historically.
    In nutshell, the above three historically and geographically reconciled prophecies of Bible out of many like it clearly speak about the prophethood of Mohammad, his life and mission. Now, the logical question that we have to ponder over is if the teaching of Biblical prophets including of Jesus about God is different from Muhammad? Is it possible for God, the Almighty to speak differently and contradictorily about Himself and truth? If not, why and how these different and contradictory to one another beliefs and creeds originated among us? What are criteria to ascertain the truth from false and fact from fallacies? I want to shed light on these dark areas of our life and belief before I conclude.
    Belief in God, whatever kind it may be, needs not to be blind. Keep he wheel of reasoning rolling. You can have rational, scriptural, logical and/or natural justification to support your belief. Each set of belief and religion with all the contradiction they do have between them will claim to be true. You ask for the proof to support this claim since all the Biblical prophets had come with a proof. If they resort to another claim that it is belief beyond and above all kinds of proofs and reasoning, just ignore them showing due respect. The beautiful part of Islam is that it says Koran is proof and Koran makes itself subject to be challenged by any and all (2:23-24). No need to get provoked or become violent if anybody accepts it as a challenge. The difference between knowing first and then believing according to the knowledge is to be distinguished from believing first and knowing about it after. Because, knowledge after belief is always tailored to fit the belief. In such a situation, knowledge always become a scapegoat to be laid on the cot of belief. In this regard, we have to bear in mind that obeying a person after being convinced of his credentials as a prophet rationally, historically and scripturally is different from believing in anything without intellectual conviction. In the former, the obedience to the prophet after intellectual conviction in his prophethood is part and parcel of syllogism while the latter case represents the gross blindness. According to Koran, knowledge is the pre-requisite of belief. And proof is the pre-requisite of the knowledge. A proof is not a proof if it is not challengeable by one who denies it. One thing is sure, truth in its absolute sense cannot be contradictory to itself. Koran looks into the fact of Divine Guidance from three angles. .First, human being is in need of guidance from God to know the truth as human knowledge has got its own strength and weakness, limits and limitations, frailties and flaws. Koran says: “ Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds since he considers himself self sufficient. Surely! Unto your Lord is your recourse (for guidance)” ( 96: 6-8). Again it says: “ And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little” ( 17:85) Secondly, God has taken it as His own responsibility to show the straight path and provide guidance to Human kind taking into consideration of innumerable fallacious paths that lead human being astray. Koran says: “And upon Allah is the responsibility to show the straight path especially when there are way that turn aside” (16:9) Thirdly, it is Right of God to say humankind how to operate its life on this planet as both human being, earth and all the universe are creations of God. Koran says: “His is the creation and the commandment” (7:54) Then Koran sets two indispensable features of the truth. The truth is Universal and Absolute. It does not change from time to time, place to place or species to species. What is truth for the first human being is the truth for the last human being also. What is truth in the heavens is the truth in the earth as well. It does not change during the passage of time (“He is Allah in the heavens and on the earth” 6:3) Truth cannot be different for Pre-Jesus period and post-Jesus period as we see in western Christianity Pre-Jesus monotheism and Post-Jesus Trinity . Secondly, the means adopted by God to reveal the truth also is same and is part and parcel of Divine justice. It is the prophet hood from the same species “If there were on the earth, angels walking about in peace and security, we should certainly have sent down for them from the heaven an angel as a Messenger” ( 17:95) the same philosophy is again explained in different way in the Koranic verses 6:8-9, 16:43. Koran says the first person on this planet himself was a prophet. He was a human being. The last prophet, Mohammad also is human being. All the prophets who came in between them also were human beings. This is another way from many how Islam and Koran place Jesus as a human prophet historically.

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    1. I wonder , this discussion has degenerated into the same old ‘koran vs bible ‘ rhetoric. Going by the previous posts, the majority of us here do not care[ hope I am not wrong] for things like, whether we should or should not go back to the Hira cave OR Mohammed is the most magnificent person ever born or his coming had been predicted rightly or not . Mr Civillo , who claims to look at things through other people’s eyes, is using the same philosophy[ wrongy] in his writings as well. The issues raised in his latest post has been discussed and argued out exhaustively [with no conclusions , as usual] in the cyber world. I don’t have any problem in availing information from the net. But why do the ‘cherry picking’, if you seek the truth.

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  18. John,

    I personally believe that religious discussions are unhelpful, primarily because as Christians, Muslims, Hindus , Atheists, etc we will differ fundamentally on many key points and even though there may be some common beliefs, I personally see the idea of every faith being the same as just wishful thinking.

    This does not mean that we cannot be tolerant of each other’s views or have a harmonious society with different beliefs. But although you may believe that the Qu’ran is divine, you have to accept that non-muslims may not do, and so proofs based on what the Qu’ran says is not likely to convince a non-believer. Christians don’t hold Muhammed as a prophet of God, just as Muslims don’t believe that Bahaullah the founder of the Bahai faith was a prophet. However Bahai’s hold Muhammed, Jesus, Moses etc to be messangers along with Bahaullah. In a religious sense, The Muslim view of Bahais is quite close to the Christian view of Islam.

    Who is to say who is correct ? This is just down to faith, as you cannot prove religious belief. A Christian may believe that a Muslim will not make it to Heaven without accepting Jesus as his saviour, a Muslim might believe that a Christian is destined for the fire as he worships God as a trinity . An Atheist would see this whole idea of a God meting out punishment in the afterlife as nonsensical.

    In my view religious debates are just an excuse for a believer to proselytize his/her faith. I think it’s fine for a such a believer to do so, but i doubt if such debates really help in furthering understanding and co-operation between adherents of different faiths.

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  19. The article and most of the responses are an exhibition of some of the worst forms of pseudo-secularism prevalent in our country. Mr. K.M. Venugopalan’s post is another example of leftist pseudo-secularism under which any act of the minority community is justified. Of course the posts begin with a weak condemnation of the barbaric act followed by arguments which try to find reasons for the act. Had the assailants been right-wing fringe Hindu extremist outfits, then the pseudo-seculars, from arundhati roy to teesta, would have written 50-page articles condemning the entire Hindu community. This bishops would have marched from Kerala to New Delhi and then to Rome demanding protection. God forbid, had the victim been Muslim and the assailants Hindu, then entire Kerala would have burnt. But since the assailants are muslim fundamentalists we have pin-drop silence from the pseudo-intellectuals. One of the paragraphs in the article contains the sentence “one of the authors is Hindu by birth and the other a Muslim” – this sentence reflects the mindset of the pseudo-seculars – a Hindu would have to proudly announce repeatedly that he is a non-practising Hindu and does not believe in his religion in order to be accepted as ‘secular’ by the country’s pseudo-intellectuals. A Muslim by definition is secular – even if he supports Lashkar or the taliban.

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  20. Hinduism is the only liberal religion in the world – it says all paths lead to God. You can be anything – a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Sikh or an atheist – as long as you perform good deeds you will reach God. Simple but the truth. When you try to impose your thoughts and beliefs on others, when you claim that only your religion is the truth – it will only lead to conflicts and bloodshed.

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  21. Dear Sam,
    Thanks for your response. I do respect your personal belief relating to debate and discussion though I am sorry for being forced to agree to disagree with you. Existence of fundamental differences on key points does not necessarily mean debate and discussion is impossible on those key points. Rather it is those differences that make such debates and discussions so imperative. They can debate it from logical, historical and scriptural perspectives. We all know people will have tendency of making excuses and not accepting even though they are convinced what is true and what is false. That’s why we see billions of dollars being wasted daily from cigarette- smoking even though it is written on the very cover of the same that “ Cigarette smoking is injurious to health”. “Nay, human being knows from his inner soul and conscience what is true, though he may put forth his excuses to cover his wrong beliefs and evil deeds” (75: 14-15). There are wishful thinking in the guise of beliefs like all beliefs with all the contradictions among themselves leads to God and paradise. In my humble opinion your generalization of it to all and especially to an ideology which considers knowledge as pre-requisite for belief and proof, which is challengeable by one who denies it, as the pre-requisite of the knowledge also seems to be another wishful thinking out of helplessness. Koran is revealed from God is first a claim with a challenge that is seen almost in every chapter of Koran. Secondly, it is a matter of knowledge with a proof. There is no issue if I discuss and debate it with others. I will respect even those who reject it regardless of they convince me it intellectually or not. I see Koran as the only book which commands and persuades debate when it said “ Debate with them in the best manner” (16:25).
    You said : “ Christians don’t hold Muhammed as a prophet of God, just as Muslims don’t believe that Bahaullah the founder of the Bahai faith was a prophet. However Bahai’s hold Muhammed, Jesus, Moses etc to be messangers along with Bahaullah. In a religious sense, The Muslim view of Bahais is quite close to the Christian view of Islam”.
    Dear Saam, here your equation does not hold water logically. Same thing can be extended to Jews and Christ also. Mohammad’s or Jesus’ prophethood is not to be tested or verified from how Bahai was accepted or rejected. If so, denial of any lie can be taken as a proof to deny the truth also. The logic says you can check and verify the prophethood of a man from the previous prophets predictions (once you are convinced of him intellectually, historically and scripturally). Sam, each and everybody’s claim needs to be independently verified. Mohammad and Koran had claimed unequivocally that his coming as final prophet (eg: “His ways are everlasting” Habakuk: 3:6 the verse quoted in detail and explained thoroughly in my previous posting) is foretold in both Torah and Injeel. Secondly, Mohammad as prophet also made it clear he is the Final while we see Jesus repeatedly mentioning of someone coming after him very straightforward and through parables also. Historically, Mohammad is known as Al-Amin. (The most honest). Once you are convinced of his prophethood intellectually , historically and scripturally there is no way to disbelieve claim on finality. Thirdly, when we do require a prophet? In my understanding, we might require a prophet if the previous prophet is only for a tribe (If any prophet is only for Israelites, then other people also may require prophet for their guidance), or if a prophet’s mission is time-bound until another prophet comes or if a prophet’s teachings and what was revealed to him is not available in its original language and has been corrupted or if prophet did not have any followers to carry his torch to the posterity. In the case of Mohammad, Koran repeatedly makes it clear he is for whole of mankind and his mission is ever lasting, Prophet Mohammad’s history has been recorded in its minute details (even the table manners and his gait, his behaviur with his wives ect) and he can be read in the complete light of history. What is revealed to him also is available in its original tongue without any change even of a letter or a coma and he has got the followers all over the world in tens of millions to carry his torch. As I mentioned before, how to deal with Islam and Muslims always posed the big question mark for the Westerners. They had tried to face it by force . The war of Tabouk and Mu’ta imposed on the prophet’s state of Medina by Rome during the time of prophet itself. This continued during crusades also. But were not successful. Then, Europe and Papacy resorted to the tricks of disinformation, misinformation, manipulation, distortion, interpolation and misappropriation. They even spread lies. They mixed false and fallacies with facts. They wanted to conceal and dissemble the truth. They orchestrated character assassination of prophet Mohammad, the greatest human being the history of mankind has ever seen. This also they had started this from the time of Prophet Mohammad himself. It continued throughout history in general and during the 11 centuries in particular when Islam and Muslims were stronger in all walks and fields of life. For example Catholic Encyclopedia says (even) Martin Luther believed Mohammad as first born son of Devil. This helped them to preserve the major part of Europe under western Christianity with Greeco-Roman paganism filled in it with the pseudo label of Jesus Christ. During the period of 17th, 18th and 19th centuries of European colonization Astro–Asian, African and American continents, Europe was able to ethnically and culturally cleanse all provinces like America, Australia and New- Zeal-Land (the new name given by British for the Maoris’ old land of Aotearoa) wherever there was no strong presence of Islam and Muslims. Again they were not able to cleanse eastern Asian African continents where Islam was strongly present. During this time, Europeans had tried to create a split within Islam by creating pseudo prophets from Muslims also. That also did not hold water since such experiments remained only as Euro-American phenomenon. Still, western power faces the same problem of Islam impeding their capitalistic greed. Now, a two-pronged war against Islam and within Islam orchestrated by the western powers also is underway which also, I am sure, is doomed to fail.

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  22. The comment by John Civillo says it all.. but maybe Keralites should continue to hope that the likes of him are a minority..

    else it is hopeless to even think of a debate!

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  23. Is There Any Doubt that the Decades Old Fascist Propaganda of Hindu ‘Nazis’ is Now Being Taken Care of by the ‘Left’ CM, Kerala?

    The big news reported from New Delhi goes like this:

    PFI wants Kerala to be Muslim-majority state: VS
    25/07/2010 00:14:07

    http://expressbuzz.com/states/kerala/pfi-wants-kerala-to-be-muslim-majority-state-vs/192566.html

    NEW DELHI: Radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) is
    aiming to convert Kerala into a Muslim majority state in the next 20
    years, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here Saturday.

    “For achieving that goal, the outfit is pumping money to attract youth
    and give them weapons. They also try to convert youth from other
    communities and persuade them to marry Muslim girls,” Achuthanandan
    told reporters here.

    The chief minister’s statement came as his Left Democratic Front (LDF)
    government intensified a crackdown on the outfit, whose activists have
    been accused of chopping off one of the hands of a college professor
    for allegedly making derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.

    Justifying the crackdown on the outfit, Achuthanandan said the police
    is closely watching PFI’s activities.The chief minister said the
    outfit tried to create a clean image by organising freedom parades on
    independence day.Various district administrations have already banned
    the parade organised by the PFI every Aug 15, he said.

    Sounding similar to the infamous ‘Love Jihad’ Propaganda, which had been a fiasco for those who wished disruption of communal peace, which just a few months back in time had been rejected with the deserving contempt not just by secular minded Leftists but also by people belonging to the Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths?

    Clash of identities following communal profiling of Muslims,
    though has originally been created in order to have the post 9/11 world in the militaristic control of the US led neo-liberal global
    regime, is there indication that others too are following suit?

    By the way, what is expected from the people of Kerala?
    Don’t they have any role than just being mute spectators/ passive
    victims of these alleged efforts in proselytizing by fundamentalist elements? Lawless police actions, hate propaganda and communal profiling by the cops, media and political leaders only answers?
    How real is your fear of ‘them’ becoming the majority in the next twenty years?
    How can you assume that that will happen, and that the people can’t be trusted, and they will bow down to the arms twisting religious fanatics, and that only your police can stop it?
    Or, imagine it happens out of people’s own volition.
    Is it really good to stop it?
    Or rather, can you stop it?
    what difference will it make, as long as we remain bound by our secular constitution ?
    Communal profiling and motivated actions against Muslims
    (who are already around 26% of all Keralites by the way)
    at whose behest, albeit in the name of combating terrorism ?

    By the by, what about the role of Hindu terrorists already exposed by the investigative agencies in connection with many incidents like Malegav,Mecca Masjid and Ajmeer explosions,Samjautha Express Train bomb blasts, and the cold blooded ‘encounter killings’ of people like Sorabddins and Kausar Banus?

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    1. .even when i share your concern of communal polarisation your comments on the chief minister’s press conference really smack of paid up thought slavery.is not it true that there exist islamist fundamendalists in kerala…then how can a very much needed crackdown on them can be construed as muslim persecution?
      and those hindu terrorists should be punished severely..i dont think anybody will raise the slogan of majority persecution.

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  24. VS, the politician, has made many false accusations in the past. But , when I hear him as the chief minister, i am pretty sure he is talking based on credible information. Don’t compare it with the recent media hype on love jihad.

    If PFI can propogate jihad [give whatever meaning you want] , why should they shy away from love jihad.

    Those ‘strange-secularists’ who are ever-willing to share beds with the worst revivalists, in the name of anti-globalisation campaign, should better learn from the fate of their comrades after the islamic revolution in Iran. ” Enemie’s enemy is a friend”- but for how long ?

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  25. West is not necessarily the benchmark for freedom or secularism. India or any other nation need not follow suit.
    Our traditions, culture et all are ours… we don’t have to necessarily get out of dogmas that are tolerable to be modern or secular or ‘free’.
    Live and let live. Why instigate sentiments? Professor TJ Joseph could have used any other name if he chose to. We cannot deny that his intentions were naughty. While the act was heinous, I would say he brought it on himself…

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