Vishnu and the Missing Minarets

Swiss Muslims are Swiss

In response to Jaideep Kulkarni who had asked why Indians should care if the Swiss ban minarets or mosques and whether it should concern us, NDTV’s Vishnu Som gave an astonishing reply. “Yes it does” he said. “It represents a fundamental threat to millions of Muslims in our country.”

Now, what you think of Switzerland’s decision is one thing. It is totally another to declare that the Swiss decision on minaret-building represents a “fundamental threat” to millions of Indian Muslims. So I asked Mr Som to explain why. His response? “Would you’ve been OK if your place of worship was banned in a country based on the premise that people of your religion are terrorists?”

That being neither here nor there, I repeated the question. And also asked if Saudi Arabia’s ban on temples, churches, synagogues and other places of worship also constituted a “fundamental threat” to Indian Hindus, Christians, Jews and others.

Mr Som didn’t reply. He should have known better than to throw about phrases like “fundamental threat to millions of Indians” so carelessly. In fact if the likes of Mr Som don’t hype up the matter, millions of Indian Muslims wouldn’t know, wouldn’t care and would not be threatened by the absence of minarets in a country most of them wouldn’t ever set foot in.

Related Posts: French Sikhs are French; Malaysian Hindus are Malaysians; Fijian Hindus are Fijians and Italy should mind its own business.

147 thoughts on “Vishnu and the Missing Minarets”

  1. I tried hard to picturise Indian Muslims being under grave threat because of the Swiss issue but either I must be lacking in imagination because for the life of me I cannot figure it out. In any case I saw a video which says that Switzerland and in fact the whole of Europe will be majority Muslim in another 50 years, so why worry? 🙂 Its a temporary blip, this minaret ban.

  2. If Vishnu Som is any indicator, the mainstream media’s ignorance and stupidity is only overshadowed by their pompous patronization and pretentiousness to “secular behaviour” and a pigheaded unwillingness to take constructive criticism of any kind. Prostitutiting the truth in the news for political purposes, like Vishnu Som is doing with his open demogoguery, seems to be more of the norm for channels like NDTV.

  3. Vishnu,

    Suppose a country holds a referendum on smoking and bans smoking will you call this a fundamental threat to smokers? I am still unable to understand why it is a fundamental threat to Muslims in India”. You point to links which question the legality of the vote so on and so forth. Fine. But how does it threaten Indian Muslim.

    You ask “how you will feel if my place of worship is banned in some country” but you refuse to answer the question on Saudi Arabia. Doesn’t that show your hypocrisy?

    Also where is the other side of the story. Why did 57% of the people vote for the ban? For all your claims of neutrality I did not see anything from the other side which campaigned for the ban except for your rhetoric like “right wing” “secular bent” . I found Al Jazeera more neutral than NDTV which had a participant who supported the ban who was allowed to talk (unlike what happens most of the time on NDTV).

    I see a parallel in swiss story with Gujarat election. After Gujarat elections you come up with all sort of theories that Modi won because of “communal polarization” “hindutva” etc.. Now take that Gujarat story and replace it with “communal polarization” with “xenophobia” and “Hindutva” with “Islamophobia”. Where is all the talk of upholding the will of the people, democratic rights?

    Murli, I agree with you 100%. More than that these people are less concerned with disseminating news and more concerned with increasing TRPs and making quick bucks. And the easiest way yo do this is create hysteria. Check these 2 headings of news-stories that appeared in NDTV – “Modi’s demolition drive erases temples” or “Jaipur blasts accused tortured on Eid”. There are many more that I can point to.

  4. Vishnu like other indian mediawallahs and intellectuals does not understand what the doctrine of secularism means. Ask each one of them and they will give a completely different answer.
    Once you understand secularism, you will realize that what the Swiss have done falls completely within the ambit of secularism.
    As for this being a threat to IMs. I fail to understand the connection. No sensible person can make head or tail of what we are following in India. Secularism it is not. The state provides Haj subsidies, does not have UCC, provides semi autonomy to Muslim dominated state and controls Hindu temple funds. An outsider would say that this is a state that very much favors Islamism given that non muslims indirectly pay Jaziya and Muslims are awarded special rights.
    There is absolutely no threat to IMs unless India actually adopts secularism.

  5. The likes of Vishnu Som seem to have a fundamental problem understanding the concept of sovereignity, i,.e., the laws of a country only applying withing the boundaries of the state. So Swiss laws that apply to swiss citizens of muslim persuasion CANNOT have any relevance to the rights and responsibilities of an Indian of muslim persuasion, by defnition.

    Islam is not a country — it is a religion like any other, so the question is why is Vishnu Som pretending that muslims affected by the laws in one country (switzerland) will have consequences in another country? Did Vishnu Som really graduate from high school or has he just forgotten elementary lessons in Civics?

  6. Anitajazz rants::
    “I have never seen a bigger bunch of anti-secular clowns in my life.. How could you dare defend the sheer offensive nature of what has happened in switzerland.. its a personal attack on ALL MUSLIMS.. whether in India, turkey or the gulf or wherever.”

    “personal attack” eh? Do you even understand the meaning of the phrase “personal attack”? Let us pretend you are talking sense for a moment — whichIndian muslim was personally attacked? Even Islam was not attacked — mosques can be build as long as it does not go against the rest of the landscape — this is norm in most countries where land records go back centuries and citizens groups need to agree to the construction of any “non-standard” building. This is a whole lot better than how non muslims are treated (like garbage) in Islamic countries like KSA, so if Vishnu Som has any more outrage on this swiss issue, he can stuff it along with the rest of his ignorance.

    Furthermore, an attack on a person’s faith is not illegal — a real journalist (as opposed to these cheap imitations running propaganda rags) would support the right of every person to speak their mind regardless of their political affiliation.

    And yet “super secular” wankjobs in the Indian news media try to make sure only the voice of their pet political party is heard (in addition to the sound of their own voice, which they love), and these same mercenaries will come to places like these and try to give pompous lectures on “the nuances of secularism” to the ignorant and unwashed public, i.e., the rest of us that do not work for NDTV.

  7. This has to be the first time I appreciated getting my head bitten off, simply because it demonstrates that IM’s do not see themselves as different from the cultural fabric of India.

    Trickey, JaiC – However, I am an expat, and outside India, there is still a huge gap in acceptance and understanding of Islamic culture. To insist that this gap does not exist is a little bit like sticking your head in the sand.

    I stand by my argument that if we see a scenario where the liberal section of the Muslim world fails to react with a measured and logical response to counteract the bad blood created by terrorists, this will pose a danger to the peace and security of India as well. It is not only a Babri Masjid that can lead to riots in Mumbai, a Nazi style attack on European Muslims will stoke flames in the streets of India too.

  8. Tejal wrote:
    “a Nazi style attack on European Muslims will stoke flames in the streets of India too.”

    Various terrorist attacks within India targetting specific communities in the past 3 decades have not managed to achieve the above (stoke flames in the streets of India), so would you care to explain how you jumped to the above conclusion that events in Europe will inflame Indian muslims?

    Just projecting one’s paranoia and fear on the rest of the planet is not sufficient reason to make the above claim. You think the rest of the Indian citizens (muslims and non muslims) will be sitting on their palms while religious nutjobs run riots in Indian cities?

  9. Havent posted a comment on the Acorn in months, this is hilarious and tragic at the same time.

    But then we must not be surprised at the “secular bent” Mr. Som alludes to for it is this same bent that saw Indian Muslims politically organized against the fall of the Caliphate in Turkey by a “secular” Kemal Attaturk.

    Politically organizing Indian Mulsims on Pan-Islamist issues is an old trick in the copy book of the Communal Socialists and their Vote bank mobilizers.

    It is for Vishnu Som to reflect on if that is the kind of company he wishes to keep with his “secular bent”.

  10. Let me ask you dirty question. so according to you Mr. Vishnu even Amsterdam’s decision of making pornography and prostitution is threat to Indian girls/women as they might influenced to enter into the business? Its same analogy.
    Second point. If Indian Muslim’s feel threatened by the actions of another country then there is no place in the world they would feel safe except muslim countries. Do they really want this? Indian Muslims need to decide whether they are Indians or Muslims?

  11. Vishnu,

    > But what must be understood is that there is a palpable right-wing
    > backlash against Muslims in several parts of the world …

    I agree with that. Anti-Muslim sentiment, prevalent in many parts of the world, needs to be condemned. However, your conclusion does not follow from that premise. Specifically, I disagree with this argument:

    > This backlash, in its entirely [sic] represents a FUNDAMENTAL threat
    > to Muslims not just in India, but around the world.

    The backlash — even if it happens in Switzerland — can be disconcerting for Indian Muslims. But how is that a fundamental threat to Indian Muslims? In your comment, you haven’t answered that central question. Bigotry doesn’t magically spread across international borders.

    > Iu … chances are I am more educated than you !

    Perhaps the odds were good but you are wrong.

    -iu

  12. My $0.02 on the post and subsequent comments:

    1/ Mr. Som is right in saying that the Swiss move should concern us and in disagreeing with the assumptions inherent in Mr. Kulkarni’s question. This is not the same as saying that the Indian government should take a position on the issue. Theirs has been a regressive move, rightly condemned across the world by mostly non-Swiss and non-Muslims (even if Swiss Muslims are Swiss).

    2/ However, Mr. Som then makes the idiotic statement about it being a fundamental threat to Indian Muslims, which he could have subsequently admitted is a stretch. But he now feels compelled to defend it, which he does badly- and gets no marks for logic or argument.

    3/ That said, several individuals commenting against Mr. Som subscribe to the mainstream-media-is-anti-Hindu-and-pseudo-secular conspiracy theory, and Mr. Som’s poor articulation plays directly into their fantasies. I am hoping Mr. Som does not now come up with some other contorted explanation for the inexcusable Saudi ban on non-Muslim places of worship, which btw also applies to holy texts, ritualistic articles, etc.

    4/ Rule-of-law is indeed admirable principle; however unfair laws should be shown to be such, and in situations of extreme necessity, disobeyed. This was the essential distinction between the worldviews of Gandhi and that scholarly “constitutionalist”, Jinnah. I do not think that the Swiss situation is anywhere close to warranting civil disobedience, and besides, also stands a reasonable chance of being revoked. Democracy by definition is majoritarian rule and unfortunately an imperfect system, especially in societies with polarizable and numerically unequal communities. Which is why all modern liberal democracies (and media therein) go to lengths to safeguard minority rights and sensitivities, in the process exposing themselves to charges of hypocrisy from the fringes.

    Memo to Indian liberals: no need to defend Muslim intolerance elsewhere (or in India) to defend Muslims against intolerance. Besides the importance of the concept itself, in doing so, you play directly into hands of bigots who would rather use identity labels than idea labels, because generalizable identity labels neatly deflects from their own narrow-mindedness.

    Regds

  13. “Rule-of-law is indeed admirable principle; however unfair laws should be shown to be such, and in situations of extreme necessity, disobeyed.”

    The important point is that correcting unfair laws can and must only be done within the confines of the constitution, which is exactly what Gandhiji demonstrated to Indians via his insistence on non-violence, though we are all mostly too stupid to understand him, even though we all do celebrate his birthday very religiously and wear Nehru topis and make long speeches on how to live a low-budget life, right before taking off in their private jet plane back to New Delhi.

    Quite the contrary, today’s so-called intellectuals pay lip-service to Gandhiji’s commitment to non-violence, and then turn around and support the maoists and their violent methods to change unfair rule of law. Malice or incompetence of these intellectuals? you tell me, please.

  14. I have the following questions to Mr.Som

    Secularism and Religious Freedom can they co-exist without conflict of interest?
    And what qualifies as Religious Freedom? What religious actions come under Religious Freedom, what doesn’t?

    As per Mr.Som’s assertion if its true that the IMs’ feel a sense of hurt due to the Swiss Ban, it only buttresses the notion that IM’s always put their religion first. If that’s true then it directly contradicts the notion of a muslims belief in secular state. Isn’t it??

  15. Secularism means a state that:
    (a) does not have a religion
    (b) does not favor anyone, or discriminate against, on account of their relgion
    (c) laws apply uniformly to citizens / residents regardless of their religon

    On these counts, India is NOT a secular state. One does not become a secular state just because it is written in constitution or is chanted so non-stop by its leadership, mediawallahs and self-styled intellectuals (even those with nuanced and secular mind). Secularism has become sort of Bhramashtra that controllers of our public discourse such as VS use whenever they run out of defence and/or stop genuine public debate that concern certain sections or attack some other groups. That has been the standard practice of Nehru and his chelas for last 60 years (amply helped by the group known as Sangh Parivar, perhaps the largest collection of duffers in the history of mankind).

    On the “fundamental threat” and such other idiotic or worse comments by the our media thekedars, we should heed to Patanjali (Yoga Sutra I:33) in 4th sentence that advises us thusly:

    To obtain peace and harmony, we should cultivate

    Friendliness (MAITRI) toward the Joyful (SUKHA),
    Compassion (KARUNA) toward the Suffering (DUKHA),
    Happiness (MUDITA) toward the Virtuous (PUNYA),
    Indifference (UPEKSHA) toward the Unvirtuous/Vice (APUNYA).

    Upeksa is indifference (not anger) toward those who indulge in wrongdoing.

  16. SR Murthy,

    Sometimes the legal structure and constitution can be unfair to a subject population. The whole idea of Gandhi’s civil disobedience was to non-violently protest such unfair laws, which the urbane constitutionalist Jinnah found vulgar and anarchist during their early days together in the INC. So, yes, one can indulge in civil disobedience against a nation’s unjust laws and be non-violent at the same time, and operationalizing this on a massive scale was Gandhi’s great genius. Unfortunately in contemporary India, this principle has been cheapened and used for many less than honorable objectives.

    As you rightly imply, non-violence is a profound principle, not easily grasped by our politicians or pop intellectuals. Gandhi’s own descriptions of his difficulty in understanding and applying that and similar concepts has variously been ridiculed, then and now, by the British, Jinnah and co-ideologues. Anybody who defends violence or chauvinism, be it Maoists or Hindutva-vaadis, are clearly not of the Gandhian bent. I am not aware of the former even claiming to be followers of Gandhi, but I do know of the latter often claiming to be.

    Regards

  17. HT,NDTV,TimesNow,IBN etc..all these channels are hypy..and bloody low quality on content. Once I was a close follower of “We the people”/”Big Fight” on NDTV and all..then I started to realize a pattern. All the guys/gals brought into the discussion are “edgy” on their opinions and no actual sober discussion takes place on the topic. Now my fav is Lokasabha TV..even though it is govt channel..the quality and length of discussion and debates are breath taking..although the audio-video quality of channel isnt exactly HD. I think there should be a strict quality control on journalist by a TRAI equilvalent..so that morons cannot get jobs into such a sensitive and educative medium.

  18. Acorn,

    Your question was pretty simple, Why should Hindus feel bad about Temples not being allowed in Saudi, when we are not bothered about a country , where we might not set our foot in.

    Vishnu Som , like another secularist and mindless internationalist is worried about the Muslim population, when they are in now way linked to the Muslims of
    Swiz or Russia.

    Mr Som , will not answer for sure, cause he has to eat his own words

    Regards,

  19. I’d like to debate Shri Tejal’s views and not necessarily limited to his last post –

    This has to be the first time I appreciated getting my head bitten off, simply because it demonstrates that IM’s do not see themselves as different from the cultural fabric of India.>>

    I disagree with the convenient assumption that Hindusthan’s Muslims do not see themselves as different from this cultural fabric. I disagree because (1)this flies in the face of liberal insistence that this country is multicultural. I.e. Many cultures existing in one country. There is no one fabric. (2)This country’s Muslims have NEVER voiced their opinion against aggression on Hindu symbols of culture anywhere in the world, including this country.

    So, there are in fact two fabrics of culture.

    Trickey, JaiC – However, I am an expat, and outside India, there is still a huge gap in acceptance and understanding of Islamic culture. To insist that this gap does not exist is a little bit like sticking your head in the sand.>>

    I cannot understand why a National society must be forced to accept and understand (not necessarily in that order) something they do not wish to. Something they witness as *distasteful* elsewhere. Something they see as a threat to their own culture.

    I don’t agree with commenters who try to deny that such instincts of *defense” exist. Merely looking at the *vote* and not at the “instinct” that generated the vote is not sensible.

    I stand by my argument that if we see a scenario where the liberal section of the Muslim world fails to react with a measured and logical response to counteract the bad blood created by terrorists, this will pose a danger to the peace and security of India as well. It is not only a Babri Masjid that can lead to riots in Mumbai, a Nazi style attack on European Muslims will stoke flames in the streets of India too.>>

    I don’t know of any “liberal section” of the Muslim world. All such “liberal sections” ultimately rationalize such Muslim behavior. Theologically they stand miserably defeated. They cannot even oppose the unsophisticated Taliban on merits.

    What I find interesting but not uncommon is the view that reaction to Islamic violence leads to “Nazi-like” acts against Muslims. This is amazing because (1) It’s a reaction. Not pro-active action (2) should the victim not possess a threat perception at all? Why are the victims of Islam being disarmed like this?

    In my view, KSA and Muslim countries have the right to their culture in their own lands. I will not argue against their Shar’ia – Civil and Criminal – In their own lands. Since we do most certainly have two nations in Hindusthan, I’m all for Muslims having their Shar’ia – Civil and Criminal. They can retain their Mosques and Minarets too. However, any interference with Hindus and their culture must receive appropriate and reciprocal responses.

    Muslims in Hindusthan are a minority (whole numbers)and must appreciate their position. I agree with Shri Chidambaram when he said the safety of the minority is vested with the National majority.

    A word for the unreal Hindus – Please realize that human instincts to survive is very strong. Each will fight to protect their culture which is verily their own mother, their home. Please do not mislead those of us who have retained this instinct by providing a *scent* that is alien – and then ask us to defend that instead. This is true for all castes and tribes and groups of Hindu society.

  20. One slip of toungue and hell to pay!

    My view. Nothing personal.
    All journos have an inbuilt bullshit genrator that rearranges same key words into strangely convuluted sentence that sounds intelligent make makes no sense!( google it there is one such generator for business terms)

    Now there is nothing wrong in it. No guys can TALK TALK AND TALK and always make sense.

    Guys i am sure he didnt mean what he said !

    CHEERS SOM…. your BS GENERATOR needs an upgrade.

    p.s
    this is take on this!

  21. Vishnu Som is clearly out of his depth and is now crying “uncle!”. He writes in Twitter, “I have ventured into this. Will get out once I finish and will not attempt to confront these types again” “These types”! When you lack the ability to think and reason, smear, label, spit and run, and then declare victory.

  22. Eureka!! Eureka!! Eureka!!

    I can now second “Vishnu’s” opinion. Yes “The Swiz ban” is a fundamental threat to Indian Muslims. This is how the logic works – Now that “Swiz” has imposed a ban, Indian secular fundamentalist in the government will ensure that India-Swiz relations will be derailed. The efforts behind the bringing back of black money will also fail ensuring that THE HAND BEHIND (Cong) India’s corruption will not stand exposed. In this scenario the Cong party will continue cheating Muslims and keep them as vote banks.

    If this is not a fundamental threat then what is? Mr. Vishnudeep Som appreciate your logic.

  23. Wow … as expected … there is an absolute torrent in the number of lengthy replies … and, as expected, I find myself deluged with the views of those who have not understood what it is that I have been trying to explain.

    I haven’t been spared personal attacks and I haven’t spared others as well. And, I suspect, there will be more comments targeting me once this is posted. So be it.

    Nonetheless, thanks to some here for the constructive criticism of some of the points I have raised. I think the central issue which I need to reflect on … in having been accused of hypocrisy … is on the nature of Islam itself in many parts of the world.

    Many have pointed out … in differing arguments .. that Muslim countries are far from being a haven of religious freedoms and that there has historically been a systematic persecution of religious minitories in parts of the middleeast. I suspect many readers here would expect me to defend that position.

    Let me assure you I am neither ignorant nor plain stupid. Its true Mr Murthy, its true !

    Like many of you here, I have studied about the history and the continuity of the clash of civilizations between the Muslim and non-Muslim world. As a former student of Dr. John Sigler, one of the finest Western scholars of the Middle east, I would be the last person to be in denial of the reality of socio-political systems in the region and indeed on the nature of Islam.

    I am not going to justify the whipping of women in Sudan for wearing trousers. Neither am I oblivious to the fact that workers in parts of the Middleeast (many from India) are treated like cattle and that non-Muslims are not allowed freedom to worship in the manner that they want.

    At the same time though … I cannot agree with the lack of respect for the Burka in France and indeed on the ban on minarets in Switzerland. To that end, I agree with the view of the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who says the ban in Switzerland is reminiscent of sectarian wars of the Middle Ages. Accoding to Presstv (http://www.presstv.ir), “Davutoglu warned that the move could incite clashes on a global scale if sufficient measures are not taken.”

    While I don’t see a global war happening on the minaret issue, I do believe that what Davutoglu says fits in with my earlier argument … that this ban on minarets hurts the sentiments of Muslims around the world and in India and to that end, represents a fundamental threat to their beliefs.

    The fundamental challenge, as I understand it, lies in interpreting the dynamic between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. To me, REJECTING extreme debating positions, no matter how extreme the subject matter, is the only way forward. And to that end, I agree with a post in the Huffington Post where Ahmed Rehab writes, “Cynics often deflect attention by pointing out human rights abuses in the Middle East or Asia. The West is right to call out abuses of freedoms in the Muslim-majority world, but it is wrong to pursue a campaign of reciprocity that betrays its own principles as a response. Western Intellectuals are wrong to turn a blind eye to such a farce when it occurs.” And that is precisely what many say is going on in Switzerland, a farce.

    I can already see my detractors licking their chops … Look at Som, they would be saying … pushed into a corner … he has taken a middle of the line position, looking to bail himself out of a hole. Not at all. I believe I have written the truth. In an explosive world hit hard by communal tensions … there can be no one right and one wrong. The battle of civilisations has been going on for centuries and the battlelines are quite clearly demarcated. The Swiss vote seems to give direction to this fundamental struggle in a modern-day context. Ultimately, who is to gain from this and who is to lose ? I believe there is no clear answer.

    I regret having stooped to the level of some of your posters in having replied to them earlier. I could go on and on countering the individual points made by individuals like S R Murthi and Murli but I won’t because what they write is rubbish. It is beneath me to respond to their agenda-driven pearls of disinformation.

    I will, however, say … that the views I express here and on our website are mine. I have never and will never be under pressure from NDTV to write anything that represents a political of corporate dictat. Thats not how we operate.

    Acorn blew a simple debating point into this huge mess … through his initial post where he couldnt wait to see my elaborate points of view. You should not have done that.

    All I have said is this …

    1. The minaret ban is unfortunate.
    2. It hurts the sentiments of Muslims all over the world.
    3. It represents a psychological, not physical threat to the beliefs of Muslims here. A psychological threat can still be a fundamental threat.
    4. There are striking differences between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.
    5. A campaign of reciprocal hate is unfortunate and wrong.

    Whats so terribly incorrect in what I write ?

    Vishnu Som
    Associate Editor and Senior Anchor
    NDTV
    vishnu@ndtv.com

  24. Mr.Som,

    Thanks for your reply. I dont think there is too much wrong in what you wrote. Please ignore the personal attacks. But since you have again written:

    “… 3. It represents a psychological, not physical threat to the beliefs of Muslims here. A psychological threat can still be a fundamental threat. ….”

    Q. Do you think denial of freedom of worship to non-muslims in KSA represents a psychological / fundamental / physical / personal threat to non-Muslims in India and elsewhere in the world?

    If so would you please state that? And what in you opinion does that threat imply?

    You are at liberty to assign a different threat level to this but hopefully you will justify that. Ignore the trolls and baits.

    You are at liberty to ignore this entirely but I wish you wouldnt. This is important.

    Thanks,
    Jai

  25. Vishnu,
    By your logic the absence of freedom to other relions and faiths in some Muslim countries would then represent a fundamental threat to non-muslims all over the world. I am yet to hear you say so. If you do say that then well maybe I will appreciate you for being consistent.

  26. @Mr.Som

    “A campaign of reciprocal hate is unfortunate and wrong.”

    I agree with you that reciprocal hate is a downward spiral.

    However the ban on the minarets is far from this. Do you think Switzerland is least bothered about the religious rights in KSA? I doubt it. This is more of a defensive position on what they see as a cultural invasion.

    The reciprocal hate that you are talking about would fit the incident of Iran having an anti-Semitic cartoon contest in response to the Muhammed cartoon controversy.

    Frankly I feel that the comparison between KSA and Swiz is comparing apples to oranges. The KSA does not in anyway whitewash what they consider as suppression of ‘unacceptable’ religions. After all they are a declared Islamic country. However, Swiz cannot claim to be secular if they only ban the minarets without banning church spires. Ban it if you want to… after all it is your country, but don’t claim to be secular.

    Finally, as for the ‘fundamental threat’, I have only one points to make… Let an Indian Muslim come out and say that it is a fundamental threat and take a stand on it. You (and I) are probably not the best person to pass a judgment on that.

    -Pradeep

  27. Jai asked …

    Q. Do you think denial of freedom of worship to non-muslims in KSA represents a psychological / fundamental / physical / personal threat to non-Muslims in India and elsewhere in the world?

    I believe I have reflected on that. To be sure, there may be many in India who feel traumatised that people of their religion are denied access to their places of worship in the middle east. They may believe the Islamic way of life in the Middleast linked to their system of governance represents a fundamental threat to their religious beliefs.

    But … there is an important difference here. I argue … on the basis of what I have read … that the Swiss decision to ban minarets was based on an underlying assumption of Muslims being terrorists.

    This is not the case in the middleeast. People of other faiths are not seen to necessarily be terrorists or invaders. They are seen to be non-believers and as such cannot be permitted religious freedoms in their system.

    But why just the middleeast ? I can understand the anger of Sikhs in being denied the right to wear their headgear in places in France. That too represents a fundamental threat to a basis of Sikhism, something that would hurt Sikhs in India. While I have spoken about the clash of civilisations between the Muslim and non-Muslim world … its clearly not limited to just that.

    The danger is in people jumping to conclusions. People here have labelled me `sickular,’ pro-Congress, Leftist, soft-headed and being a Nehruvian idealist. Also an idiot. And those were some of the nicer things. But, as I hope I have adequately argued … its perfectly valid to argue that the Swiss ban represents a threat to Muslims in India as well … it is a threat to their religious sentiments. And, as I have briefly argued here, the situation in Switzerland cannot entirely be compared with the prevalent system in the Middleast.

    Whats tough to understand ?

    Vishnu

  28. Vishnu Som wrote:
    > perfectly valid to argue that the Swiss ban represents a threat to Muslims in > India as well … it is a threat to their religious sentiments.

    And how is it a “fundamental” threat?
    Does an Indian Muslim think twice before his prayers because of the Swiss ban?

    Why the fetish with “Guerilla Advertising” words when simpler, more terse and articulate expressions are available.

    The elite Indian crowd somehow wants to be seen as being fluent in a language most linguists agree to be degenerate!

  29. Vishnu,

    “1. The minaret ban is unfortunate.
    2. It hurts the sentiments of Muslims all over the world.
    3. It represents a psychological, not physical threat to the beliefs of Muslims here. A psychological threat can still be a fundamental threat.
    4. There are striking differences between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.
    5. A campaign of reciprocal hate is unfortunate and wrong.

    Whats so terribly incorrect in what I write ?”

    The only major objection is “3”. Scratch that one and there shall be peace 🙂

    A minor objection is 5. “5” assumes that Twitzerland’s action is vendetta driven. My opinion is that it is driver by a political agenda.

    Another minor objection is “2”. A thick skin is the need of the hour. Either that or we give up free speech.

  30. See, I think that Vishnu’s initial views were reflexive and off-the-cuff. Unsurprisingly, they betrayed a mind well trained in the much-loved lowest-common-denominator school of Indian political thought. I mean no disrespect to Vishnu by this. But I do think that his defense of his position was admirable and his response on his “fundamental threat” remark is as good an example of post-hoc rationalisation as any I’ve seen.

    Yet I think that his views are not unstatable as many here have tried to portray. Consider this:

    Vishnu’s argument posits that, if the Swiss-ban trend continues, Muslims may soon come to be seen as LESS DESERVING of the rights and privileges enjoyed by other members of society. To that extent, his argument actually goes to Nitin’s theory of competitive intolerance.

    If the Swiss ban is thus seen, it could indeed be viewed as a “fundamental threat” to utilitarian principles of freedom, equality and justice.

    If long fought-for principles of equality and justice wither away in their (self-declared) bastion, then chances are that such intolerance will spread- and that too with a dangerous legitimacy attached. Should this happen, Muslims everywhere will be the first targets of this newly-sanctified intolerance

    I’m not saying I agree with Vishnu’s argument in the final calculation. But I do think that dismissing his view without first appreciating its relative merits does not help anybody.

    I think Vishnu has a point. You just have to hunt for it amidst the self-righteousness, hurt pride and ad-hominem attacks that form an unjustiafiably large part of his response

    cheers

  31. Its unfortunate that Vishnu now rests much of his argument on the Clash of Civilisations theory. I thought Somalia and Sundan had packed off that little gem. I guess not for everyone

  32. Mr.Som,

    I get some of that, including even the difference btwn Sw and the KSA. Re. the underlying assumption in the Swiss move, I dont know if it goes as far as “Assumed to be terrorists” but its clear it was driven by nasties who drummed up a significant mistrust and some fear among the people. I hope this decision is reversed.

    But starting from this point:

    “… they are not seen as terrorists. They are seen to be non-believers and as such cannot be permitted religious freedoms in their system….”

    (BTW this is a gross misunderstanding of many basic principles of Islam per blogs IM.in and conversations with Muslims. Am not a Muslim myself. Helpful if some Muslim could clarify)

    Q. Do you think the mindset that prescribes this treatment for non-believers is anyway responsible for propagating and financing itself, its beliefs and ideology to other countries?

    Q. Do you think this has resulted in increased threat perceptions among non-Muslims in these other countries?

    Q. Do you think this has resulted in actual violence (not threatened violence) against non-Muslims in these other countries?

    Q. Do you think this perception or act of violence is a threat of some kind, maybe not fundamental, to non-Muslims in India and elsewhere?

    Thanks,
    Jai

  33. Shri Som delicately side-steps the issue of Islamic denial of freedom of worship to non-Islamic faiths.

    The big point is that this denial is mandated by Islam. That’s the link with the Swiss ban on minarets (a partial and half hearted ban on Islamic architecture – not a ban on Islamic worship and on Mosques).

    So when non-Muslims are traumatized by denial in Islamic countries; they are expected to lump it – cows that they are. And that’s why I suspect, Shri Som would never write a tweet about a Fundamental Threat to Hindus or Christians or Sikhs. (It took this incident for him to even mention the French ban on the turban – not that I oppose it)

    It’s clear that Shri Som is afraid of the severity of the Muslim backlash and wishes the silly Swiss had not disturbed the hornet’s nest.

    It’s a pity that Shri Som legitimizes the absurd display of Turkish gangsterism.

    All of this, he expects non-Muslims to buy.

  34. If we, the Swiss, make rules to defend our freedom from Moslem aggression, we are offending the sensitivities of Moslems in general and Indian Moslems in particular? Amusing indeed!

    Should we say that this trivialisation offends all those who stand up to Moslem aggression? Any apologies in order?

    Rik

  35. BTW my own answers. I think I am done here. Nice talking to you.

    Q. Do you think the mindset that prescribes this treatment for non-believers is anyway responsible for propagating and financing itself, its beliefs and ideology to other countries?
    —- Yes

    Q. Do you think this has resulted in increased threat perceptions among non-Muslims in these other countries?
    —- Not just non-Muslims. Muslim friends have deplored this. They feel threatened by this view.

    Q. Do you think this has resulted in actual violence (not threatened violence) against non-Muslims in these other countries?

    —- Violence has been committed, while some of it targets non-Muslims, much of it against everybody, including Muslims.

    Q. Do you think this perception or act of violence is a threat of some kind, maybe not fundamental, to non-Muslims in India and elsewhere?

    —- Its a problem for everybody.

    rgds,
    Jai
    PS- On another track, Hindutva being propagated right here in India is a clear and present threat to non-Hindus, esp Muslims in India. Luckily its fortunes appear to be in decline politically but its still a problem for all of us in India. If it had the reach and the ability, maybe it would try to threaten Muslims elsewhere also. So far, I dont think it has; but if it does no issues with calling it a worldwide threat.

  36. Respected Mr.Som,
    1. The minaret ban is unfortunate, but the decades-old neglect of the Muslim community in Hyderabad (areas ruled by MIM/Congress), just for vote-bank politics, isn’t?
    2. Maybe, it does. But, people are not that weak, as you seem to be assuming. And for one, they don’t need a Supermullah named Vishnu. They’ve got their Darul Ulooms and their fatwas.
    3. You’re missing the point. We asked “What exactly do you mean by fundamental threat?” Is it a threat that endangers their existence, or the practicing of their religion? What exactly is it? Please propound.
    4. Are you acknowledging that all religions are not the same?
    5. And, how was the SVP Swiss vote’s basis any different from your assumption that what we here say is agenda-driven disinformation?

    Sir, I wish you would look at this an opportunity to interact with us, the youth of this nation, the so-called future. We are willing to learn, and are not brick walls standing in your way. It would be a pleasure if you could progress “forward” on this debate, without getting too distracted.

  37. Mr. Som,

    I did not call you an idiot, only that statement of yours idiotic. On hindsight, it was harsh and I apologize. Unthinkingly articulated is probably closer to the truth. I still do not buy your rationalizations for that statement, and you should discontinue giving any. I also agree with you that your statement has been blown up. As badly articulated as it was, I do not think it deserved the prominent showcasing that it got here; but then you have to understand there exists a whole parallel universe that thinks there is massive collusion between communists-islamists-secularists-Vatican & Indian MSM to propagate the Qaeda agenda and hide crimes against Hindus. I only mildly exaggerate. That constituency is significant, and it is growing. And that statement of yours fits perfectly within their narrative.

    Regds

  38. Vishnu Som wrote:

    “But … there is an important difference here. I argue … on the basis of what I have read … that the Swiss decision to ban minarets was based on an underlying assumption of Muslims being terrorists.”

    Then you have read wrong. That is your assumption, Vishnu Som. They do not want their way of life to be overridden by any other. Why don’t you find out if you can go build a 20 storey high-rise in switzerland (or the netherlands) and see if let you build one? They will give the same reason they gave for these minarets — they do not like minarets from alien cultures dotting their landscape, and they are well within their rights to state as such.

    This is plain and simple zoning laws that require permission of the locals who are attached to the architectural landscape of their country. Their country, their laws. You don’t like it? tough, stay out of that place.

    “I can understand the anger of Sikhs in being denied the right to wear their headgear in places in France. That too represents a fundamental threat to a basis of Sikhism, something that would hurt Sikhs in India. ”

    But “causing emotional hurt to Indian sikhs” is a stupid line — What you want to do? kiss their boo-boo and tell them it will all be okay (it won’t).

    So here is the bottom line for the types of Vishnu Som who seem to be wearing a reality-resistant helmet:

    If you are an adult of Indian origin and you want to live in France or Switzerland or Timbuktu, do not buy your plane ticket until you understand that your culture might be alien to the natives of those place, and they may not be a tolerant to it. If you do not like their intolerance, do not buy that ticket.

    So if you cannot follow your native culture by wearing a spoon in your underwear or a knife in your hat out there — SUCK IT UP AND GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE (or move back to India). When you leave India, there is no guarantee that any other place will be friendlier to you than India is to your native culture and that is the way of the world. Get on with the program an quit complaining.

    People who managed to rise up to top jobs in journalism without managing to evoke the Peter Principle should come down to earth and realize that journalists are just observers and reporters of reality and they do not speak for any group of Indians, neither muslims nor sikhs nor hindus. They should keep their own moronic definitions of “secularism” to themselves and do their day job of being journalist properly.

    Footnote: These tools in the Indian media like to opine about every irrelevant nonsense on the other side of the world while ignoring the myriad serious issues right under their nose. And no, accepting their mistake and their stupidity is apparently not in the rule book of these tools too. No wonder watching news shows the Indian media feel like wading in a steaming pile of donkey vomit — turn your TV off and pick up a book.

  39. “And, as I have briefly argued here, the situation in Switzerland cannot entirely be compared with the prevalent system in the Middleast.

    Whats tough to understand ?”

    What is tough for me to understand is whether you are aware of this thing known as “logical consistency” in your thinking — I mean, the lack of such a thing in the way you think.

    The only logically consistent position one can take is:

    The ME countries have every right to deny the culture of outsiders in their country, so do the swiss, which is a logically consistent position.

    Your position is:

    The ME countries have every right to deny the culture of outsiders in their country but Switzerland and France do not.

    My understanding of why you are saying this that since you have advanced degrees on the middle-east and are well aware of the barbaric culture in those parts, you find their behaviour of contempt for minorities understandable, but the Swiss wear three-piece suits and speak fine english and they are advertising themselves as a secular country and they need to follow different rules. That is just a bogus way to view the world.

  40. Stating plain facts these days invites accusations of “personal attack!”, so here is a “personal attack” going Mr Som’s way: in his rambling reply he bs’ed about the bush a great deal, but still didn’t answer the central question:

    How is the *Swiss* minaret ban a threat (fundamental or otherwise) to *Indian* Muslims?

    He stated that minaret ban is bad.
    He claimed that the ban “hurts the sentiments” Muslims worldwide

    Without disputing either of the statements –what is the logical leap from these statements to imagining a threat to Indian Muslims?

    Som claims to be taking a centrist position. Not at all. He is taking the same position as any Islamist cleric would. For the only way a threat to Indian Muslims can be imagined is the extremist’s way: “Muslims are global ummah; national boundaries do not apply; any perceived challenge from any unbeliever to Muslims anywhere in the world is a threat to all Muslims all over the world by all unbelievers; ergo all Muslims cutting across national identities must unitedly fight the enemy”, etc, etc.

    This is the same logic that musters transnational Islamist armies to fight in regional “freedom fights” like Kashmir, Palestine and Chechnya. To claim this communal logic as “centrist” is to claim that Barkha Dutt is a champion of blogger freedom. LOL material, seriously.

  41. Murthy,

    1. ““its a personal attack on ALL MUSLIMS.. whether in India, turkey or the gulf or wherever.personal attack” eh? Do you even understand the meaning of the phrase personal attack”? Let us pretend you are talking sense for a moment”

    Personal attack murthy is that it personally effects the feelings of muslims at a PERSONAL level..Was that not obvious ??? ANother personal attack is that you most likely have a very modestly sized pen is.. really small…we are talking about a shrimp sized embarrassment

    2. “Islam is not a country — it is a religion like any other, so the question is why is Vishnu Som pretending that muslims affected by the laws in one country (switzerland) will have consequences in another country? Did Vishnu Som really graduate from high school or has he just forgotten elementary lessons in Civics?”

    Som may or may not have graduated from high school , but he seems to have enough of a life not to post 15 times in 24 hours, pursuing some inane angle that only you care about..i mean, are you that bored? that lonely? have u ever been with a woman before? Before you Alt Tab back to the porn site where you spend your time between these laughable posts, think hard and think deep

    3. and finally Murthy NDTV and all other channels are businesses which are built to earn money for their shareholders or stakeholders.. If they need to spew out stuff which you dont like DONT WATCH IT.. if you read as many books as you claim, then i have no idea where you found the time to form such an opinion about these channels which are beneath you..

    Finally in the entire NDTV channel, i rate Vishnu as one of the top three-four journalists.. for the work he has done on war, famine, floods, disasters and more.. what have you done in life?

    Anita

  42. Oldtimer, you are exactly right. Vishnu Som is extending the same argument we see from the Ahl-e-hadith and Lashkar-e-toiba jihadi terrorist types, that Islam is not a religion but a way of life that transcends national boundaries and that if muslims are “treated badly” in one country, the other muslims in another country are justified in commiting random acts of violence and terrorism against non believers.

    No wonder many people here and elsewhere saw an insidious campaign of instigating communal hatred in Vishnu Som’s rhetoric.

  43. Concur with Oldtimer and SR Murthy that Vishnu is unwittingly promoting a pan-Islamism sentiment. See my earlier posts in the thread.

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