Islam-watch: A Platform for Religious Propaganda or Enlightenment?
19 Jan, 2009
Below is a letter we received from a well-wisher of our Website about his concern whether Islam-watch is becoming a religious propaganda tool, especially one for Hinduism.
We started this Website as a nontheistic, freethinking platform; we push for enlightenment. We profess progressivism, liberal humanism. We focus on the criticism of Islamic so that Muslims can make informed choices about their religion, leave it and join the global humanity unchained by religious, racial, national biases. I am publishing this letter here to assure our readers, who might have similar misgivings because of some slightly out-of-track postings, that we are determined to be on our original mission.
I have a few issues regarding the material being posted on Islam-Watch. I would like to mention a few things that have been disturbing me since some days and I wish to share my criticism with you. Kindly take my criticism in a positive vein.
First of all, I am highly perplexed by the articles by Dr. Radhashyam Bharmachari. I am specifically speaking about his articles in which he is inviting Muslims to Hinduism. My problem is that even though he does a good job of exposing what Islam has done to the subcontinent, his appeal for Muslims to convert to Hinduism is a bit dumb. I doubt if any Muslim apostate would ever consider Hinduism as a choice. Now whether we like it or not, the reality is that some people did convert from Hinduism in order to get out of the Caste order which is a part and parcel of Hinduism.
Hence I fail to understand how possibly the Muslim would benefit by going into a belief system that encourages dowry, casteism, etc.
Hinduism today is a bigger quagmire than Islam. Hindus, for the most part, are confused and many of the Urban Hindus are becoming Atheist in the absence of a belief system.
I agree that Hinduism is not dogmatic, yet for a Muslim to embrace Hinduism there is no incentive. Just because my ancestor was a Hindu does not mean that I should also take up his belief system.
I feel Hindus should first set their own house in order before asking Muslims to convert to their religion.
Another fact that also has to be taken into consideration is that Islam-Watch is basically an Atheist site; by allowing such articles we would also be paving the way for followers of other religions like Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, etc. to propagate their faith.
Don't you think that this would basically lead Muslims from one hell hole to another? True, they wont become Jihadis, but they wont be enlightened either.
MA Khan's response:
I understand your concerns; Prof. Brahmachari's this series of articles (Muslim Brothers of Indian Subcontinent: It's Time for Homecoming) undoubtedly goes a bit out of track. Furthermore, our forum, which we try not to control, has become the playground of believers, mostly Hindus, followed by Christians. On it, nontheistic views are smacked down almost like Islamist views. In these circumstances, many a reader may have misgivings like yours as some articles, apparently professing religious views, started appearing in our content section.
Indeed, I have been conscious of a similar concern myself. That
is why I have added an editor's note at the top of Prof.
Brahmachari's articles in this series. So far, his articles in the
series haven't been of seriously preaching nature. I have disallowed
Part III, which had such concern. I hope, the series concludes in
similar note; I am, at best, willing to conclude the series with an
appeal to Muslims for returning to the historically tolerant,
nonviolent, chivalrous civilization of Hindustan or Hinduism, not to
the strictly scriptural Hindu creed.
Enlightenment, at its first stage, may lead religious people into
a quagmire. Descent of believers into a quagmire is not a bad thing;
it is good for their eventual enlightenment, it is the first step.
Atheism is the final destination of humankind. I see descent into
quagmire is the preceding stage to enlightenment, to atheism.
Given the kind of feelings Muslims entertain toward idolatry, I
am somewhat sceptical about ultimate outcome of Prof. Achari's call
to Hinduism is going to make on his Muslim audience. But having been
aware of what Islam has committed to Hindus, to Indian civilization—which
you are as aware as I am—I just felt
sympathy that a "peaceful call" for Muslims' return to their root
deserves to be heard.
I believe in shocking Muslims. This is one of them too. A call to
Hindu civilization, making a case of whatsoever sort, is
unbelievable to Muslims. Such shocks of all sorts, I believe, will
desensitize Muslims; it would make them more thick-skinned,
eventually less violent.
I am not a firm believer like Ali Sina that Islam will collapse
and cease to exist—at least, not in a few
centuries. If some Muslims even take up Prof. Brahmachari's call to
Hinduism, that will make their transition to quagmire, and
eventually to enlightenment, easier for them. We loose nothing.
Yet, I am most conscious that we don't loose our credibility regarding the principles, set out in our mission statements. I will keep my vigilance over it as best as I can. Alerting us to any likely failure of our judgment, as you have done, will always be welcome and help us keep on track.