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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

A Mosaic Of Myths

Who wants a martyr in Osama? Certainly not the aam Muslim.

A Mosaic Of Myths
Illustration by Sorit
A Mosaic Of Myths
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Those fond of mapping the Indian Muslim mindscape in flat, homogeneous patterns might perhaps quote separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani’s endorsement of deceased Osama bin Laden as a martyr in the cause of Islam and say it’s reflective of the aam Mussalman’s sentiment. But the hardliner’s voice hasn’t been echoed even by other Hurriyat leaders, some of whom might not be averse to realising their dream of azadi with American and western help in Kashmir, which has a very different Muslim political context from the rest of India. The sentiment closest to Geelani’s voiced by any prominent Indian Muslim is that of Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, who has said, “Hum America ke kahne se hi kisi ko dahshatgard nahin maan lenge (We wouldn’t call anybody a terrorist just because America says so).” But even Bukhari, who can be acerbic and unrestrained, refrains from projecting Osama as Islam’s holy warrior.

In fact, the US execution of its arch enemy has stirred a complex and varied emotional response in Muslim neighbourhoods across India, in which the gloating executioner’s tone weighs more than the death of Osama. For Osama’s rhetoric had only touched Kashmir and never the concerns of other Indian Muslims, yet America’s wars in Muslim lands, wreaking havoc on their inhabitants in the name of punishing Osama and Al Qaeda, had never gone down well with Muslims here. As an example of the nuanced reaction to Osama’s death, I would like to share a maulvi’s words, “In President Obama’s opinion, the victims of 9/11 have got justice with bin Laden’s death. But what about justice to the millions whose lives were destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan?” Words probably harsher than even that of the...

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