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Some Myths About Muslims

April 12, 2014

Received via Shankar Gopalakrishnan

As the 2014 elections begin, the time has come again to state the obvious. In the context of massive propaganda campaigns, the subtle use of stereotypes, and the fact that both the Western and the Indian media share certain basic biases, many people end up believing in a range of myths about the adherents of the world’s second largest religion. This is a quick attempt at exposing those myths.

Myth: ‘Muslim’ countries are never secular. Muslims do not tolerate minorities in ‘their’ countries but demand minority rights in other countries.

The world’s largest Muslim majority country is Indonesia (total population approximately 25 crores, larger than Pakistan). Indonesia is a secular democracy. Indeed, its population is almost a mirror image of India’s – 88% Muslim, 9% Christian, 3% Hindu, 2% Buddhist, etc. (as compared to India, which has a population that is 80% Hindu, 13.4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, etc.) Indonesia’s national slogan is “Unity in Diversity.” Yes, Indonesia has occasional riots and bomb blasts, but so does India.

In reality the majority of Muslim majority countries in the world are secular. Several large examples include Turkey, Mali, Syria, Niger, and Kazakhstan. Despite having Islam as ‘state religion’, Bangladesh’s government is also secular in law. The same is true of many other countries. Only six countries in the world claim to use Islam as the basis of their law making – and their total population is roughly the same as the population of Indonesia, Turkey and Kazakhstan combined. In other words, the vast majority of Muslim majority countries are secular, and the vast majority of Muslims live under secular governments.

Myth: Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims.

Even if we accept the government’s definition of who is a terrorist in India, this is entirely untrue. In India, less than a third of the organisations banned as “terrorist” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act are Muslim organisations. Internationally, the group that engaged in the most suicide bombings in the world was the LTTE in Sri Lanka – a militantly atheist group whose members are mostly of Hindu and Christian origin.

It is also not true that Muslim organisations engage in the most violence in India. Between 2005 and 2014, as per the South Asia Terrorism Portal, twice as many people were killed in ‘terrorist incidents’ by Northeastern militant organisations and “left wing extremism”. These are all non-Muslim organisations, and the largest Northeastern organisation in this period (ULFA) has a mostly Hindu, upper caste leadership.

Besides, the definition of “terrorism” that the government uses is contradictory. Killing twenty people by a bomb blast is considered terrorism, but the killing of thousands of people in 1984 or more than a thousand people in Gujarat in 2002 (or, for that matter, the killing of 40 people in Muzaffarnagar, 68 people in Orissa in 2008, etc. etc.) are not. All riots involve planning, stockpiling of weapons and systematic attacks. Why then are they not considered terrorism?

Myth: Muslims have always been fundamentalists and are ‘more religious’ than followers of other religions.

Recent history shows that this is a lie, and also exposes where current “Muslim fundamentalism” comes from. Just forty to sixty years ago, in most of the major regions of the world with high Islamic populations – Indonesia, the Middle East, north Africa – the strongest political forces were secular leftists. This took many forms: the Indonesian Communist Party, the Nasserite and Baa’thist regimes in Egypt, Syria and Iraq, the Iranian government of Mohammed Mossadegh, etc. In these countries, especially in the Middle East, it was the United States and its client states (such as Saudi Arabia) that sponsored, financed and armed right wing and religious fundamentalist organisations, precisely in order to counter the strength of the secular leftists whom they opposed. Israel’s role in propping up Hamas to counter the PLO is also well known. This reached its height in the 1980s with the war in Afghanistan, with the US bankrolling and training the people who later founded Al Qaeda. It was during this period as well that the US financed and supported the Zia regime in Pakistan in its “Islamisation” drive. The current strength of the Islamic fundamentalist movement in the Middle East is a result of American strategy, which involved finishing off all leftist resistance while tolerating and encouraging Islamic fundamentalism.

Above all, to repeat the key point, Islamic fundamentalism is a political phenomenon created by a particular history – just like Hindutva, Christian fundamentalism and every other form of right wing movement. The myth of the inherently fundamentalist Muslim owes a lot to European mythmaking around the Crusades and subsequent efforts to prop up their empire in India. But people continue to recycle colonial self-justifications as if they are true.

Myth: Muslims always start violence. Hindus only ‘retaliate’ or ‘act in self defence’.

Every single group that has ever engaged in mass killings has claimed to be ‘retaliating’ or ‘defending themselves’.’  The September 11 attacks in the US were justified as “retaliation” for the killing of lakhs of people in Iraq (through sanctions) and in Palestine by the US and Israel.  If you believe the emails being sent before the Delhi and Ahmedabad bomb blasts in 2008, the blasts were “retaliation” for police atrocities and the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.  In 2008 Christians were massacred in Orissa in “retaliation” for the killing of a VHP leader. Going back further in history, the Nazis justified the Kristallnacht– their first state-sponsored riot against Jews, in which thousands of synagogues and homes were destroyed – by claiming it was “retaliation” for the murder of a German diplomat and necessary to ‘defend themselves’ against ‘international Jewry’.

The reason for this is simple – the only way to convince people to commit inhuman atrocities against other people is to make them believe that they are “defending themselves” or “paying back.” The sheer inhumanity of talking about “retaliation” is obvious. Would those who claim “Hindus only retaliate” be comfortable if a Bihari militia were to massacre Maharashtrians as “retaliation” for attacks by the MNS and the Shiv Sena? Would they accept if Northeastern armed organisations carried out massacres of Delhiites in “retaliation” for atrocities and racism against Northeasterners in the capital? It is a mark of how low we have come as a society that so many people go around mouthing these slogans today, as if gangrape and massacres can ever be justified by “retaliation” and “self-defence.”

Myth: Hindus do not kill based on their religion. Only Muslims do, because their religion requires them to.

In Gujarat in 2002, in Delhi and other cities in 1984, in Bhagalpur in 1989, and in most other riots, the overwhelming majority of those who died were from minority communities (Muslims, Sikhs, etc.) Then we have the recent instances of bomb blasts by Hindutva organisations. The majority of the killers in all of these incidents were Hindus, and the organisations that drove the killings called on them to kill non-Hindus. Would it be accurate to say they killed because Hinduism required them to do so? No, clearly, in all those instances, the attackers and the organisers were political groups seeking political goals (and dressing them up as religious goals). This is exactly what far right Muslim groups do too.

Every religion has groups that urge conflict with other religions, and holy texts in every religion contain things that endorse atrocities (just look at the what the Manu Smriti says about women and Dalits, or the Old Testament of the Bible says about massacres of non-Jews). This does not mean that followers of those religions follow those texts literally. The vast majority of Muslims, like the vast majority of Hindus, Christians, or any other group, have never killed anyone and never will.

Myth: Muslims are united and act together, while Hindus are divided and weak.

Every election study ever done has found that Muslims vote in the same manner as any other community votes – for facilities, on the basis of the candidate, whether they like a political party, etc. In practice also Muslims are no more united than any other group; they have internal divisions on religious, caste, gender, regional, language and countless other lines, just like any other community in India. If Muslims were “united”, one would expect that they would be represented well in Parliament. In fact, Muslim MPs constituted only 5.5% of the outgoing Lok Sabha, even though they are more than 13% of the population.

If anything, in today’s cities the idea of “Muslims all live together” has been created by discrimination against them and them being forced to live in particular ghettos. Meanwhile, in voting, people worry about their own physical safety; just as a Bihari will not vote for a Shiv Sena candidate, most Muslims would not vote for the BJP. This is, once again, common sense. A party which has built itself around calling you foreigners, terrorists and anti-nationals is not likely to win your vote.

Myth: The government favours Muslims and pampers them.

On the contrary, official data indicates systematic discrimination against Muslims.  The Sachar Committee found that availability of bus stops, roads, bank branches etc. is lower in Muslim majority areas, even when compared to nearby villages with a Hindu majority. Muslims on average received only 2/3 the loan amounts disbursed to other minorities.  The proportion of Muslims living in pucca houses is lower than the general population, both in cities and in villages, even if compared to others at their level of poverty.  Muslims form less than 3% of the IAS officers and 4% of IPS officers, even though their population is about 13% of the total. Overall, the Sachar Committee concluded that on average Muslims are at roughly the same socioeconomic level as Dalits and adivasis.

Similarly, in a study published in the Economic and Political Weekly in 2007, the authors responded to 548 job advertisements from private sector companies with three identical applications – one with a high caste Hindu name, one with a Dalit name, and one with a Muslim name. Even though the applications were otherwise identical, the Dalit name was approximately one third less likely to get called for an interview, and the Muslim name was two thirds less likely. In both the public and the private sectors, Muslims are denied opportunities across the board.

Myth: But Hindus cannot buy land in Jammu and Kashmir!

Non-Kashmiris cannot buy land in J&K – just as non-Himachalis cannot buy land in Himachal Pradesh, outsiders cannot enter Nagaland without permission, non-Uttarakhandis can buy only small plots in Uttarakhand, etc. Many parts of India have these regulations to protect local populations. The issue has nothing to do with religion.

Myth: The Muslim population is increasing faster than the Hindu population, especially because Muslim men can have many wives. Their aim is to become the majority.

The National Family Health Survey has found that young Muslim women have the same fertility rate as young Hindu women of the same economic level. The slightly higher growth rate for Muslims overall is due to the fact that, on average, Muslims are poorer than Hindus. Common sense would also indicate this. Kerala, which has a Muslim population of approximately 25%, also has the lowest population growth rate of any State in the country. Poverty and lack of facilities are far more important than religion in deciding how many children you have. The fertility rate of Muslims in States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala is far below that of Hindus in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Rajasthan, for instance.

As for Muslim men marrying many wives, it is blindingly obvious that this can make no difference to population growth, since if one Muslim man has two wives, that means some other man will have no wife (given that the populations of men and women are roughly equal). Meanwhile, the NFHS found (in the only survey that looked at this) that approximately 5.8% of Hindu men have multiple wives, while only 5.73% of Muslim men do.

Myth: Muslims got ‘their’ country when Pakistan was created, now they should leave ‘our’ country.

The first active political leaders to talk of separate countries for Muslims and Hindus were those who would later be part of the Hindu Mahasabha. Bhai Paramanand, later president of the Mahasabha, demanded this in 1905. The demand for Pakistan did not emerge from the Muslim League until 1940, and then as well it was a political demand by a political party. Huge numbers of Muslims opposed the idea of Pakistan, including the biggest Islamic religious school in India – the Deoband seminary – and President of the Congress party, Maulana Azad, who was one of India’s greatest freedom fighters. The demand for Pakistan was a demand by a political party, not a demand by Muslims as a whole.

In short, it’s simple: Muslims are human beings, with as much diversity and free thinking as any other group of people. In this climate of intense hate-mongering against Muslims, it’s necessary to reject these racist myths and instead stand up for a world that values human dignity.

82 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2014 12:09 PM

    An important article – these communal soundbites are circulating extremely widely on social media. They are repeated endlessly on twitter and for many people have become manifest truths. The article is now linked to from here:

  2. Hina permalink
    April 12, 2014 12:22 PM

    exactly, there is only one secular law in Indonesia. In India, Muslims have a separate law, which is not secular!

    • Nivedita Menon permalink
      April 12, 2014 1:17 PM

      Hina – every religious community in India has a separate religious ‘personal’ law that covers marriage, divorce, inheritance and so on. This include Hindus. I may claim to be an atheist, but if I am born into a Hindu family, I am covered by the Hindu personal law whether I like it or not. This is one of the many boons of the British. There are very few general laws for all citizens on these matters, and the few there are, are the result of intense lobbying by feminist and democratic rights groups and from reform-oriented voices from inside communities. And let me anticipate the next comment from you or from someone else – no, a Uniform Civil Code is not the answer to gender injustice in religious personal laws.
      The issue of the uniform civil code is not in fact about “secularism” – the relationship between religious communities and the state. It is about gender-injustice – the constitutionally enshrined inequality between men and women. The fact is that all laws on marriage, inheritance and guardianship of children, discriminate against women. They are discriminated against differently by the different religious laws, but every single one of the religious personal laws discriminates against women.
      Why is legal uniformity seen as a virtue? Each religious community is a heterogeneous one, and “Hindu” “Christian” and “Muslim” practices differ widely from region to region of India, from sect to sect. Some of these practices are better for women than others, and making them all “uniform” is not only not a solution to gender-based injustice, it is not even a viable option – what is the uniform standard that will be adopted? The attempt to bring about uniformity has never worked well for women. The Hindu Code Bills, passed in 1955 and 1956, did not reform Hindu personal laws, they merely codified them, that is, brought the heterogeneous practices among Hindus into conformity with what was assumed to be the only “Indian” norm – North Indian, upper-caste practices. Other practices were explicitly characterized during the debates in parliament, as being un-Indian. Several scholars have shown that ending the diversity of Hindu law as it was practiced in different regions destroyed existing, more liberal provisions for women in many cases.
      Separate personal laws in India do not mean “appeasement of minorities”. It means “appeasement of men” of all communities. So I am not making a defence of the existing personal laws. There is nothing primordial or pristinely apolitical about these laws. The personal laws being defended in the name of religious freedom are colonial constructions of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Hindu Code in 1955 merely completed the process of congealing “Hindu” identity begun in the 19th century, by defining as “Hindu” anyone who is not Muslim, Christian or Parsi. That is the official definition of Hindu in this country – if you are not this that or the other, you are Hindu, despite your protestations to the contrary. Similarly, the Shariat Act of 1937 fixed the boundaries of the “Muslim” community, while earlier, customary laws had been widely followed.
      The following of heterogeneous practices need not be inherently inegalitarian, nor the imposition of a uniform law necessarily the opposite. The women’s movement supports initiatives within communities to bring about reforms, so that the rights of women do not become a casualty to the fear of minority communities that reform of personal laws is only a pretext for eroding their identity in this sharply polarised polity. It is not a paradox that some Islamic states have managed to reform laws in the interests of women. When a minority community is threatened with annihilation, the obvious response is to close ranks. It is when a community is confident that it can afford to be self-critical.
      What the women’s movement demands is the bringing about of gender justice within both religious and secular laws.

      • Mehfuz Rahman permalink
        April 13, 2014 8:38 AM

        Definetly muslims are way beyond thinking of gender justice but I don’t think in india it works I have never seen, we are not in middle east where some group of muslims are extremist,how come after living in democartic nation muslims are used to provoke hindu and vice a muslim and a hindu has a common thing that they have came over such pathetic issue because people are now focusing on standard of living,keeping financial tracks and being a good earner people are struggling daily, hindu muslims after 10 years, no one will exist, I think a common enmy will be there I.e mathmatics of living, fullfilling financial needs and somehow managing to survive with a way less saving than religous sentiments are smaller than financial needs for both, so better both stop at time else someone poor from the side of hindu or muslim will be a victim, and people like us who loves arguing and posting and making people know our values will be having again a lot of topic to discuss..only a innocent and poor will always be a victim doesn’t matter who…let’s all stop thinking that we are against each other than any means as a citizen let’s take an indian ride rather than religious or sentimental.

        • Bhattacharyya permalink
          April 14, 2014 9:18 AM

          Absolutely right. After a long time read a sensible post. We must analyze how much importance we should give such articles and how they can help. We must see fights between communities as a fight for resources, religions are just the rallying point. This is not to say that a well distributed society will have no animosity or identity politics, ‘identity’ may not be religious but something as deadly. We must break the knees of such politics which labels people, instead of seeing them as individual free of all conditioning. I guess only then, true spirit of fraternity will get space regardless of a constitutional bindings.

        • June 3, 2014 10:06 PM

          Completely agree… We are humans, we all should respect to each other…

      • Saira-Aziz permalink
        April 14, 2014 10:38 PM

        Good article. However, what is the long rant in response to Hina’s question about? Why do we need any religious law to be followed by anyone in this country? Any problem with modern secular enlightened civil law. An uniform civil code is a response to gender injustice as long as it replaces any other law. Presumably that is what uniform civil code implies to most people. It does not mean that it exists side by side with religious personal especially since all religious personal law discriminates against half the population. You are correct about it not being minority appeasement – far from it, it panders to so called representatives of the community, mostly mullahs with their head buried in the sand. In fact it’s the worst stereotyping of a community that one can make and is the result of the communal lens through which so-called progressives see everything. Even medieval kings tried to put the mullahs in place but the Republic of India seems to love them. Most of them are not people learned in Islamic jurisprudence but simply prayer leaders i.e. prayer leaders. It makes no difference whether these prayer leaders are Shahi Imams or mohollah Imams. Either way they have no business talking about things they are incompetent to judge. And oh btw – it is the middle and lower-middle classes who listen to mullahs, not the vast illiterate urban poor.

        As for supposed changes to Hindu law, yes it might have decreased some diversity although I’m not sure whether there is as much diversity in the personal law Hindus follow. It did not codify existing practices. Could Hindus get divorced for example, before the 66 law. Haven’t you seen Guru Dutt’s mysoginistic movie about it?

    • Nivedita Menon permalink
      April 15, 2014 9:33 AM

      Saira-Aziz, what you call a long “rant” is a detailed account of Indian feminist and women’s movement’s understanding of the debate on the Uniform Civil Code. The UCC invariably comes up when such a discussion starts – ‘we Hindus are so progressive, we gave women equal rights, the minorities are backward, esp the Muslims, they have talaaq and polygamy.’ I was trying to pre-empt that discussion. Didn’t work, I do have to go over it all again. Sigh.
      Your uninformed but authoritatively produced opinion (“I’m not sure whether there is as much diversity in the personal law Hindus follow”) betrays a complete lack of understanding. “Personal Law” is a legal category referring to homogenized codes on marriage, inheritance guardianship of children etc. for different communities that were given the specific label of “personal laws”. Local/regional practices on these matters are not “Personal Laws”, and if these come into conflict with Personal Laws, they are overruled in court. So there is no diversity in Personal Laws – that was precisely the point.
      Again, so confidently, you pronounce – “it did not codify existing practices” on the basis of “Mr and Mrs 55”, and the introduction of the provision of divorce. Yes, divorce was “introduced” from the point of view of the Hindu communities that did not have the provision of ending a marriage, but several Hindu communities did have the provision earlier, now overruled and brought under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act.
      Guru Dutt and your general commonsense apart, you might have to recognize that over the decades, hundreds of scholars and activists of all communities have developed a complex understanding on what would work best for gender justice, which should be the goal rather than uniformity.
      “Why do we need any religious law to be followed by anyone in this country?” We dont, but that’s the law. That’s what you are covered by.
      As for “modern secular enlightened law” – the debate is precisely what that should be, and why “secularism” is constantly evoked in this matter than “gender justice”. You might want to ask yourself why Narenda Modi is one of the most vocal proponents of a Uniform Civil Code.
      If you’re interested in readings that give you a sense of this complicated field, do let me know. But i dont want to waste my time if your confidence is enough to stand in for informed understanding

      • Sashwat permalink
        April 21, 2014 12:10 AM

        Hi Nivedita, thanks or sharing the article. Busted few of my own myths and gave informative points on others to articulate my thoughts well for whenever I get into a debate with some one next time.

        Your view on UCC is quite interesting. Though I am no expert in legal matters and is not familiar with finer details of Hindu Code Bill or Special Marriage Act, I was always of the opinion that UCC is big step towards gender justice in India. My idea of a uniform code would be – regardless of what your religion or community says, if a daughter wants, she should have equal rights towards inheritance as that of son; regardless of what your religion or community says, a wife should have equal say in whether a husband can divorce or marry again. All this to ensure that a Shah Bano Begum will never be denied alimony again. What’s wrong in having such a “homogenized code of marriage” to ensure gender equality, i.e. under law men and women have to be equal?

        Do feel free to points me towards any reading which will give me better sense of this complicated field. Thank you!

      • April 26, 2014 4:38 PM

        Hi Nivedita!

        You are highly mistaken that gender inequality would persist if we adopt a UCC. Firstly, The hindu marriage and adoption act has been amended extensively to grant equal rights to women (daughters, wives, mothers, illegitimate girl child and so on). Similarly the Special marriage act also grants equal rights to women in marriage, adoption, inheritance and has been modeled on the amended Hindu marriage and adoption act . The problem with separate personal laws is that often religious sects are stubborn in amending law for the reason that the law to exist in the first place becuase it is guaranteed by a religious text. A Unified Civil Code will remove any such discrepancies and thus will greatly benefit the women, remove discriminatory practices that are adopted by different personal laws if we compare one with another.

  3. surinder permalink
    April 12, 2014 1:05 PM

    very informative these type of articles should available to the public on mass media

  4. G Shah permalink
    April 12, 2014 2:03 PM

    Thank you so much Kafila, Nivedita and Shankar.

    The lies you have addressed here have been so mercilessly propagated by the Sangh Parivar types that they seem to be the manifest / obvious truth. Leading to hatred and dehumanisation of Muslims even among the seemingly most friendly individuals. This is the starting point of the us vs them binary in contemporary India.

    Can I please request other readers to share this as widely as possible.

  5. syed wasim imam permalink
    April 12, 2014 2:34 PM

    Nivedita Menon ji, very ingenious and honest article. thank you for this masterpiece. Being a Muslim , i could relate to this article. Every Myth or better to say allegation which is propagated by enemies of peace, are cleverly and factually refuted by you. Kudos to you for this effort. thank you.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink
      April 13, 2014 9:51 AM

      Just a clarification – I only posted this as a Kafila member. It came to us from Shankar Gopalakrishnan.

      • Saira-Aziz permalink
        April 15, 2014 12:08 AM

        Thanks for doing so.

  6. S C Sharma permalink
    April 12, 2014 2:43 PM

    The Hindu Code Bill did make one provision in favour of women. Bigamy was abolished.

  7. Nazia permalink
    April 12, 2014 5:47 PM

    Very important article for a Muslim too….Bcz he/she is confronted by these questions regularly not only from outside the community but also from within.

  8. Shreya Agrawal permalink
    April 12, 2014 8:25 PM

    It is a MUST READ! Thank you! :)

  9. A Jamia resident permalink
    April 12, 2014 8:36 PM

    Nice article…there are some other myths which, I, being a Muslims, has come across in my life…here are some….one of my friends asked me once, why do you guys face Pakistan while offering Namaz…to which I said, dude, we face Kaba, which is in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It’s just a co-incidence that Pakistan and Makkah are almost in the same direction…another myth — so how many times are you going to marry since multiple marriages are allowed in Islam…to which I said, brother it’s allowed in certain conditions, not compulsory, any way, I am a poor man and to my capacity, I can maximum afford one marriage….recently I was in Mumbai and a friend of mine, working in a prestigious newspaper told me about certain Muslim areas in Mumbai to which he referred as Mini Pakistans. He told me that people over there are so barbaric they would kill anyone who argues with them. He also said that they might let me go since I share the religion with them….to which I said how many people did they murder in last one decade. Is there any official data or he is saying just on the basis of prejudice and myths to, which he had no answer… of my friends said that there should be massive amendments in Quran since it doesn’t comply with many of the beliefs of Hindus…to which I said if that is the logic then at least one crore people in this world would want amendments in Holy books of different religion, and within a decade there will be several thousands versions of different Holy books….once I was in my office cab and going to my residence in Jamia Nagar, the cab drivers suddenly started closing windows. I asked him what happened to him suddenly…his bizzare logic was — sir this is Mini Pakistan, a lot of criminal resides here and if I keep my windows open, they can come and loot my car….I asked him has he ever fell prey to such criminals, he said no…I asked has his knowns have fallen prey to such criminals to which he said no…then I asked how did he form such perception about Minis Pakistan, he said he had heard about the defame place from one of his friends….I told him that I returned from office late in the night and on hundreds of occasions, I have given lift to many of the residents of Jamia Nagar, they never committed any crime against me….and anyone who will have the intention of committing crime will not ask for my cast, creed or religion….I always say that there is a huge lack of knowledge about Islam and Muslim in general, which leads to the formation of prejudices and biases against them…

    • Saira-Aziz permalink
      April 15, 2014 12:08 AM

      The sad thing is that Hindus make no attempt to learn about other communities, whether they are Muslim or Christian. Come to think of it Hindus from one region do not care to find out about the religious practices of Hindus from another region either. North Indian, Hindus being the most egregious in their behavior. That said, UP Muslims couldn’t care less about figuring out anything about other Muslims either. Not to speak of the biggest myth- all Muslims do not speak Urdu.

      So far as I can tell from my own experience, Muslims and Christians from a particular ethnicity actually do care to learn about Hindus from that particular ethnicity with whom in any case they have much in common.

      What is even sadder, is that the rest of the world is in fact worse. That said, no country displays as much diversity as India – all the more reason why we should make an attempt to learn about each other.

      • April 15, 2014 1:27 PM

        Saira, it seems like the phenomenon of insularity you speak of seems to be largely catalysed by regionalism. Which would kind of validate what you are saying. In the North, religion also affects language – something that is not the case in the South where language trumps religion as a binding force.

        As for the rest of the world, I have found other nationalities more inviting of Indians that Indians are of each other. This could the ‘fascination with the brown’ or maybe just general curiosity. Conversely, i have found Indians to epitomise a ghetto mentality no matter where they live in the world. Consequently, all the racism and stereotypes develop from there.

  10. April 12, 2014 9:41 PM

    Reblogged this on AishMGhrana and commented:
    We always have our perceptions without considering facts. We reject facts which do not support our predetermined thought. Reading opposite ideas and facts always help. Read this word by word, it hurt you…

  11. Bala permalink
    April 13, 2014 3:51 AM

    I mostly agree with the article, but it very conveniently disregards the presence of countries and respective laws in the first ‘Myth’. Could you include Saudi Arabia in there? Ever tried taking a Ganesh idol for personal use at home through customs ?

    • April 14, 2014 1:24 PM

      And when you do something like that after they explicitly state the laws, you are asking for trouble for your self. Antagonising is someone else’s backyard is just immature and behaving like a head-butting goat.

      This article used the statistics and examples of other countries to show that the governing constitution is not religious based. Which is completely true.

      Just in case you want to reverse the argument and say that India and Hindus allow everything…that would be the liberal ones. Those exist irrespective of religion. For liberals, religion is incidental.

      In your case, without getting too personal, you wear it on your sleeve. Consider that most religion is basically akin to a Tolkein novel, so much for wearing that belief on your sleeve.

  12. April 13, 2014 5:00 AM

    I am not sure I follow the reasoning in this write up. Why do we have to point to ‘moderate’ or secular countries with a Muslim majority to counter bigoted arguments ? What if, for what ever reason, there were no secular Muslims countries. Would one then concede point number one to the other side ? The Indian Constitution is pretty clear on the matter of religion, and so is the UN declaration on human rights. And shouldnt we focus more on Muslim histories in India (Malerkotla, Bengal, Akbar, Hindustani classical music), rather than make a case for secularism, based on its (very questionable) practice in another country ?

    The last point is altogether strange. The demand for a separate Muslim homeland, when made by mainstream Muslims is political, but when made by a Hindu (on the political fringe) is communal ? If the BJP tomorrow demands that India become a Hindu state, will the author also call that a political demand by a political party ? The way Indian politics proceeded after the war of 1857 and events since then completely blurred the distinction between the communal and political. How does one decide then what was ‘purely political’ and communal ?

    For various reasons, some Muslims and Hindus supported the idea of Pakistan, and some Muslims and Hindus did not. Pakistan is a sovereign nation and so is India, so it should not have any bearing on attitudes of Indians towards each other.

    • April 14, 2014 1:39 PM

      That point is completely invalid. It is logical impossible to assume that there are no secular Muslim countries for the sake of argument – negating everything that follows from that. But to that point of secularism – what the author has put out here is the inherent bias that every Non-Muslim has heard through his life. And it is to dispel those AND to use it as ammunition against those who spread that nonsense.

      The last point is not strange but shakes the very foundation of the RSS ideology. The point that partition was initially called for by one of the founding members of today’s fascist brigade is ironic and hilarious. There is nothing more divisive therefore than Hindutva. Note: No Muslims asked for partition but Jinnah who used the existing strife for his political ambitions – or maybe not, he probably thought there was no way out of the bloodshed.

      When a majority asks for minorities to be thrown out because they are minority, yes it is communalism. When it is the converse…its usually called a rebellion…case in point being the North Eastern states and Kashmir. And we all know the spin most nation states put on rebellions.

      • Abbas Raza Alvi permalink
        June 9, 2014 4:57 AM

        My research on the subject of partition , forced to believe that Muslims who live in India are against the partition. 1947 partition was the worst decision of that time which has dived the united power of Hindustan. Because of this partition , large amount of resources are used on security & defence. Question can not be ignored- who is benefited with this, now ?

    • Suraz permalink
      June 6, 2014 4:55 PM

      well said.

  13. Abhiroop permalink
    April 13, 2014 6:43 AM

    Oh where were you, where were you?

    The viciously petty hate mongers are winning; they got a head start.

    India needs to hear your calm, sane, impactful words. More power to you.

  14. M S Khan permalink
    April 13, 2014 10:23 AM

    The article succeeds in dispelling the myths generally propagated with the only aim to create hatred among different communities. Three big myths are also to be addressed objectively. (1) Religions are the cause of difference and discord and people of different religion cannot live in peace with each other, (2) any value, custome and law based on religion are unjust and irrational, and (3) secularism demands anti-religion attitude. I am just raising these issues to reach to a better understanding of secularism.

  15. April 13, 2014 10:39 AM

    very important article
    mainstream media should show this

  16. Rajesh Kumar permalink
    April 13, 2014 1:27 PM

    ऐसा आरटिकल सारी भाषाओं में उपलब्ध हो तो समाजिक एकता कायम करने में काफी मददगार शाबित हो सकदा है,, इसलिए आरटिकल रचयिता, पोस्ट करण आल़ा, और पढण आल़े सारे बधाई के पातर हैं, ।

  17. April 13, 2014 3:16 PM

    Reblogged this on The Lazy Critic Blog and commented:
    Clean. Clear. To the point.

  18. Dara Shamsuddin permalink
    April 13, 2014 6:45 PM

    Thanks for the article and the comments that follow. Personally it was an eye opener for me. However, people do like creating myths about “others”.Religious divide is not the only divide. There are the sect divide, the cast divide, the language divide, the food/chewing habit divide, the clothing habit divide, the physical appearance divide, the rich-middle-class-poor divide, the gender divide- you name it.

    Let us hope that there would be a time in the future, may be 50 or 100 years down the line, when we would be able to conquer our divisive instincts and see all human being in the light of eternal truth: for what they are: HUMAN BEING.

    The time to start is NOW, and the way to start is EDUCATION and EXPOSURE to other cultures. The point of departure is: We all belong to the “other” group/community/nation/country not by choice, but by birth, except and save those who had changed from one “other” to another “other”.

  19. prateek kumar nayak permalink
    April 13, 2014 7:26 PM

    Good work to lift the spirit of humanity. Liked it.

  20. April 13, 2014 7:42 PM

    Nivedita Menon,

    You yourself gave the facts that polygamy in Indian Muslims is less compare to Hindus. Hindus are banned from doing this. Some might be doing it illegally, but they can’t get into government institutions with this. If it is less in Muslims, them what is the problem if government bans this for Muslims too. But i am sure that if some non-congress government brings that law, all left and Muslim organisations will oppose it. I seriously can’t understand this. Please throw some light on these question.
    1) Do you think polygamy is good?
    2) What stops left and Muslim org. from banning this?

    • April 14, 2014 1:53 PM

      This is interesting. How people want the symbolic rather than the realistic.

      Here is a question to you..Do you think any change in the law would stop polygamy? I am sure the answer is no. But if we had to believe in rational behavior…

      It is interesting because in a country like Turkey, it is indeed illegal and you can be arrested for bigamy. Problem is that in India, there hasn’t been a “revolt” against religion – a bus that was so badly missed. Ideally, therefore, a ban by the government on Hindus practicing bigamy should have been succeeded by a ban for Muslims. However, here is the problem…no Hindu text says this has to be done or that bigamy is acceptable. Also, the sharia states that having multiple wives is done in the instance when it is to support a woman who has lost her husband or when she really needs to be rescued. In a modern concept, this is like permanent foster care and a religious duty IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES ONLY.

      So when the government bans polygamy for Hindus it hasn’t moved earth and mountains. It just inked something that always existed. Take when i said in the previous paragraph and it explains why polygamy has no religious sanction in modern times. So when a law is made to ban a practice of a religious community, it becomes tinderbox situation. And really, a much ado about nothing situation as well.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink
      April 15, 2014 10:02 AM

      Yes, of course, polygamy. Predictably – Hindu men leaping in to save Muslim women from Muslim men (to paraphrase Gayatri Spivak). Why this concern only for Muslim women? Are Hindu women not deserving of Hindu sympathy? Why do Hindus never speak about the problems with the fact that even when Hindu men marry under the Special Marriage Act, a later amendment exempts them from the inheritance provisions of the secular Indian Succession Act and they remain covered by the Hindu law on inheritance that still favours men? Yes, despite the “right” to ancestral property that women have so very recently (in the 21st century!) been granted, because of the practice of writing wills that routinely disinherit daughters. This is also because of the Hindu ideal of marriage that daughters are “paraya dhan”, so that any property she gets actually becomes the husband’s. (This too is a very specific North Indian upper caste notion of marriage that was rendered uniform by the Hindu Marriage Act).
      But what about Muslim women’s rights to property under the Muslim Personal Law, which again is never spoken about? It is well recognized in legal literature that the Muslim law of inheritance protects women’s rights better than Hindu law, but Hindus only speak about polygamy and triple talaaq. The right of mehr, which gives Muslim marriage the status of a civil contract, is the exclusive property of the wife.
      Why do they never speak about the fact that the Hindu Guardianship Act introduced the notion of “Father as natural guardian” in case of divorce, except for minor children?
      Polygamy is rampant among Hindu men, but precisely because it is illegal, the second wife has no legal status or claim on the man who claimed to have married her. Moreover, the Hindu Marriage Act recognizes only the saptapadi before the fire as a legal marriage (even though most communities did not follow this marriage practice), so if a Hindu man marries a second time through some other practice (garland exchange in a temple for instance), that marriage is not considered legal.
      My point is not that legal polygamy is fine, but that the real question should be the status of a woman in a marriage, not how many “wives” a man has. Often I feel that the bubbling anger Hindu men express towards supposedly uniformly polygamous Muslim men, reeks of a resentment – ‘why should they have a lollipop we dont?’

  21. Mahesh Mumbai permalink
    April 13, 2014 11:02 PM

    its not only important to report facts in tangible ways nivedita, its also the facts as they stand (in real terms – that cant be quantified) ….
    I appreciate you speaking out about so called MYTHS – most that I havent really heard of / attuned with… however, nothing as a writer/journalist (you) should write to create mistrust / dis-harmony

  22. April 13, 2014 11:54 PM

    Nice and thoughtful article. But still Muslims are comparatively less tolerating of other religion and get easily provoked. That is precisely why western powers are using them as a weapon. How ever, problems between Hindu and Muslim communities are very minor. At first we need to STOP slaughtering each other and recognize the real enemy that is Evil western Powers, provoking the Hindu-Muslim agitations for their own vested interest. There are common threats to both of our cultures from vulgar western culture . To my belief we should start fighting against them together. That would be our first step to understand each other better for a better future. Amen

    • Saira-Aziz permalink
      April 15, 2014 12:27 AM

      And what precisely is the barometer that you use to measure this? All three revealed religions, point out that salvation comes only from theirs. Hindus supposedly believe that all faiths lead to the same. In fairness this is because, unlike other religions, it isn’t faith in a particular or more than one or any God that unites Hindus into one religion. It’s belief in the law of karma and reincarnation that is common. Makes it easier to say that all roads lead to Rome. Except their feeling of superiority because they have this belief and general habit of looking down on other religions (read your own comments) completely undercuts this belief.

  23. Indian Liberal Army permalink
    April 14, 2014 11:28 AM

    Thank you for writing this.

  24. April 14, 2014 2:05 PM

    An amazing article and I have heard each of these myths time and time again. There is a deeper aspect to be understood as well and that is where one gets these myths from.

    Growing up in a Hindu household, you are told this by Grandmothers and Grandparents nearly ever week. The racism embodied in previous generations is amazing and it is a sheer miracle that they can live with a conscience and that Gandhi was one of them!

    As you grow up, you obviously would not be amongst great diversity and in those “formative” years, all the useful information comes from peers. These peers want to tell a story and be heard rather than be lauded for saying something sensible. A bit like most TV channels today – They want a good story, not necessarily a sensible one.

    It is somewhere when you make it out to the world on your own that you are able to discern and process information for yourself without external stimulus and catalysts. This is where grandma’s and grandpa’s myths are debunked as folktales and your friends’ opinions as immature teenage banter.

    I am sure that considering Indians for what they are and the idiosyncrasies of all religions, the propaganda is spread to all of us about each other. But myths are debunked for all religions, curiously, when you abandon it. It is when you say – “I abandon religion” that you can shun the baggage of obvious flaws and even have the moral right to critque. This is true emancipation.

    • Saira-Aziz permalink
      April 15, 2014 12:21 AM

      Actually, it’s not even that simple. My grandparents version of things – was very liberal and unbiased except at times they would say things that completely contradicted that. My grandmother in particular would get mad if we pointed out the contradictions, especially if we laughed about them. She would eventually come around in most cases although she stuck to some.

      To be fair my uncles always chided anyone who made stereotypical comments including their mother. But then again,my uncles had eschewed religion. My mother on the other hand believed in religion but was never biased in her comments although there was a limit to her liberalism. My father criticized everyone and was genuinely liberal at heart, even more so than my uncles, I’d wager – although he too believed in religion. What was common to everyone in my family was that religion was part of the lives of some of them but for none of them was it part of their identity.

      I think the problem lies there. Religion is worn on most people’s sleeve as their identity. The minute they get rid of it, these bizarre myths and contradictions disappear.

  25. Zafar Iqbal Khan permalink
    April 14, 2014 7:32 PM

    Hats off for this bravery…

  26. najma rehmani permalink
    April 14, 2014 8:58 PM

    excellent article nivedita. the question of appeasment of muslims is being raised time and again by certain groups, just to spread such myths against a minority only for political gain, but no political group or party gave any example of that so called appeasment. even no political group denies such myths.

  27. Ruchee Sharma permalink
    April 15, 2014 12:04 AM

    Nivedita, thank you ! First time I have read an article that acknowledges and then addresses each myth in regards with muslims, with such clarity and might. We all know they exist but we simply turn a blind eye . Hope we choose to rectify our myopic views.

  28. Mihir permalink
    April 15, 2014 9:57 AM

    Are there any statistics on the number of muslims being educated. I mean what number of them go to schools and colleges? While growing up I rarely used to see a muslim classmate. This non-interaction at that age and hearing the stories from elders is what makes up a perception of someone. If we have more interaction and exposure with each other’s cultures, then all these myths can be busted.
    Why is it that we see very less number of muslims in schools and colleges?

  29. Keith Wz permalink
    April 15, 2014 10:59 AM

    on April 10th this website publishes an article with the headline “Muslims will consider supporting AAP …”
    On April 12th, you say, Muslims voting en block is a myth.

    Do you even read articles published on your own website? Which article is a myth?

    • Aditya Nigam permalink*
      April 15, 2014 4:31 PM

      I did not think this was so difficult to understand unless you have stones in your head!
      Statement 1: One man says ‘on behalf of the Muslims’ that Muslims will consider doing X.
      Statement 2: States that the actual fact of how Muslims vote is Y
      Why should there be any compatibility between the two? Further, if you have even bothered to go through the debate on the first mentioned post, you will have seen that no body including one of the interviewers of Omari actually affirms his position. Elementary logic often fails you in this internet age when the desire to make an instant comment takes over from everything else:)

  30. April 15, 2014 1:10 PM

    Most of the Muslims i know are all college educated and most of them from the regular bunch of colleges. If this is not available then there are institutions like the Anjuman Islam and other colleges that mop up the students ready for college.

    But I do agree that you don’t see enough mixing and mingling. I think that is mostly the result of years of bias being heaped on a community that a slight insular mindset might be the cause. Of course this breaks down post-graduation.

    Then there is a classist system of doling out education where some halls of knowledge are more hallowed than others; and those halls are more expensive. Out of reach of poor families of any community.

    I don’t think there is any one reason and what i have state above is mostly an urban perspective but…that’s my 2 cents.

  31. kaleem kawaja permalink
    April 15, 2014 6:47 PM

    One of the basic reasons why these misperceptions and myths about Muslims are continuing unabated, 66 years after independence, and with whole new generations with much better modern education having grown up is, that the mainstream media has fed it. The media frequently publishes stories stereotyping the Muslims. They take small isolated examples of a few orthodox and conservative Muslims and give it saturation coverage to show that the entire community is of that type. Often when there is a column on the Muslims the accompanying photographs show Muslim men in skull caps and women in burqas. This inspite of the fact that a majority of Muslim men (even uneducated ones) do not wear skull caps in public other than in religious gatherings. Similarly a majority of Muslim women do not wear burqa in public.

    Even though a very large number of Muslims under age 45 have acquired good education and work in professional positions, the media continues to show it as a rare exception, and continues to paint the image of the community on the whole as being regressive, low educational levels, isolated in ghettos, extremist mindset etc. The media refuses to show the many many Muslim men and women who are in the Indian mainstream, working and socializing with non-Muslims. Indeed many Muslims have enthusiastically embraced the social changes that have occurred sine globalization came to India.

  32. Yogi permalink
    April 16, 2014 10:30 AM

    all I have learned is that religion divides and true spirituality unites. This philosophical truth has been known to many but not to all. Thought I should share such a basic idea so that more people understand that more blood has been shed because of religion than for any other reason. Before we start trailing off to discussions about how great God is and what he promised and what he gave, I would remind everyone once again that it is in his name that we kill each other (in religious riots) and ‘by his will (?)’ it is allowed. No am not an atheist. My statement mind sound like I am trying to defame God, but am trying to ask ourselves what we are doing in God’s name….. whether that is what he wanted done in ‘His’ books (written and printed and spread by humans)? I personally think we need to read our books more carefully if we really want to lead a religious life. If that is not possible then a spiritual life would be a better option (don’t ask me what ‘spiritual’ is and what difference it has with ‘religious’. The net will give you all the information in that regard). Then, I had this burning question in me like forever…. If God is so great, why do we have to fight for him? Why do we have to protect His interests when he is more than capable of doing it himself? (Someone told me God wants to give us an opportunity to rise up to heaven through following Him and his ways, and I asked that ‘someone’ if he can prove what God wants beyond any doubt. Blind faith is for the blind. And I do have god-given eyes. In effect all I am asking is – universal truths are beyond any doubt. That which can be doubted cannot be true. Tell me that the Sun rises in the east and I will believe you. Tell me god wrote all the holy books and I will doubt you.) In essence, we are fools to be fighting using religions that is all. There is no reason to fight to prove supremacy or to dispel myths at all. If you have faith in God then let him decide what to do to those who don’t believe in your religion or blasphemes against it. Don’t try to take God’s place please :) And continue to fight if you actually are an atheist believing that you must bring justice to the world and can’t count on God to do it. Phew! this sort of topic is always very tiring, and I take my leave. Thanks for reading. More thanks shall be due to you if you understood what I meant to say and not assume anything using your particular points of views…….

  33. Gowhar Fazili permalink
    April 17, 2014 8:02 AM

    I suggest an interesting study that can be carried out during the election time – A systematic study of communal biases articulated by right wing twitter trolls and in comments on articles related to election (or otherwise). This is a great opportunity to examine the dissonance between the public/official script articulated by the political parties and the private script/rumour/biases that becomes viral in the heat of election.

    It would be interesting to know what purposes does such heightened articulation of communal attitudes serve; how much of it is instrumental use of hate/attitudes and how much of it is the real/hidden communal attitudes and desires that find expression in anonymity. This can provide us interesting insights about the political discourse in our society while the masks are off.

  34. Sushil Prasad permalink
    April 17, 2014 5:12 PM

    Myth: ‘Muslim’ countries are never secular. Muslims do not tolerate minorities in ‘their’ countries but demand minority rights in other countries.
    • There are a large number of temples, and gurudwaras, and churches in Bahrain!
    • The Bahraini Ambassador to the USA till recently was a Jew woman!
    • Oman has some very famous and large temples. There are no restrictions for either visiting or worship in these temples.
    • Turkey with 95% muslim population had banned the azaan and there are no restrictions in public eating / drinking during Ramadan there.
    • Since the ancient Greeks did not have paper or printing, most of the classical Greek texts (in philosophy, science, mathematics, medicine etc) survived as Arabic translations (made by Muslims) and were later retranslated to Greek!

    Myth: Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims.
    • What is the line differentiating a freedom fighter from a terrorist? Weren’t Bhagat Singh, JP, George Washington etc. all labeled as terrorists.
    • Wasn’t Gandhiji a terrorist who used to used non-violence to terrorise the British and sundry others?

    Myth: Muslims have always been fundamentalists and are ‘more religious’ than followers of other religions.
    • The rise of Islamic fundamentalism, apart from the support by imperialist forces against secular forces, is that the culture of people congregating for Friday prayers could not be abolished. This is was the main if not the only outlet for people’s aspirations. This in turn the Imams to accumulate and wield political power akin to political power wielded by black civil right leaders in the 60s, many of whom were priests a la Rev. Martin Luther King.

    Myth: Hindus do not kill based on their religion. Only Muslims do, because their religion requires them to.
    • Were the wars of Mahabharatha or Kalinga waged by proto Islamists?
    • Is it too way out to describe the Bhagwad Geeta, Hinduism most sacred text, as unheard of defense of murder, as described by Dr. Ambedkar?

    Myth: The government favours Muslims and pampers them.
    • I am aware of at least two banks in India (one public sector and the other private sector) where there is an unwritten rule against lending to muslims!

    Myth: The Muslim population is increasing faster than the Hindu population, especially because Muslim men can have many wives. Their aim is to become the majority.
    • It’s an old adge that the rich get richer and the poor get children!
    • I am witness to a similar argument used in an Islamic country. Members of one Islamic sect accuse members of the other sect of having more number of wives, getting more children, perpetuating poverty, and producing jihadists!

    Myth: Muslims got ‘their’ country when Pakistan was created, now they should leave ‘our’ country.
    • Weren’t there secular Muslims who migrated to India post partition? E.g. Shahrukh Khan’s father and uncle, General Shah Nawaz Khan being two notable examples. Or others who would have preferred to remain in India, eg, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan?

    • Suraz permalink
      June 6, 2014 4:41 PM

      ” Wasn’t Gandhiji a terrorist who used to used non-violence to terrorise the British and sundry others? ”

      perfect example of intellectual moronism

  35. April 21, 2014 11:06 AM

    Reblogged this on Trying to be rational and commented:
    Sanghi propagated myths about Muslims

  36. Sarfaraz Khan permalink
    April 22, 2014 2:34 PM

    Hats Off to Arun Nambiar, Nivedita Menon and Others for such an enriching and healthy Discussion…..India has a Proud history and Bright future because of Citizens like you!!!

  37. April 22, 2014 5:15 PM

    Across the world it is well known that more than religion its the income and and education that determines the total fertility rate. However in India the right wing as well as some sociologists argue that Muslim population is on the rise (because of religious reasons).

    In your article you cite the NFHS data to argue that this is not the case. I was always looking for this; whether such data exists in the official records. However when I checked the NFHS-3 tables for the state of Kerala I did not get the information you attributed to NFHS in this article. The data tables shows only a two fold break down, like TFR-Religion or TFR-education, TFR- wealth index. I never saw a three fold breakdown like TFR-Religion-education or TFR-Religion-wealth index.

    I think one should collect such three fold information before one can categorically make the claim like <>

    If I missed some data, I am sorry for this comment and please guide to me the necessary data.

    • April 23, 2014 3:02 AM

      Well, interesting comments on the uniform civil code. If you do not want a common civil code, why have a common criminal code either? How about the nonsense that two women’s witnesses equals a man’s truth? How about Sati does Nivedita want to revive it, in the name of complexity? Why not embrace the ‘complexity’ generated by diverse criminal codes in the country and why have one criminal code? Some times we get too subtle and too clever to justify and support all kinds of heinous practices in the name of ‘secularism’. Come on wake up, women, of all religions are oppressed, each in a different way. Instead of offering Brahminical circumlocution to defend intellectual fashions of the day, it is high time you come with a uniform civil code to protect the rights of women whether they are Hindu, Christian, Jew or Muslim variety. Mind you, I am not bringing the ‘complexity’ that would be generated by lesbian, gays, bisexual, transsexual rights at all here. It is time we recognise that the state protects the ‘personal’ law of all its citizens for, as the feminists put it the personal is political.

  38. militant_antitheist permalink
    April 24, 2014 12:51 PM

    Since when did Indonesia become “secular”. I knew that it has no declaration regarding its religious or secular status. Can anybody confirm this? Also, can anybody comment on the impact of oil money from Saudi to spread their brand of Islam?

  39. Achyut Chetan permalink
    April 26, 2014 10:12 PM

    Muslims do not have, cannot have many children because they have many wives. Simple arithmetic tells that the number of women in the community does not change. To the best of my knowledge the number of Muslim women is not even double the number of Muslim men.

  40. April 27, 2014 5:22 PM

    Well-written . It is not Hindus, it is not Muslims ——it is the politicians backed by some interested capitalists—–who are the main guilty .

  41. Farhan Siddiqui permalink
    June 1, 2014 11:08 PM

    Thank you Nivedita! This is such an awesome article. Each and every word resonates with my thoughts. After having faced so much of discrimination and hatred myself becauae of my faith, I found this article to be very soothing.
    Thanks again! Hats Off!

  42. June 2, 2014 12:52 AM

    Reblogged this on Ashni Dhaor.

  43. Shraman Toshi permalink
    June 2, 2014 12:14 PM

    And a counter to the point made here. The author and the curator (for the lack of a better word) could read this to refine the point they are making here. As much as Islamophobia exists, religious fundamentalism thrives (though, not just for Islam).

  44. June 2, 2014 2:31 PM

    Reblogged this on Rashid's Blog.

  45. June 4, 2014 10:40 AM

    Very nice article… Thanks for sharing this.. I believe that we belongs to the nation which is famous for its unity among the all set of people. It is all the political groups and the right extremist minded people try to divide and rule. I hope one day it will be defeated same as our freedom fighters defeated the British Raj..

  46. Abu Ihsan permalink
    June 6, 2014 6:52 AM

    Nobody talks about the 850 years of Muslim Ruler’s contribution to India and their participation in freedom struggle etc.Here too the SanghPariwar strategy of finding only negative things are discussed.An article should be there based on it also.

  47. wadoodul hasan permalink
    June 9, 2014 12:29 AM

    extremely sorry but please read the preamble of Indian Constitution,then read constitution for once before commenting.
    Indian Muslim do not have other set of rules in the constitution than rest of indians.
    The fact of the matter is this that in case of personal laws—- All community have different set of law which the community follows by custom or by their religious wise Hindus have Hindu personal law and Muslim have Muslim Personal Law.It is a sheer propaganda of communal forces to divide people of India

  48. Haroon Rashid permalink
    June 10, 2014 10:14 PM

    Who has authored this piece- Nivedita Menon or Shankar Gopalakrishnan?

    I am sure most readers believe that Ms Menon wrote it….Could anyone help clarify it, please?

  49. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    June 10, 2014 10:58 PM

    The post was sent to Kafila by Shankar Gopalakrishnan, who told us we need not give his name as author. We assumed from this that Shankar had put together this piece drawing from several such Myths About Muslims pamphlets and articles that have been circulating since the 1990s. (For example, I was part of an anti-communal citizens’ group called Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan and we prepared such a pamphlet after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Sunday magazine too had published something along these lines.)
    So I made the byline “received via Shankar Gopalakrishnan” so that we could credit his work.
    The Kafila format is such that all posts are “posted by” a Kafila author, and when it is a guest post, we say so in the byline. I have made this clarification in response to an earlier comment on this post too. I did not write this post. Shankar Goplakrishnan wrote/ compiled it.
    The really tragic thing s that such myths have been countered for decades and still they have such purchase!

  50. June 26, 2014 6:05 PM

    यदि ये आंकड़े एक प्रकार का तर्क है तो पीसफुल मेजॉरिटी के दूसरे पक्ष का तर्क यह वीडियो भी है…


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