By WAJAHAT ALI and AHMED RASHID writing here
Although the smoldering fires from the Mumbai attacks illuminate hateful violence, the spread of Islam in India came at the benevolent, inclusive hands of Sufi Muslims instead of the oppressive scimitar of the Mughal rulers. Personalities such as Moinuddin Chishti, a 13th century Sufi master, personified this version of Islam by demonstrating selfless charity and proactively engaging Hindu neighbors, especially the “untouchables” and downtrodden members of society. This humanistic, open-minded model of Islam is the predominant ideology of a majority of Indian and Pakistani Muslims. Unfortunately, a strain of narrow minded and oppressive literalism also exists, exemplified by 17th century Mughal emperor Aurengzeb, whose zealous devotion to his faith left a bitter, resentful legacy of tyranny and separatism.
In the aftermath of the Mumbai tragedy, Indian Muslims have been marching overtime on the streets to side with religious plurality, demonstrate solidarity with fellow Indian citizens and vocally denounce the attacks. At the rallies, such as the 5,000 march by Indian Muslims in Mumbai last week, Indian Muslims held placards that read “Our Country’s Enemies are Our Enemies,” “Killers of Innocents are Enemies of Islam,” and a few believe “Pakistan Be Declared Terrorist State.” Continue reading