Friday, October 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Of terrorism and democracy: liberal Muslim opinion holds the key

Apropos of Mr Hari Jaisingh’s illustrative and thought-provoking article, “Of terrorism and democracy — liberal Muslim opinion holds the key.” Islam like all other religions does not approve of hate and killings of innocent persons. It is the leaders and governments of certain countries who, because of their enmities and revengeful attitudes, engage misguided and disgruntled persons in the profession of terrorism to get their interests fulfilled, but forget totally that they will also face the evil results one day. It is universal truth, “As you sow so shall you reap.”

Terrorists have seen the result of their strikes in New York and Washington on September 11, which has caused the ongoing horrible war. It is causing heavy losses of property and invaluable human lives.

It is high time every country condemned and discouraged terrorism.

I would like to appeal my Muslim brethren in India not to fall prey to the evil designs of our political leaders who exploit them for their vote-bank politics. India is a secular country and the people of all religions, castes and creed enjoy equal rights under the Constitution. This fact should be borne in mind by one and all.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Scriptures: I would like to say that the majority of the Muslims all over the world don’t approve of killings of innocent people by terrorists. It is a political tragedy that most democratic countries have been the victims of venom nurtured by a few people who neither recognise any religion nor respect its teachings. There is no scripture which wants killing of innocent people like sheep. My Persian teacher, a scholar, always told us, “The Quran contains love and charm for one’s faith, and its followers shall never harm and harass anyone.”



Silent Spectator: Liberal, educated and well-to-do Muslims cannot spell out their views on the vital issues of religion, nation and democracy if these are not acceptable to the hard core of Islam. Quite often even development-oriented opinion is opposed by the Muslim clergy.

Even with the changing times, there is very little impact of the liberals among the community on the overall religious, economic and political scenario.

Before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US cities, the West has, more or less, remained a silent spectator of the terrorist violence in India. India has faced the orgy of terrorist violence alone. The author has rightly stated: .... terror knows no geographical, racial and religious barriers”.

What Mr Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, said on his recent visit to Pakistan indicates that his country is still the least aware of the Indian worries over terrorism.

The statements of Indian leaders that India will solve its problem of cross-border terrorism itself hold water and are cheering enough

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

India’s unstinted offer

Apropos of the report “Colin Powell says Kashmir is the central issue between India and Pakistan”, India’s unstinted offer to the USA to provide all types of assistance in its fight against terrorism has helped the USA to force mediation (despite our insistence that we will not allow third party mediation), declare Kashmir as the ‘most dangerous place in the world’ (not Afghanistan or New York) thus internationalising Kashmir, and ‘the central issue between India and Pakistan’ (not cross-border-terrorism), differentiating attacks on Mumbai stock exchange and J & K Assembly from those on WTC and Pentagon and legitimising the Pakistani terrorists as ‘freedom fighters’. If the USA would have used India’s resources in their fight against Laden, Al Qaida and Taliban (not terrorists of the world), the USA would have openly said, “allow plebiscite in Kashmir/hand over Kashmir to Pakistan or face Afghanistan’s plight.” The USA would have compensated Pakistan the way it likes most, incurring no cost.

A non-issue (that was not even an issue during Lahore Declaration) has now become a central issue and threatens the integrity of our nation, kind courtesy our improving relations with the USA. Will India like to continue furthering these relations (till it become a satellite state of the USA or gives up Kashmir under pressure)?

D. S. GREWAL, Ludhiana

Israel: a rejoinder

This has reference to your editorial “West Asia on boil.” I would like to protest against quoting Israel as “Talibanised in its own way”. As a matter of fact Israel is the only country in West Asia, which guarantees freedom of press and speech. In addition, I would also like to correct some of the assumptions stated in the editorial.

First, most important, the latest wave of violence since last November is not spontaneous. It is a continuous effort by the Palestinian Authority to make use of violence as a negotiation tool. The fact that the Palestinian Authority initiated the violence was confirmed by the Palestinian Communication Minister, Mr Imad Falugi. He said on March 2, 2001 that when Chairman, Yasser Arafat broke the Camp David Summit in August last year, he ordered his associates to prepare the ground for “Intifada”. Throughout the last year not only that the Palestinian Authority and their leader Yasser Arafat were involved in spreading violence and releasing terrorist from prison, but they also used the Palestinian police and tanzim militia to target civilians in Israel by shooting. The “Intifada” is not an innocent revolt by students but it is a planned strategy of spreading violence and incitement through media as well as shooting bullets and mortars.

Secondly, Israel is a democracy. Presently it has a national unit government representing the vast majority of its people. The policy of the government is clear. Israel is committed to the Mitchell and Tenet plans, and will continue to pursue a diplomatic solution. In this framework, the Cabinet has recently decided on steps to ease the restrictions on the Palestinian population. However, Israel’s defence establishment will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the citizens of the State of Israel.

Thirdly, I would also like to emphasise that Rechavam Ze’evy was the Minister of Tourism of the democratically elected government of the State of Israel. Minister Ze’evey was the victim of a terrorist political assassination. Any comparison between this political murder, and Israeli counter-terrorist operations against ruthless terrorists is reprehensible. Israel’s counter-terrorist policy is directed against terrorists actively planning, launching and executing terrorist operations. While Israel strives to protect its citizens, the terrorists strive only to kill. Israel is struggling against terrorism and violence and not against Arabs, Islam or any other religion.

And finally, I wish to remind the readers that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is Jerusalem where the government sits and thus referring to Tel Aviv, as the Israel’s capital is baseless.

YARON MAYER, First Secretary
Press & Political Affairs
Embassy of Israel , New DelhiTop

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