Lahore, Saturday, May 22, 1920

Muslims and the Khilafat Issue

MR. Yakub Hasan will excuse a little plain-speaking on our part. In spite of all that he and others of his way of thinking may say by way of distinguishing their allegiance to India from their allegiance to the Government of India or the British Throne, there is a growing feeling in many non-Muslims quarters that the same considerations that have led them in the present case to contemplate the severance of their loyal connection with Great Britain might in altered circumstances and in an analogous case lead to contemplate the reverence of their loyal connection with India herself. How much passion has to do with the matter is shown by the fact that while only a few months ago two distinguished Mahomedan leaders both privately and publicly declared that if India were invaded by a Muslim power, they would shed their last drop of blood in defence of her, within the last few weeks one of them is reported to have said that if a Mahomedan power invaded India in order to rescue the holy places of Islam from the Christians then the Mahomedans of India would and should make common cause with it. The two positions are incompatible. This definite subordination of the secular interests of Indian liberty to the spiritual interests of the Khilafat may be quite in accordance with the Islamic faith, but surely if this is the position, it is neither proper nor reasonable to expect the non-Muslims to make common cause with Muslims even in this matter of the Khilafat. Non-Muslims in India are prepared to go a long way with Muslims in this as in all other matters, but they cannot subordinate their civic and political liberty to any other earthly consideration, and to them the maintenance of the holy places of Islam is, after all, only an earthly consideration.

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