Trinicenter Trini News & Views
Raffique Shah


 ¤ Archives 2008 
 ¤ Archives 2007 
 ¤ Archives 2006 
 ¤ Archives 2005 
 ¤ Archives 2004 
 ¤ Archives 2003 
 ¤ Archives 2002 
 ¤ Archives 2001 
 ¤ Trinidad News 
 ¤ International 
 ¤ Caribbean News

Religious zealots take us to the brink

By Raffique Shah
November 30, 2008

Even as India's elite military units were flushing out the remnants of the terrorists who launched a bloody, well-coordinated attack on several symbolic targets in Mumbai, the blame-game was underway. Predictably, Gujarat's Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, openly accused Pakistan of being behind the attacks. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was more diplomatic in his comments, as was his Foreign Minister. What is clear, though, is following this multi-pronged assault on that country's commercial capital, war between India and Pakistan is a strong possibility.

One cannot expect good sense to prevail in an environment of religious recklessness. Lal Advani's BJP, which governed India until it lost the elections a few years ago, remains rooted to transforming the country into Hindutva-a Hindu state. The BJP is supported in this quest by groups like the VHP, the BD and more important the RSS and the SS. I have not spelt out the names because they would mean little to local readers. Suffice it to say Nathuram Godse, the man who murdered Mahatma Gandhi and who remained defiant during his trial, was a member of the RSS before he joined the even more extremist Hindu Mahasabha. Gandhi, Godse said during his trial, "was sacrificing Hindu interests in an effort to appease minority groups."

Even though Nehru's Congress Party opted for a secular state (there are more than 100 million Muslims living in India), the quest for Hindutva never ceased. It rears its head ever so often, most recently when Hindus attacked and killed hundreds of Christian converts. In 2002, following a fire in a train carrying Hindu pilgrims that killed scores of them, large mobs of Hindus attacked, raped and killed over 1,000 Muslims. Moti and his state police did not intervene to stop the carnage. Later, one official inquiry concluded the fire was set not by Muslim attackers, but it was accidental.

Meanwhile, across the border in Pakistan, radical imams are preaching their brand of Islam. For them, anyone who is not a Muslim is an unbeliever deserving of death: if agnostics like me lived anywhere close to their "madrassas", I might have been beheaded! The radicals have been around long before bin Laden's Al-Qaeda came into existence. Shortly after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Al-Qaeda came into being (funded and armed by the CIA and Pakistan), as did the Taliban. They served America's anti-communist campaign-until 9/11 and America's invasions and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Thereafter, for the Islamists, Americans and Britons became fair game, anywhere, anytime, and by whatever means. Even Muslims who are not of their ilk are seen as fair targets: remember the assassination of Benazir Bhutto? Or their many bombings in Pakistan? It is not difficult to conclude the Mumbai-attackers belonged to one of hundreds such groups, most of which are based in Pakistan's North-West frontier.

These religious extremists-and they come from among most religions-do not recognise people's rights to disagree with them.Recently on Radio 95.5, one pastor Manning (no, not our PM!) from America, argued that US President-elect Barack Obama was "a false prophet", quoting "chapter and verse", as we say. This is a Black man, and presumably, his congregation is Black. Multiply Manning and his flock by, say, one hundred, and you have thousands of Black Christian 'soldiers' ready to go out there and slay Obama.

Locally, pastor Cuffie has all but declared Barack the Devil Incarnate. Since he is part of a wider group of born-again Christians, I can only imagine what these wild men preach to their captive, passive flocks. Bearing in mind it was a Black man who murdered Malcolm X, would it surprise readers that we could see a repeat in Obama's case? With these zealots, one can never tell.

What do the mujahideens in Mumbai, the Hindutvas in India and the crusaders among Christians have in common? Religion. Dogma. Madness in the minds of preachers who believe they own the truth, the "only way". They thrive among Zionists, too. Indeed, because Jewish extremists deny the Palestinians their humanity, their rights to land, to water, to electricity, to existence, they have helped to boost recruitment of Islamic jihadists in madrassas around the world.

Following this most recent madness in Mumbai, religious zealots have brought the world to the brink of war for yet another time. Make no mistake about it: should war erupt between India and Pakistan, we could see a nuclear conflagration. Both countries have highly sophisticated armaments, including nuclear bombs. Would the mighty China, located atop the borders of both Pakistan and India, sit idly by and watch their neighbours' houses reduced to cinders under mushroom-clouds?

Hardly likely. Even if the two countries go to war with only conventional weapons, other world powers would be drawn into the conflict. We are treading close to a global war that devious minds (like those at Langley and the Pentagon) may see as one solution to an economic meltdown they cannot stop. Do not be surprised if they help trigger a war that will end their woes-and, possibly, end the world-according to chapter... Madmen!

Share your views here...