Can we liberate Muslims?

Moorthy Muthuswamy Ph.D., July 2002

This is the billion dollar question for India, -- more than that, the answer will determine whether India can progress or descend into an irreversible Islam inspired economic and social destruction.

There are other reasons, mostly humanitarian, for nudging Muslims into reconverting. By leaving the non-performing and hate ideology, future generations of Muslims can lead better lives. This is also of interest to non-Muslims who can live far more securely and productively with a reduced Islamic extremist threat. In the citadel of Islam, Saudi Arabia or in Islamic Pakistan Muslims converting to any other religion are punishable by death under blasphemy laws. This shows that Muslims really do not have the religious freedom. Therefore, only by conversion, Muslims can achieve religious freedom.

An analysis of the structure of Islam points to major weaknesses that can be utilized to liberate Muslims.

Unlike Hinduism, Islam is a far more of an institutionalized religion. The institution being the local Mosque and the head being the maulvi. It is now realized that the poverty, retrogressive attitude, intolerance, propensity for violence, lack of education - many common attributes of Muslims of India -- is due to the indoctrination of the medieval clerics manning the mosques. These clerics have little interest in seeing their flock progress, lest they lose control of them.

Muslim masses too have become habituated to getting this indoctrination in the form of "glory days of Islam', the portrayal of non-Muslims as the root cause of Muslim backwardness, and the need to wage jihad or violent attacks on non-Muslims.

It is pertinent to review here how Buddhism vanished in India. When Muslim conquerors invaded India many hundred years ago, they found Buddhism taking root mostly in cities, -- close to the centers of power. It too was institutionalized with its monasteries and monks. When Muslim swords took a heavy toll of the monk's heads, the institutions were destroyed and so was Buddhism.

Hinduism survived this period because there was very little institutionalization and because there were too many Hindus scattered through a wide area. Back then, the Muslim ruling class realized that it made no economic sense to kill all Hindus, -- with Hindus providing the cheap and copious labor for the few Muslim ruling elite. The Muslim invaders still managed to kill many millions of "infidel" Hindus nevertheless. As the Muslim population increased, there was no need for Hindus or other non-Muslims. Most were either killed or expelled. Which is what we have seen in every Muslim majority area, namely, -- Pakistan, Kashmir valley, or now in Bangladesh.

The influence of the clerics extends across the spectrum of the Muslim population, making it very difficult to reform Islam from within. That is why an external intervention is needed. Given the institutional parallels between Islam and Buddhism, the key to liberating Muslims or even neutralizing Islamic extremism lies in installing "reformed" clerics in Mosques.

In the case of India, this translates into "retiring" the clerics and replacing them with progressive non-Muslims. The process of reverse indoctrination then involves pointing out to Muslims how they have been duped by the medieval Saudi culture and the indigenous alternatives to reconvert for a better life. Of course, such an action can only be instituted by a state that is on a war footing and supported by the society. I think this process is doable.

India hardly has any other choice, mutilated in 1947 in the name of Islam and the home of non-Muslim refugees who were driven out of Islamic Pakistan and Islamic Bangladesh, India is the last and only secular homeland of non-Muslim South Asians. For India, this is the primary human rights issue of its defining moment.

It should be clear without an iota of doubt that non-Muslims of South Asia are dealing with an ideology that doesn't believe in coexistence. Unlike every other civilization, nation-building doesn't appear to be its desired goal, only a violent extermination of anything deemed different. India will have to neutralize it by all means or be neutralized by it.