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Muslims have shown patience and morality

– Syed Tanveer Ahmed

The greatest soft power a community can possess is patience and morality. This is the basis for thriving multicultural democracy. History is evident that the communities that adopted these qualities in interpersonal relations developed a good society. Even in today’s world, the nations where democracy is fostering inter-community tolerance, and understanding of each other’s culture, thought, faith, and religion, are thriving. India, being a land of many faiths, cultures, and lifestyles has a great history of tolerance and understanding. However, since the dawn of imperialistic forces that adopted the policy of “divide and rule”, to strengthen their empire is unfortunately still being practiced here even after Independence. It is a matter of great concern that we cannot learn and understand the weaknesses of our society even after reading the history and having a history of imperialism in our country.

A recent study of “Hindutva Watch” demonstrates how Islamophobic attitudes are increasing in our land. Besides physical assault innocent Muslims have been bearing, the media, politicians, and fringe elements all add to the enormous quantum of hate content being generated in social media and the mainstream media. This is creating an utterly hostile social environment. Any unbiased research is bound to come up with shocking data.

Amidst this situation, the attitude of a huge vibrant Muslim community in India has been very constructive. The community leaders have shown great responsibility and moral courage by responding in a dignified manner to this huge content and physical assault. Leading Muslim organizations, community leaders, and intellectuals have guided the Muslim masses and youth to abstain from indulging in the tit-for-tat style of responding to hate content or incidents in which Muslims have been assaulted. In both minor and major incidents, Muslims have shown remarkable patience and morality. The community is hardly receiving any political support, nor from the executive and the media. Muslims have developed the attitude of “help thyself”. In many cases where Muslims were looted and their properties destroyed or the Muslim youth incarcerated, they either fought in courts or supported the victims to re-establish them.

It is highly appreciable that Muslim religious leaders in mosques and Muslim educational institutions in their schools, are teaching Muslim children, youth, and elders to exercise the soft power of patience and morality, and have a positive attitude toward fellow beings and be engaged in the nation-building exercise. This is a great sign from the community. Certainly, India will become a superpower if this kind of soft power is shown by other religious groups and communities. This philosophy of developing soft power is inspired by the Quranic teaching, “Repel (evil) with that which is good”. But, unfortunately, a few religious leaders and even educational institutions are not showing similar tolerance. So, the need of the hour is to demonstrate strong intercommunity relations based on patience, understanding, tolerance, and respect for each other.

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