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Saturday, June 25, 2022

“Murti puja is wrong”: recently resigned J&K BJP leader Mir Shafiqa

Mir Shafiqa, a recently resigned leader of the J&K BJP unit, has condemned the core Hindu practice of murti puja, committing sacrilege and hurting the sentiments of 1 billion+ Hindus in Bharat and across the world.

Speaking on the Nupur Sharma controversy, Shafiqa spoke of the supremacy of Islam before scorning murti puja. She also demanded the hanging of Nupur Sharma, rained abuses on UP CM Yogi Adityanath (attacking his monkhood) and RSS, and absolved the role of Islamic radicalism and Pakistan in stoking terrorism in Kashmir.

A fuller version of her video can be seen here. It is not clear when the video was shot, and whether it is from before her resignation or later. A summarized transcript follows:

“Ayats of our Quran are so powerful that if we read them they will all be eliminated, those who try to erase Islam will themselves be erased. You can arrest or kill me, but no Muslim will tolerate anything against our Prophet, even those who do not read the namaz. We read the kalma (Islamic oath of allegiance), we don’t do murti puja (despised as ‘idol worship’ by Abrahamic religions). We have to explain to Hindu brothers that murti puja is wrong…these are cement murtis that you worship. But we still don’t say anything, no Muslim targets any religion, these are our values.

“We believe in Allah, those who believe in Allah are not afraid of anyone. Allah is with us, we aren’t scared of FIR, arrest or even death. We will always keep demanding our rights. I keep telling Kashmiri Muslims to unite, we Muslims are being divided, we need to unite…

“I want to tell Yogi that he is the biggest terrorist, he is a dalla (pimp) – that yogi, sannyasi. He is the biggest terrorist who is banning masjids (sic), who is banning mikes, banning namaz, he is banning the great ulema to whom we (Muslims) go to solve our issues. I want to tell Yogi, ‘baldie, do proper politics, don’t do this religious politics

“By repeatedly calling them terrorists, you have forced Kashmiri Muslims to become terrorists, to pick up the gun. they are unemployed, highly educated boys are selling apples on handcarts – shame on BJP, Kejriwal had once said them same (shame on BJP)..today we have these bald, half-blind, cripples doing politics. these illiterate and uncivilized people have no idea what they are saying, which religion they are speaking against…..(BJP) party is not anyone’s father’s property, not Modi’s nor Amit Shah’s nor Ravinder Raina’s (BJP J&K President), anyone can work in the party. Being a member does not mean we will blindly follow whatever they say. That will not happen.

“A madam (Nupur Sharma) who does murti puja, who visits temples, who doesn’t know about the Quran, who doesn’t know the hadees , she is targeting our Prophet, dishonoring him? That dalli (female pimp) should be hanged. We will wait till Modi ji sends her to jail – if he doesn’t, we will all leave BJP, we will boycott it. BJP (supporting) businessmen are sitting in Muslim countries..but Islam allows people of any religion to stay in Muslim countries, do business there. But that doesn’t mean you take advantage of this. Do they think we Muslims are afraid? They declare everyone as terrorist and anti-national. is only BJP ok? Is only RSS ok? these chaddi-walahs who are against their own nation, did they play any role in freedom struggle? We Muslims played a role, Mughals did.”

Lessons for Hindu society, Dharmagurus and socio-political orgs

Hindus would be committing a grave mistake if they dismiss such speeches as ’emotional outbursts’ or Islamist rhetoric. They provide a pointer into the Muslim mind, which the overwhelming majority of Muslims share. Here are some key takeaways

  • Condemning murti puja, or what they call ‘idol worship’, as a sin or ignorant practice is a core doctrine of Islam and Christianity. There is no getting away from this. Hindus should not try to bury this theological difference due to ‘difference anxiety‘ with anodyne statements like ‘all religions are the same’. Abrahamics learn this and other differences like perceived supremacy of monotheism over polytheism (belief in multiple divine forms) from childhood. Hindus will continue living in a fool’s world unless they understand these core differences between Dharma and Abrahamic religions.
  • Notice how Shafiqa says “we have to explain to our Hindu brothers that murti puja is wrong…” – this is the outlook of most practicing Abrahamics who may appear to be tolerant on the surface. But their tolerance is at best akin to that of a polite acquaintance who believes you are wrong, but doesn’t want to say that to your face. There is no genuine respect like Hindu sampradayas or Dharmic panths share for each other. Muslims aren’t just taught about the supremacy of their religion, their milieu also ensures they absorb rhetoric demeaning other religions.
  • Shafiqa’s statement “we Muslims don’t target other religions” is staggering given the history of Islam which is littered with countless episodes of destroying temples/murtis and demanding non-Muslims convert, die or pay jiziya (tax levied on non-Muslims). Da’wah or proselytization is a central part of Islam, just like evangelism is for Christianity. Talking of the supremacy of Islam/Christianity is a core aspect of this proselytization, and there are countless examples of how Islamic preachers from Zakir Naik to Maulana S’aad implicitly or explicitly degrade other religions. How then do people like Shafiqa manage to say with a straight face that “Muslims don’t speak ill of other religions”? The answer again lies in the Islamic supremacism that is drilled into them. As Islam is built up as this perfect, humanitarian, peace-loving religion in their minds, any evidence to the contrary is dismissed as a ‘conspiracy against Islam’. It is for this reason that majority of Pakistani society feels nothing when Hindu and Christian minor girls are abducted, raped and forced to convert to Islam – most believe that the non-Muslim girl is ‘lucky’ that she finally ‘came into the light of Islam’. Also, this talk of ‘respecting others’ is usually heard when Muslims are in the minority or are trying to earn brownie points – the actions of the community as a whole speak very differently. Again, this is not to say that Muslims who genuinely believe in the doctrine of mutual respect do not exist, but it is next to impossible for them to become community spokespersons because placing any religion on the same pedestal as Islam is itself a ‘blasphemy’.
  • Hate or contempt for Hindu sadhus, priests and other religious leaders is another outcome of the Abrahamic supremacism that is indoctrinated from an early age. Ridiculing Dharmic practises comes naturally when you are schooled to view the other as ignorant/regressive (i.e. living in a state of jahiliya/paganism). It is no random occurrence that Bollywood movies where Abrahamics are involved are especially virulent when it comes to Hinduphobia.
  • There are lessons for BJP and RSS too in the episode. How people like Shafiqa are allowed into the party without proper vetting is the first. Will the party issue a letter condemning her remarks against Hindu Dharma, just like they did while suspending Nupur? Secondly, the kind of false narratives that have been allowed to take deep root in the public consciousness will not disappear through just development and higher GDP. “RSS had no role in Independence” (Mir Shafiqa thinks the Mughals did), “Hindus are foreign invaders” etc cannot be contested through gentle persuasion or bland exhortations to common ancestry and nationhood alone. History has to be told and taught without distortions or political correctness. The centrality of Dharma to Bharatiya civilization has to be asserted. Every month that passes without genuine curriculum and education reform pushes us closer to the brink.

The bottomline is that Hindus have to wake up and smell the coffee. Hindu religious organizations have the biggest role to play in educating our society about the basics of Dharma and Adharma. They cannot afford to stay in their comfort zones any longer. The very existence of Hindus is at stake in the coming decades.

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