In a recent article, noted Indian Muslim writer Kashif-Ul-Huda questions the anti-Israel protests regarding Gaza, especially those by Indian Muslims. His article, titled "Anti-Israel Protests Are Futile," was published on July 24, a day before the last Friday prayer of the fasting month of Ramadan. It should be noted that the last Friday of Ramadan is also marked as "Yaum-e-Quds," or "Jerusalem Day" – an Iranian-backed annual day to protest against Israel.
Kashif-Ul-Huda's article was published by Twocirlces.net, a website edited by him and focused mainly on Indian Muslim issues. The website can be described as sympathetic to Islamic causes. Kashif-Ul-Huda lives in the U.S. and has through his writings over the years tried to provide intellectual leadership to the Muslims of India.
In the article, Kashif-Ul-Huda notes that throughout history protests by Indian Muslims haven't produced positive outcomes. He also reminds the readers that many such protests in India turn out to be violent, leading to the loss of human lives. His article points out that protests by Indian Muslim leaders on international issues, in this case the Israeli action in Gaza, are an escape from their inability to influence the daily lives of Indian Muslims.
In the article, excerpts from which are given below, the author goes on to offer a constitutional rights framework for Indian Muslims to mobilize themselves along with other marginalized communities, stating: "Muslims [of India] should be on the streets demanding their legitimate and constitutional rights by joining hands with other marginalized groups who are also facing neglect and discrimination by the ruling elites. Let's build movements around those specific and achievable demands with measurable impact…"
The following are excerpts:
"As Anti-Israel Protests Are Being Organized All Over India, We Should Also Pause And Ponder What Is Being Achieved Internationally With These Protests, And What Are The Local Implications"
"We are in the last one-third of the month of Ramadan, a period marked by increased time spent in worshipping and remembrance of the Lord of the worlds. Some Muslims spend the last ten days of this month in seclusion, sleeping less and spending most of their waking hours in devotion. But this Ramadan, for the last few days a number of Muslims are spilling over on the streets protesting against Israel's war of aggression against Palestinians in Gaza. The photos and videos from Gaza are indeed horrible and people have a right to show their anger by protesting in public places and [on] social media.
"But as anti-Israel protests are being organized all over India, we should also pause and ponder what is being achieved internationally with these protests, and what are the local implications.
"It was almost two years ago that a big protest in Azad Maidan in Mumbai turned violent and two Muslim youth ended up losing their lives, and many were injured. That protest was organized to show anger toward the killing of Muslims in Myanmar [by Buddhists] and Assam [the northeastern state of India, by local non-Muslim tribes]. What did these protests achieve? Lives of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar continue to be in difficult[y], with no justice in sight and no improvement in their situation in coming future. And this is not the first time that protests have turned violent and will not be the last time either.
"If you mobilize people on an emotive issue coupled with religious energy … you have at hand a very explosive charge. It is for the leadership to consider whether they are capable of harnessing that energy for something productive."
"Indian Muslim Leadership And Organizations … Keep The Focus On International Issues Or Non-Issues That Supposedly 'Threaten Islam'"; "This Could Be Because They Know That They Have No Power Or Influence To Bring About Any Change In Daily Lives Of Muslims In India"
"About a hundred years ago, a religious issue of the abolition of Caliphate [in 1924] was skillfully used by Ali Brothers [Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali] and the Indian Muslim leadership of that time to launch an anti-imperialistic struggle and jumpstart India's independence movement. There would not have been a mass freedom movement [against British colonial rule in India] without the mobilization effort of the Khilafat Movement [i.e. 1919-1924 movement for the restoration of the Ottoman Caliphate]. Today, we lack the leadership who can harness the anger and frustration of our youth to turn them into something positive and productive.
"Indian Muslim leadership and organizations of this era keep the focus on international issues or non-issues that supposedly 'threaten Islam' ('Islam khatre mein hai' [the slogan: 'Islam is in danger']) over domestic & local issues that threaten the security and livelihood of Muslims ('Musalmaan khatre mein hai' ['Muslims are in danger']). This could be because they know that they have no power or influence to bring about any change in the daily lives of Muslims in India and focus on international issues; [it] is an escape from reality.
"This Friday [July 25] is the last juma [Friday weekly prayer] of this Ramadan, which Muslims refer to 'Alvida Juma.' Greater than usual numbers of people attend this prayer in mosques where Friday prayers are offered. Many protests from Mumbai to Kolkata are planned that day right after the prayers. Let's just hope that all protests remain peaceful and no property is damaged, no one is injured, and no lives are lost. Even if all protests remain peaceful one should ask what we hope to achieve with these protests. What do these protests need to achieve to call these protests successful?
"Organizers or their supporters will be quick to respond that we hope to stop Israel from its brutal killing of civilians including children in the ongoing attack on Gaza. Some might also say that we hope that Indian government stop supporting Israel."
"Let's Examine The Effect Of These Protests On Israel – Nothing; Israel Has Figured Out That Peace Is Not In Their Best Interest So They Keep Creating Situations Which Will Lead To Violence Rather Than Peace"
"First, let's examine the effect of these protests on Israel – nothing. Israel has figured out that peace is not in their best interest so they keep creating situations which will lead to violence rather than peace. Israel is the recipient of huge amount of funding from the U.S. government and Jewish Diaspora because they present themselves as involved in conflict with 'blood-thirsty Arabs.'
"In the recent conflict two American Jewish boys lost their lives serving in the Israeli Army. Defense of the only Jewish country holds religiously and historically more emotions for Jews than Muslims caring about other Muslims getting killed in faraway lands. Movement of funds and people into Israel will dry up if and when this Jewish nation makes peace with its neighbors.
"Israel need[s] to have war or major conflict every few years to remind its supporters of their dues – a sort of fundraising drive. War is good for business as well. These conflicts become a good way of showcasing the latest innovation in Israeli arms technology. Orders for the Israeli booming arms manufacturing industry see a sharp increase after major conflict with Palestinians. Following Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 that killed 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, Israeli arms sales reached $6bn for the first time. Israel will do anything to maintain and promote the industry that provides livelihood for ten percent of the population.
"Compare this multi-billion dollar business opportunity with the international condemnation and public shaming those world-wide protests brings [for Israel], and you will know why these protests will not work. In fact, Israel loves the attention as there is no such thing as bad publicity."
"Let's Look At The History Of Indian Muslim Protests In Independent India And Ask Ourselves: When Was The Last Time Indian Muslims Were Able To Achieve Something For The Community?" "We … Reserve Our Condemnation And Energy For International Anti-Islam Forces Without Realizing That The Noose Around Our Collective Neck Is Getting Tight"
"Let's look at the history of Indian Muslim protests in independent India and ask ourselves: when was the last time Indian Muslims were able to achieve something for the community? We were not even able to get all of the Sachar Committee Report's recommendations [for uplift of Indian Muslims] implemented by a government that may be called Muslim-friendly, or at least friendlier than the present government. So to hope that these protests will make India go back to its earlier policy on Israel … is a pipe dream. The Indian establishment has been working for several years to align itself with the U.S. and Israel to pretend to be a superpower by association.
"Israel doesn't dominate India's foreign policy but it is now closely tied to India's security establishment. India is a major buyer of Israeli arms. Israel also provides training to Indian armed forces and police. Techniques perfected by Israel in controlling Palestinians are now employed by Indian forces in controlling its own citizens in Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, North Eastern states, etc.
"Just yesterday [July 23] a Times of India new[s] story quotes People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) documenting human rights excesses by Cobra Team, a special team of Rajasthan [State] Police. Cobra Team members wear masks, raid at night, and harass whole village where they raid looking for criminals, a form of collective punishment – all learned from the Israelis on how to subjugate a population. It is no coincidence that most of the victims of raids by this Cobra Team are Muslims.
"Those who look at distant lands for atrocities against Muslims are somehow blind to what is happening closer home. Just a few months ago in Mumbra in Thane [near Mumbai], hundreds of Muslims were forced out of their homes by the police. A combing operation in the suburb of India's financial capital [Mumbai], but there were no nation-wide protests on this issue. News about Rajasthan's Cobra Team will also die down. We will reserve our condemnation and energy for international anti-Islam forces without realizing that the noose around our collective neck is getting tight [in India].
"Muslims [of India] should be on the streets demanding their legitimate and constitutional rights by joining hands with other marginalized groups who are also facing neglect and discrimination by the ruling elites. Let's build movements around those specific and achievable demands with measurable impact that has the potential to improve daily lives. Let's mobilize, but not on emotional issues – but [through] intellectually thought-out demands."
Source: Twocircles.net, July 24, 2014. The original English of the article has been mildly edited for clarity and standardization.