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Amanatullah Khan’s threat to Yati Narsinghanand: The long Islamist tradition of using violence to suppress criticism of Islam

This has been comprehensively captured by author Koenraad Elst in his seminal book “Decolonising the Hindu Mind” wherein he lists several historical incidents when Islamists have resorted to violence and intimidation to silence critics of Islam.

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan on Saturday called for the beheading of the Dasna Devi Temple head priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati for his critical remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

In a tweet, Khan said, “We can not tolerate such impertinence for our beloved Prophet Muhammad. This hateful insect should be awarded the most severe punishment by slitting his tongue and neck. But the law of the land does not permit us to do this, we have faith in the Indian constitution, and I want Delhi Police to take note of this.”

Source: Twitter

Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati was speaking at an event held at the Press Club of India where he urged Hindus to be fearless in highlighting the characteristics of Prophet Muhammad.

“If Islam’s reality, for which Maulana says, ‘If you speak about Muhammad, we will behead you’, Hindus should get rid of this fear. We are Hindus. If we can about the characteristics of Lord Ram, and other Hindu deities, then Muhammad is nothing for us. Why could not we speak about Muhammad and speak truth?” Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati exclaimed.

In essence, Narsinghanand Saraswati was urging Hindus to shun the fear of reprisal from Muslim radicals and speak about the characteristic traits of Prophet Muhammad, just like the way they do for Hindu Gods. However, Saraswati’s exhortation to speak up the truth did not sit well with Islamists like AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan, who was quick to call for the decapitation of the Hindu priest for speaking against the Islamic prophet.

History of how Islamists have been using intimidation and violence to prevent discussions on Islam and Prophet Muhammad

Khan’s call for killing and decapitating Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati for expressing his views against Prophet Muhammad is not a spur of the moment indignation. It holds a historical context. For centuries now, Islamists have been using threats and violence to force dissenters into silence. The picture becomes stark when the history of India is taken into account.

This has been comprehensively captured by author Koenraad Elst in his seminal book “Decolonising the Hindu Mind” wherein he lists several historical incidents when Islamists have resorted to violence and intimidation to silence critics of Islam.

In 1892, Pandit Lekh Ram wrote: “Risala-i-Jihad ya ni Din-i-Muhammadi ki bunyad” (Treatise on Holy War, or the Basis of the Mohammedan religion). It catalogued the violence of the Muslim conquests and listed cases of forced conversions. The aim of the author was to present the readers with an objective analysis of the historical events and urge converted Muslims to reconvert back to the Vedic way of worship.

Excerpt from Koenraad Elst’s ‘Decoding the Hindu Mind’

However, the author faced fierce pushback from the rabid Islamists for acquainting Muslims with the blood-stained legacy of Islam and persuading them to reconvert to Hinduism. Risal-i-Jihad was an object of the lawsuit, in which the Muslims demanded the book be banned. However, after several rounds in the court, they lost the case in 1896.

But the matter did not end there. Lekh was murdered in March 1897, simply for cataloguing the horrors meted out by Muslim rulers in India and its indigenous population. In fact, prominent Muslims, including Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiya sect of Islam, openly applauded the murder.

The book also claimed that Hindus started receiving threat letters. Mysterious notices were put up across the province warning Hindus to revere all Islamic prophets and believe in them, failing which they were threatened with the same fate as meted out to Pandit Lekh.

In another instance mentioned in the book, Hindus in Kohat (North-West Frontier Province) had to bear the brunt of Muslim rage for a pamphlet of the local Sanatana Dharma Sabha, written by its secretary Jiwan Das, in reply to a Muslim pamphlet insulting Sita.

The Sanatana Dharma Sabha pamphlet contained an anti-Islamic poem that raised the hackles of the Islamists and sparked widespread protests. Frightened by the demonstrations, the minority Hindu community passed a resolution, “regretting their error and requesting pardon”.

However, the Muslim protesters were not satisfied by the resolution. In a bid to pacify them, the authorities arrested Jiwan Das and kept him in jail for a week. But this too did not quell the raging indignation among Muslims. Finally, on 9 and 10 September 1924, the Muslim mob raided the Hindu neighbourhood and killed dozens of Hindus.

Excerpt from Koenraad Elst’s ‘Decoding the Hindu Mind’

Even the activists of The Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement, could not escape the wrath of Islamic radicals. The most outstanding Arya Samaji of the twentieth century, Swami Shraddhananda, as the book claims, was also a victim of violence normalised by Islamists in the name of blasphemy.

Shraddhananda was killed by one Abdul Rashid on 23 December 1926 as he was lying sick in bed. Another prominent Arya Samaj activist Lala Nanakchand was killed following Shraddhananda’s murder. Next, Mahashay Raj Pal, a signatory of the pamphlet Rangila Rasul, which contained tales about Muhammad’s sex life, was hacked to death by one Ilamdin in April 1929.

Abdul Rashid was subsequently caught by the British authorities for murdering Swami Shraddhananda. When he was hanged for Swami’s murder, Muslim clerics all over the country held prayers for his “martyred soul”.

Excerpt from Koenraad Elst’s ‘Decoding the Hindu Mind’

Not only Islamists were responsible for perpetuating a culture of violence and threat, but even prominent Muslim leaders and religious clerics obliquely extended their support to these criminal murders. This uncomfortable fact was voiced by none other than the chief architect of the Indian Constitution—Dr BR Ambedkar.

“The leading Muslims, however, never condemned these criminals. On the contrary, they were hailed as religious martyrs,” Ambedkar said.

In 1933, another Arya Samaji Nathuramal Sharma was dragged to court for publishing a pamphlet that was similar in nature to the one published by Lekh Ram. However, this time around, Sharma lost the case. In September 1934, when Sharma went to court to plead against sentence, he was murdered by one Abdul Qayum.

Qayum was passionately defended by his lawyer Barkat Ali, who argued in court that Qayum was not guilty of the murder of Nathuramal because his act was justifiable by the law of the Koran.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century, the methods of Islamists into silencing the critiques of Islam have not seen much of a change. In fact, their resolve to extinguish dissenters have grown stronger, and their ways to achieve that has become more gory and gruesome.

The Islamists of 21st century persist with the tradition of violence and intimidation to browbeat dissenters into silence

Recently, a French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded because he had allegedly reproduced the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad first published in satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2005.

An Islamist, aggrieved by the fact that Paty had the temerity of showing pictures of Prophet Muhammad, killed the French national. It was only later revealed that Paty was killed based on a lie concocted by a 13-year-old girl wanting to escape her father’s ire.

Back in India, the founder of the Hindu Samaj Party Kamlesh Tiwari was murdered by Islamists in broad daylight. In October 2019, Tiwari was shot and his throat was slit for making unflattering remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

In 2015, Tiwari had commented on Prophet Muhammad’s sexuality, drawing the ire of rabid Muslims. He was subsequent arrested by the then Akhilesh Yadav government. Muslim groups in Deoband, Saharanpur and West Bengal had launched massive riots and protests demanding Tiwari’s death.

Tiwari had remained in jail or over a year after the National Security Act was slapped on him. In September 2016, the Allahabad HC had finally quashed the NSA charges against him and he was released later.

For Islamists, having an open discussion of the teachings of Islam or the characteristics of Prophet Muhammad is a strict no-go zone. Radical Islamists and their allies in the form of left-leaning liberals have upheld Islam, and public scrutiny of the Islamic religious texts has attracted both—intellectual opposition as well as crude one—in the form of violence and intimidation.

Anyone who speaks against Islam or broaches the topic of Prophet Muhammad has to face severe backlash from the liberal intelligentsia, who are quick to ostracise such individuals and brand them Islamophobic bigots. Their counterparts, in the form of Islamists, then dish out threats against them and some of them are even killed so as to discourage others and instill fear among them to speak on Islam.

For Islamists, any criticism of Islam, even a well-meaning assessment intended to bring about a positive impact, is considered as anathema and blasphemous. Their parochial brains regard Islam as a hermetic faith, whose teachings are infallible and which cannot be subjected to any public scrutiny. For them, Islam is inviolable, their Prophet is unimpeachable. Therefore, people who do not conform to this worldview are considered fair game by Islamists to threaten, intimidate and even kill.

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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