India would be incomplete without Islam, which is not about killing for virgins in heaven!

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The recent controversy surrounding the stripping of voting rights of Muslims to dissuade politicians from using them as vote banks tells a lot about our thought process.

We see them as a fanatical community, always wary of them. We see them as a threat to the Hindu community. Painting the entire faith of Islam with the same brush is not the work of a rational mind. We need to understand that the problem is not Islam, it is the way we think and act.

Islam is tragically perceived as a religion that has given birth to modern-day terrorism. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

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Catastrophic incidents like crashing the plane on the twin towers in New York, the bombings of Bali, Madrid and London, and the existence of muslim-member terrorist groups are looked at as the teachings of Islam, with the sanction of the Prophet. Media could have played a more responsible role. It portrays bombers and killers as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’, which further fuels the perception. Simply because a few fanatical individuals and groups from the Muslim community indulge in fundamental tactics should not mean that every Muslim is a gun-toting terrorist. That is absurd thinking.

Muslim orphan praying during Ramadan, Thailand

Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad is based on peace, sacrifice and brotherhood. It strictly prohibits any form of injustice, including that of reckless bloodshed aimed at which seeks to ininfusing fear and death to civilians. It is because of a few merchants of death that Islam is getting a bad name.

India would be less vibrant and secular without Muslims. They are a critical cog in the wheel and adds to the diverse nature of India. Without Islam, Indian democracy would be without any soul and substance.

The clergy, maulvis and hardened terrorists are spreading hatred aimed at non-Muslim people. They are misrepresenting Islam, manipulating its teachings and deceiving people. They have scarred the mystique of Islam, reducing it to a faith that espouses the use of guns. The tragedy is that we, as Hindus and Christians, fail to understand this basic theme. The media-fuelled image of a Muslim terrorist is so deeply entrenched in our psyche that every time we come across a Muslim with long beard, we doubt his credibility, we start thinking, could he be a killer, is he wearing a human bomb…?

No one is born a Hindu, Muslim or Christian. We are born as humans.

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Abu Bakr, the first Calipha of the Muslims, reflected these prophetic teachings when he advised his general Yazid, who was confronting Roman armies:

“I advise you ten things, Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.”

This is the true spirit of Islam. A Hindu should not hate, but love his Muslim friend. His soul is as clean as yours. He has the same dreams and the same love for life. In Hindu religion, there are certain hardened elements who threaten the secular nature of India. However, it does not mean that the entire community as terrorists.

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The most violated concept is Jihad, which is a synonym for terror now a days in the world. Jihad is an Islamic term referring to a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād is a noun meaning “struggle” or “resisting”. This resistance is against the suppressor or the evil. It was never stated that you abduct, kill or behead someone in the name of Jihad. ISIS, Laskar –e-Taiba, Al Qaeda are simply criminals, takers of human lives. They live in a world of hate and death. They are not sons and daughters of Islam, but a group of people who have lost their paths.

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