Former Kerala University Vice-Chancellor B. Ekbal said political Islam that advocates Islam's capture of political power should be viewed as no less dangerous than ‘fascist’ Hindutva forces.

Inaugurating the State conference of the Kerala Yukthivadi Sanghom here on Saturday, Dr. Ekbal, a public health and science activist also, said religious extremism as well as a soft Hindutva mindset were gaining strength in the State. It often appeared that the society was taking a soft approach to a special kind of religious extremism while opposing the politics of religious extremism. The growth of political Islam was parallel to the growth of the United States ‘imperialism’, he said, adding that both had to be opposed strongly. Upper caste ‘fascists’ were of the opinion that that while all Muslims were not terrorists, all terrorists were Muslims, he said. Although this view could not be accepted, the perception that there were no extremist tendencies among Muslims should also be opposed, he added.

Lamenting that the society in the State had forgotten its scientific and rational legacy, Dr. Ekbal said that the State had now become a breeding ground for irrational ideas. The State might be experiencing industrial stagnation, but a spiritual industry was gaining ground here. “Kerala is witnessing export and import of fake spiritualism,” he said, adding that any irrational thinking was easily accepted here. The State had forgotten the rational legacy upheld by Sahodaran Ayyappan, M.C. Joseph, Kuttippuzha Krishna Pillai and Ayyankali, he said. “The people of Kerala are now paying a heavy price for the absence of rational thinking,” he added. He also urged the rationalists to seek the support of peace-loving believers to fight religious extremism.

Dr. Ekbal also said that rational thinking never had a greater period of acceptability worldwide than today as science had unravelled many mysteries of life and the universe. Fake spirituality industry growing in the State was an aberration, he added.

Kerala Yukthivadi Sanghom president U. Kalanathan presided. Karivellur Murali, Kureepuzha Sreekumar and Gangan Azhikode were among those who spoke at the function. The inaugural session was followed by a seminar on ‘Secular democracy against religious terrorism’.