There is no gainsaying thatMuslims the world over are facinghumiliation, thanks to tags like`Islamophobia' and `Islamic terror'ascribed to their religion ("Whatmade Shabana Azmi conscious ofher Muslim identity," May 8). Theevents of 9/11, 7/7 and 26/11 haveonly made matters worse for them.There is hardly any country in theWest today where a Muslim is notrequired to pass through thegoggles of suspicion. The genesis ofthe problem lies in the unjustpolicy being pursued by the UnitedStates in West Asia and the AfPakregion.
Syed Sultan Mohiddin,
An important side-effect of 9/11has been the increasing tendencyamong Muslims to openly displaytheir religious identity. Girls suddenlytook to covering themselvesin burqas while clean-shaven menstarted sporting beards. EverywhereMuslims meet they talk abouthow they are being discriminatedagainst in countries where they arenot in a majority. The fight againstterrorism is seen as a war on Islamand the invasion of Iraq is cited asproof that the non-Muslim worldwants to grab the resources ofMuslims.
I was shocked and saddened onreading the sentence "a lot of their[Muslims'] difficulties are of theirown making" - a generalised andunqualified aside. Can the authorelaborate on it or justify the statement?It will be of immense help tothe Muslim community in India.
Was Ms Azmi's moderate outlookon religious matters so fragile thatit was transformed into one ofacute consciousness of her religiousidentity after the Babri Masjiddemolition and 9/11? If yes, theunfortunate incidents succeededin their purpose of promoting hatredand harming liberalism. Researchshows that from a veryyoung age - as early as five years -identity formation starts takingshape.
Although in most cases, religiousidentity intrudes into one's consciousness,as a person's thoughtprocess matures, he or she mustlearn to take a stand on religiousissues and stick to it. That is thetrue test of one's conviction.
The Babri Masjid incident is certainlya black mark in the history ofsecular India. But that is no reasonfor Ms Azmi to become defensive.If the demolition of the mosquecould make Ms Azmi take her Muslimidentity more seriously, everyonecan find thousands ofreasons to become defensive abouthis religion.
Of late, we seem to have becomeparanoid about everything even remotelyassociated with religion. Iam sure Ms Azmi is large-heartedenough to forgive those who attemptedto desecrate a place ofworship. But she should have theright to say that she is a Muslim asmuch as she is an actor and anIndian. To be a good Muslim orHindu or Sikh or Christian is to be agood Indian.
The fame, money and position MsAzmi has enjoyed for years did notcome to her because of Muslim patronage.The quality of life Muslimsenjoy in India is much betterthan what their counterparts do inPakistan, Iraq, and many othercountries.
Ms Azmi is known to her fans as anactor and not as a Muslim, becauseher religion hardly matters tothem. If she and her husband wereunable to find a house of theirchoice in Mumbai, it might nothave been because of religion. It is,in fact, unfair to make such a suggestion.