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When   Petro-Dollar  Speaks

By Mohd Sageer

Enough has been discussed about the teaching of Quran and its controversial contents. Perhaps it is time now for us to move on to the hinterlands to have an in-depth grasp of underlying causes of the spread of terrorism and Islamic expansionism.  Although I have no statistical evidence as to how many people are actually leaving Islam, the conspicuous presence of Islamism in recent times with its  adherents demonstrating renewed vigor  than ever before,  should be a matter of overwhelming  concern for the peace and freedom loving people .

 
Post 1960 has seen a boom in the economic status of the Arab -Middle East countries with the discovery of abundant oil deposits in the region. A populace that was content with dates, fish and camels, Arabs mostly had to opt for a simple way of living. Of course they have had fought many wars with the  neighbouring countries including present-day Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, not to mention the un-accounted  tribal war fares between the various factions among themselves  for political, social, and economic supremacy.

 
The avalanche of petrodollars into the hands of a few prominent Arab rulers who are known as Sheikhs,  paved the way for far reaching cultural changes in many Asian- third world countries. The war waged by these Sheikhdoms against neighbouring indigenous cultures was extremely unconventional in that no weapons were used to impose their domination.  Rather they started building mosques, charitable instaurations and madrassas including other conversion tactics with the use of that all-time powerful tool; the fluttering currency!

 
The leaders of the third world countries have been so naive that none of them suspected the hidden agenda behind the Arab generosity.  The local dawa groups, mostly comprising unemployed youth ran relentless campaigns inviting people, . to  religion or persuading liberal Muslims into strict compliance of the Islamic rituals. They targeted mostly poor and middle-class Muslim women who were not really mindful about observing Islamic dress code, forcing them into all encompassing Arabian Burkha (A black cloak- like shroud that covers from head to toe).

 
Kerala, a tiny southern state of India is a typical example of the Arab's successful story.
During 1960s in the wake of the oil discovery, thousands of job-seeking Keralite Muslim youths, particularly from the northern Malabar Coast,   flocked into Gulf Arab states dreaming about making a fortune. It is no surprise that their long stint in an extremely Islamic environment forced them to be more rigid about their religion, its observance and rituals taking  dislike to  other communities  . Some of them took great pride in imitating the Arab mannerisms, and the usage of Arabian way of greetings, including Arab vocabularies in their day to day conversations.

So far so good! There is no harm in assimilating good aspect of other cultures into one's own. Anyone living in a western country can reasonably be expected to be absorbing many characteristics that are western.

 
But life in a Middle East Gulf state has much more to it than just absorbing a culture. During their visit to the homeland these Muslim expatriates made it a point to pack a dozen or so   burkhas  or hijabs along with other gift items for their wives and other women folks in the family.  Any resistance from these poor women to wear this strange  all encompassing and uncomfortable attire must have been dealt  with a divorce  threat  or punishment in the life hereafter, invoking Quranic verses. 

 
The state's  secular and  majority population watched this cultural invasion   in utter confusion together with a sense of ambivalence. Today the ostensible display of Islamic dress code  practiced   by both men and women stands extremely incongruous with   the local geography and cultural  ambience. 

Most recently,  what this writer witnessed  in this  lush green state  was another organized venture, putting up banners and posters  by the local Imams and Muslim leaders, inviting  people to congregate at the rented open venues for Eid prayers.  This congregational prayer, which was hitherto confined  to  Mosques  have thus been  moved out  as a show of force  all other communities to witness.  Apparently,  one  may not find anything inappropriate  in these exercises. But the increasing level of religious activities ( that include those of Hindu fundamentalists' and Christian hard-liners')    in a country whose constitution is based on secular democracy, should be a  cause for great concern.  Any ostensible ,  overdose  display of religious fervour is bound to invite communal disharmony, especially in a state where followers of different faiths are living side by side.  Secularism gives the freedom to  people to practice their religion without state's interference, but such liberties should not be construed as a means to proclaim publicly that a given group's faith is most sublime than that of others and  as such it can be propagated  with a hidden agenda. 

It is a fact that  of    the 22 percent of the Muslim population of  Kerala , the majority are not interested in the vested political motives  that the concept of Jihad demands  

Plainly speaking , given a chance, what  the Muslim fundamentalists poised to seek as   its  first and foremost goal is the implementation of Shaira Law.  Given a chance,  Muslim fundamentalist in Kerala will not hesitate to  impose their medieval version of Arabian law.  At first they should be satisfied  with the compliance of the entire Muslim population  to the sharia law.

 

 

 

 

 

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