JNU: Left-wing students shouldn’t act superior, Islamophobia is running rampant among them

Sharjeel Imam and Saquib Salim

Najeeb Ahmad, a first year MSc student of Biotechnology, was beaten up on 14 October, 2016 by a group of people in Mahi-Mandavi hostel after an alleged scuffle, and he mysteriously disappeared the next day. It is for the first time that a student from a central university has disappeared, leaving no trace. It has been argued by Student Islamic Organisation, YFDA and many Left leaders of the campus like Shehla Rashid that an ABVP mob assaulted Najeeb because of his Muslim identity, and that there seems to be an Islamophobic atmosphere in the campus. This argument raises serious questions as JNU has been a fort of mainstream Left politics and student activism (CPI, CPM, CPI[ML]) and some other smaller, clueless yet more voluble Left “organisations”. If a residential campus dominated by Left wing parties, famed for their self-professed secularism, witnesses such brutal attacks by “Islamophobic mobs”, then who is responsible for the attacks, and, more importantly, for Najeeb’s disappearance?

The standard answer to such questions from the Left leaders is that ABVP has grown in strength and that Muslims are not feeling safe in this campus. However, on closer scrutiny, this answer seems unsatisfactory as the Left rhetoric, which claims itself to be secular, enjoys hegemony in this campus in terms of number as well as academic respect. If we probe deeper, it turns out that Left rhetoric has been inherently anti-Muslim as well, and has been frequently sprinkled with hate speeches and outlandish caricaturing of Islamic faith.

And we are not referring here to informed or uninformed discussions about women’s status in Islam and their freedom or triple talaq or caste among Muslims, issues which are highly contested in the diverse world of Islamic theology itself. Innumerable scholars of Islam are arranged against each other on all of these fronts. We will focus on statements and opinions about matters which are far more fundamental to Islamic faith, and how the treatment of these issues tend to alienate the already victimised Muslim youth of this nation. Najeeb, for instance, was a religious youth, and subscribed to a particular strain of Barelvi Sufism according to the frequent Facebook posts he shared about the great Sufi Ghaus-e-Azam.

Let’s demonstrate this kind of rhetoric with examples.

Harsh Vardhan was an office bearer, and currently a member of All India Students’ Association (AISA), a Left wing student organisation. In this Facebook post, he claims that some Muslims are terrorists at least partially because of their religion, and that there are tangible defects in their book (Quran) which apparently encourage them towards violent activities. This gentleman has not read or understood the scholarly work linking geo-politics and terrorist acts, let alone critiquing the loose and ambiguous category of “terrorism”, but one would expect that a basic historical reading of Quran. Its reception among Muslim masses across centuries and continents could have been cited as evidence. This statement is a generalisation which seems to claim that reading Quran can lead you to terrorism. This is a blanket stereotyping of the whole community, and an Islamophobic statement. However, many AISA activists decided to defend this post as an example of rational discussions and “free speech”.

Shehla Rashid, in one of her posts, decided to explain to us what hate speech is by giving an example where she used a derogatory word for Muhammad, and claimed that this statement does not amount to hate speech. Part of the problem is that logic is not the forte of these thinkers, because if one knows a little bit of Islam, then one would realise that there is a consensus that Muhammad is the primary human model in the Islamic faith. Hence, the criminal category which was associated with Muhammad in this post would implicitly mean that Muslims, the followers of Mohammad, are being put into the same category. Aligarh Muslim University Students Union reacted, and one cabinet member Ghazala Ahmad lodged an FIR against Shehla for hate speech. The JNUSU and Left intellectuals jumped in to defend Shehla Rashid, and all of a sudden, the AMUSU was termed a regressive campus, to the extent that Ghazala was called a puppet in the hands of a patriarchal AMUSU.

Another childish post, which is symptomatic of the general Islamophobia current in left circles, lashed out at Islamic feminism.

A student of Modern History, and an AISA cadre should know better, as there is no dearth of academic scholarship of the resistance of Muslim women in the secular as well religious domains throughout the last century produced by Muslims as well as non-Muslims. Sadly, that is not the case. The term ‘Islamic feminism’ has been used for more specific and difficult projects of women scholars of Islam who seek to foreground the different and complementary nature of Islamic knowledge through women’s perspectives, which sometimes leads to the radical abandonment of Victorian family model altogether.

The other objectionable part is where Mohammad has been charged with schizophrenia, which is a direct attack on Muslim identity and faith. We don’t know how a historian can diagnose the medical condition without original sources. What was surprising was that some Leftist scholars defended this post as an example of rational thinking.

Our last example is the most troubling one.

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This is the category of fake news, which as a rule will include all the news about the supposed “fatwas”. First of all, a clarification is needed: A fatwa is a non-mandatory legal opinion given only by a registered Mufti to any seeker of ethical standards of Islamic faith. The clarification is important, because it might seem to an untrained reader of these newspapers that any call towards violence by any bearded Muslim can be called ‘fatwa’. This is what the fatwa has been reduced to in popular imagination. The president of JNU Teachers Association Ayesha Kidwai shared this on her timeline:

This fake news piece is originally two years old, but was shared by her on Sunday, despite the fact that for two years, all the major news organisations like The Huffington PostThe Guardian etc have pointed out that it is fake news. The Grand Mufti himself clarified that he didn’t issue any such fatwa. The issue here is not whether we agree completely with the Grand Mufti’s vision of Islam, which is hotly contested among Muslims of all shades, but that these intellectuals cherrypick every suitable headline which seems to denigrate some Muslims.

We do not intend here to target these individuals, and divert the discussion to the presence of a few bad apples. We think that these posts are representative of ingrained anti-Islamic bias in the Left rhetoric in general. It is for this reason that many Muslim students from marginalised regions are often misled into thinking that their Muslim identity and Islamic faith and individual practice is necessarily at odds with high sounding ideals of the Leftist parties which are upheld in academic terms in the campus. Through their hostile rhetoric and peer pressure, the liberal Left here mocks and shames the Muslim youth for their Islamic faith, and wants to impose an ideal code of conduct and mode of thinking for the students. At the same time, it helps in pandering to their Islamophobic base as well.

The authors are research scholars in Modern and Contemporary History at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Courtesy: FirstPost

Comments: 36

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  14. What’s up?

    I found this article very interesting…please read!

    Do you remember the blockbuster hit film The Matrix that was released in 1999? You may not know this, but it has deep spiritual implications concerning the times we are living in and Bible prophecy.

    It tells a story of how these “agents” are trying to turn us into machines. We are closer then ever before for this to become a reality when they cause us to receive an implantable microchip in our body during a time when physical money will be no more.

    You may have seen on NBC news concerning the implantable RFID microchip that some people are getting put in their hand to make purchases, but did you know this microchip matches perfectly with prophecy in the Bible?

    “He (the false prophet who deceives many by his miracles) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name…

    You also may have heard of the legendary number “666” that people have been speculating for possibly thousands of years on what it actually means. This article shares something I haven’t seen before, and I don’t think there could be any better explanation for what it means to calculate 666. This is no hoax. Very fascinating stuff!

    …Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666″ (Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV).

    To see all the details showing why the Bible foretold of all these things, check out this article!

    Article: https://biblewoke.com/rfid-mark-of-the-beast-666-revealed

    GOD is sending out His end time warning:

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name'” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    In the Islamic religion they have man called the Mahdi who is known as their messiah of whom they are waiting to take the stage. There are many testimonies from people online who believe this man will be Barack Obama who is to be the biblical Antichrist based off dreams they have received. I myself have had strange dreams about him like no other person. So much so that I decided to share this information.

    He came on stage claiming to be a Christian with no affiliation to the Muslim faith…

    “In our lives, Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith. But there have been times where my faith has been questioned — by people who don’t know me — or they’ve said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing,” – Barack Obama

    …but was later revealed by his own family members that he indeed is a devout Muslim.

    So what’s in the name? The meaning of someones name can say a lot about a person. God throughout history has given names to people that have a specific meaning tied to their lives. How about the name Barack Obama? Let us take a look at what may be hiding beneath the surface…

    “And He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'” (Luke 10:18).

    In the Hebrew language we can uncover the meaning behind the name Barack Obama.

    Barack, also transliterated as Baraq, in Hebrew is: lightning

    baraq – Biblical definition:

    From Strongs H1299; lightning; by analogy a gleam; concretely a flashing sword: – bright, glitter (-ing, sword), lightning. (Strongs Hebrew word H1300 baraq baw-rawk’)

    Barak ‘O’bamah, The use of bamah is used to refer to the “heights” of Heaven.

    bamah – Biblical definition:

    From an unused root (meaning to be high); an elevation: – height, high place, wave. (Strongs Hebrew word H1116 bamah baw-maw’)

    The day following the election of Barack Obama (11/04/08), the winning pick 3 lotto numbers in Illinois (Obama’s home state) for 11/5/08 were 666.

    Obama was a U.S. senator for Illinois, and his zip code was 60606.

    Seek Jesus while He may be found…repent, confess and forsake your sins and trust in the savior! Jesus says we must be born again by His Holy Spirit to enter the kingdom of God…God bless!

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