Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Voices unite against Hate in India

Varanasi: Fatwa against those who attack holy places of all faiths

After last week’s terrorist attacks, the leading Madrassah school in Lucknow condemned “those who kill innocent people and strike places of worship, whichever religion they belong to.”

Lucknow (AsiaNews/INCS) – The leading Madrassah in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has issued a fatwa against “terrorists and militants” who target “places of worship and innocent people in India”. According to the Darul-Ifta Islamic school, “there is no room for terrorism in Islam and the murder of one innocent person amounts to murder of entire humanity.”

The sentence was pronounced in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Varanasi, the “holy city” of Hinduism: three bombs placed in one of the main temples and a train station killed 23 people.

Firangi Mahal, the head of the Madrassah, quoted from Koran when issuing the order: "It is notable that the Prophet never reacted violently even against those who attacked him or against those who tried to harm him in various ways. Muhammad was also totally against causing the slightest harm to any place of worship, belonging to any faith.”

"If any Muslim causes harm to any place of worship of indulges in killing of innocent people, Islam would regard it as a crime. This is stated in the Shari’a [Muslim law],” added the fatwa.

As well as this article (link):

Christian leaders: “Unite against Varanasi bombs, seed of hate”

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Varanasi bombs “have shed innocent blood in vain” and “they should be firmly condemned by all protagonists of Indian public life, political parties and religious groups, so that those who want to defeat peace with violence will not triumph”.

Thus have India’s Christian groups condemned the three blasts which struck Varanasi, the holy Hindu city, on Tuesday afternoon, claiming 23 lives.

John Dayal, human rights activist and president of the All India Catholic Union, issued a statement in which he emphasized that such violence “can only serve those religious fundamentalist and extremist factions who thrive on exacerbating real and imagined divides and grievances. They want national attention and with bombs and bloodshed, they forcibly divert energies away from tackling the country’s social problems.

“It is for the governments of the state and the centre to ensure the safety of the people. However, the Christian leadership calls on all right-thinking citizens to respect others’ rights, thus ensuring national stability.

“This gesture would send a clear message to religious and political extremism: you have no place in a democratic, secular and republican India.

There are dfinite problems in India when the extreme parties get into power. Those who equate India with only Hindu for political gain can cause great harm to minorities. But in this case, at least reasonable people are stepping up and calling for a stance against hatred.

The question is: Who will be heard? Will this incident be used to create more violence and give the only Hindu groups more traction or will reasonable voices prevail.

May our prayers always be on the side of love.

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