Why India's Jamia Milli Islamia University nixed my talk on campus | Toronto Sun
- "What has been observed of the Muslim leadhership in India can be described as spoiled brats. This attitude erupted last week when India’s national TV broadcaster, DDR, aired a recipe that contained pork on a cooking program. All hell broke loose with Muslim leaders claiming offence and demanding an apology. These are the same leaders who slaughter cows regularly in a country where most people consider cows sacred."April 18, 2013
At the eye of the storm — againJamia Milli Islamia University refused to elaborate on the 'unavoidable reasons' that led to the cancellation of my talk to students.Tarek FatahI am in India doing research for my next book, Jinnah’s Orphans, the story of how a single man left a permanent scar on India’s face and seriously damaged the psyche of a people. And as I write this sitting in the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, the very place where Pakistani terrorists committed mass murder in the name of Islam in 2008 — I have managed to embroil myself in a controversy over free speech and the rise of Islamism in India.India is the birthplace of my Muslim parents, their grandparents and generations before them who, by the the mid 1800s, converted from Hinduism to Islam.In my desire to get a sense of how Indian Muslim youth see the future and to know where they stand on the rise of radical Islamism across the world, I had requested my hosts arrange a visit to the prestigious Jamia Milli Islamia Univesity (JMI) in New Delhi. JMI is headed by Najib Jung, one of India’s most enlightened Muslims, a leading figure in the community and well respected for his progressive outlook.JMI agreed to my talk, but merely hours before the event on April 11, the university sent out a cryptic press release stating: “An interactive session with Mr. Tarek Fatah, a Canadian writer and broadcaster and a secular Muslim activist has been CANCELLED due to some unavoidable reasons.”The university refused to elaborate on the “unavoidable reasons” that led to the cancellation of the event.It didn’t take long before I discovered it came as a result of a handful of Islamist youth who had threatened to disrupt the event. They created a situation where university administrators were coaxed into shutting down the event instead of risking a flare up on campus.Soon the news of this cancellation hit India’s most prominent media outlets, and now the issue has taken on a life of its own.If there is anything to be learned from this is that what is needed today is a robust challenge to not just terrorism, but the ideology of Islamism. The Islamist addiction to self-imposed victimhood must also be exposed. This does not happen in India (or even in Canada) where vote bank politics trumps the truth.One rare example of straight talk came from the man who just might scrape through to become India’s next prime minister.In January 2010, a group of students at the Aligarh Muslim University aired the sense of Muslim victimhood when they heckled Rahul Gandhi, demanding to know “Why has India not had a Muslim prime minister?”While the question by the Muslim students was rhetorical, Rahul Gandhi’s answer was refreshingly bereft of political correctness or vote-bank pandering. The young MP who most likely will lead the Congress into India’s next general elections in 2014, shot back at the students: “Can you name five young Muslim leaders?”What India’s current flock of Islamic leaders do best is cajole the majority into what is referred to as a ‘Hindu guilt’.The same happens in the U.S. and Canada where it is ‘White liberal guilt’ that precludes any challenge to Islamist ideology.What has been observed of the Muslim leadhership in India can be described as spoiled brats. This attitude erupted last week when India’s national TV broadcaster, DDR, aired a recipe that contained pork on a cooking program. All hell broke loose with Muslim leaders claiming offence and demanding an apology. These are the same leaders who slaughter cows regularly in a country where most people consider cows sacred.Maybe I shouldn’t have said that — I probably just got into trouble again.