Thursday, July 31, 2008

religious fanaticism

After the Bangalore and Ahmedabad serial bombings of last week, another has exploded in Jharkhand, and more and more unexploded bombs continue to be found in the world's diamond cutting capital, Surat, near Bombay. The count is currently at 23. Rajasthan and Calcutta have received their own bomb threats, while a bomb plot was recently foiled right here in Chennai, where the bombings were set for August 15, 2008; Indian Independence Day, and my own scheduled day of departure. Most signs and claims are pointing to the groups "Indian Mujahideen" and "Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami". While it is important to know the context these bombings come in (Hindu persecution of Muslims followers has been more than most know; many have been slaughtered in mass riots in the last few decades while police looked the other way), this is a rash of what little would argue is extremist religious zealotry, of which I wrote on many weeks ago but did not post on here... now seems like quite an appropriate time to resurrect the subject:

CNN India and NDTV has been reporting the Taliban's resurgence in Pakistan recently, and their razing of movie houses and barber shops. Wait... not killing the Americans or demanding burqas, but bombing barber shops?! Then, hours later, I was reading Shashi Tharoor's "India: From Midnight to the Millenium and Beyond", where I learned of "expatriate Sikhs pouring money, weapons, and organizational skills into the cause of a 'pure' (tobacco-free and barber-less) 'Khalistan'." OK, what's going on here. I've heard of money prostitution, alcohol, drugs, and homosexuality having their opponents. Now barbers? Hair is more sacrosanct than freedom and life? I hope repayment of student loans is found to be an abomination in His eyes soon as well so I can dismiss that whole Cornell inconvenience.

(By the way, in case you don't know of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre or Operation Bluestar, Sikhs have just as good a reason as Jews (continued persecution) to have a nationalist faction and deserve land, just as many other social groups in the world. I'm just saying I've seen better mission statements in my day!)


I was checking my e-mail after writing this post, and lo and behold, none other than this article was posted on front page news... how timely. Here's an excerpt:

"Lahore, July 31 (ANI): The Pakistan unit of the Taliban - the Tehreek-e-Islami Taliban Pakistan (TIP) has reportedly threatened the owners of CD shops, Internet cafes and cable service providers to close down their activities, and warned the women to wear 'hijab' to ensure safety, else their face would be disfigured by acid."

Loose morals, Westerners, foreign intervention, I get it, I'll give you that one. But CD shops, internet cafes, hair, women's faces? Come on guys. You're stretching it. Chill out.

1 comment:

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