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Sunday, October 1, 2023

China must stop terrorising Muslims


Religious intolerance in China might as well be seen from an ideological vantage point. China has been under communist rule for long and we all know the animosity communism reserves for religion. When Marx and Engels, the founders of the communist movement, which sprung from Marxist thought, wrote The Communist Manifesto, they made it unequivocally clear that all phenomena is to be defined from a material viewpoint and in doing this they categorically ended thereby downplaying the role of spirit. So a physical-reductionism was used as a pretext to demonise religion and reduced to nothing but a tool of oppression for the ruling class or the bourgeoisie as in Marxian thought. A system that operates within such framework will only make life harder for the human being who believe in the supremacy of the spirit and accept the role of a higher power in determining the affairs of the world. 


However, while Communists subscribe to such erroneous belief and ideology, they have always emphasised the rights of the downtrodden and the dispossessed majority of the earth. So the question presents itself as how can a nation-state built with such ideals be an oppressor to a people who are part and parcel of its story. One excuse that is mostly presented when Muslims are being persecuted is the fallacious notion that unless they are kept in check they may breed within them elements who will sympathise with the Islamists who are wreaking havoc on innocent people around the world, and with that bring to its midst those same violent beliefs.


When you go by such notions and then use it to justify the infliction of harm on others, the only thing that happens in the end is the radicalisation of those people and then giving birth to the demon of revenge, thus starting a full blown war. A case in point will be the state of Israel which was built as a safe haven for the Jewish people who survived the Holocaust of the Second World War. After surviving and then coming to another land, they carried with them the bitterness and it has since been a catalyst for the violence meted on the everyday Palestinian. China must remember that, like absolute power corrupts, powerlessness too corrupts and is often more serious. 


The history of Islam in China predates communism or any other secular and modernistic ideology. The Muslims of China have played a very integral role in the various strata of Chinese society. Perhaps the most celebrated Chinese Muslim was and still is Zheng He, that renowned admiral of China’s Imperial Star Fleet from 1405 to 1433. With over one hundred massive ships and 30,000 men, he sailed to over forty lands. Staying true to this historical achievement, the whole Chinese speaking world commemorated the 600th anniversary of this Muslim general in 2005. 


So the Peoples Republic of China must look back at history and realise that Muslims have always been part of the narrative and have never been a source of violence and terrorism. The one way to stop people from being violent is to lift the mist of insecurity from their midst; for terror, sometimes, is nothing but a tool used by the insecure to coerce others into giving into their demands. In the face of so much extremism and irrational fundamentalism in the world, China which is being looked up to by a majority of developing and poor nations as a beacon of light, should set a goodly example and desist from tormenting their citizens based on their creed and belief.


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