Semi Isalmic State that is India

published on August 1, 2013

Freedom of speech is not a fundamental right in India in practice if it does not meet approval of Moslem fundamentalists. Hence Taslima Nasreen et al and now an Islamic feminist are curtailed from giving any speeches. See the story below. The offense of Amina Wahud, an American convert to Islam is she advocates gender equality and justice. But as we saw in case of Malala, young girl in Pakistan this is obviously not acceptable for fundamentalists of Islam on both sides of Radcliff line. Afraid of them Madras University canceled her lecture.

Instead of investigating whether she has permission to talk under visa granted to her, the University must investigate itself as well as authorities whether India is a secular state or an Islamic state where mobs of Islamists can force their will on any unwilling entity. Perhaps given the way ‘secularism’ being practiced in India, may be there is not much difference.

G V Chelva Pilla

Police force Madras University to cancel Islamic feminist’s lecture

CHENNAI: A schedule lecture by an Islamic scholar from the US was on Monday scuttled by police who cited possible law and order problems in view of opposition by Muslim groups. Amina Wadud, considered an Islamic feminist, was to deliver a lecture on ‘Gender and Reform in Islam’ at the University of Madras.

On Sunday night, while Wadud was waiting to fly from Kozhikode to Chennai, vice chancellor R Thandavan hastened to call off the programme, following a text message from city police officer who said: “Police cannot allow this (the lecture) considering law and order (sic). Please take action to suspend / cancel the programme.”

PK Abdul Rahiman, head of the Centre for Islamic Studies, said it was frustrating to be “dictated” by people from outside the university. “This has set a wrong precedent of police interfering in university programmes. We’ve lost an opportunity to host an internationally renowned scholar,” said Rahiman. Wadud’s books are part of the Islamic Centre’s curriculum.

A senior police officer said the decision to stop the lecture was taken at “a higher level.”

Sixty-year-old Wadud, born to an Afro-American Methodist family in Maryland, embraced Islam at 20. She is one of the founding members of Sisters in Islam, a women group for gender equality and justice. A consultant to MUSAWA, a global women’s movement, she made news in 2005 when she addressed a congregation of women and men – something which only male imams are allowed to do – in New York.

Early on Monday, she reacted to the university’s decision by tweeting from Kozhikode: “I have announced my intention to leave India for good as soon as I have completed some commitments in the region already scheduled.”

Those looking forward to listening to Wadud were disappointed at the turn of events. Former judge of the Madras high court K Chandru said the incident was similar to the ban on Taslima Nasrin. “When a battalion of police is camping before the US Consulate in the city for several months, why don’t they give protection to an Indian university,” he asked.

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