India's Muslims yet again face slaughter and terrorism, presumable under the "Hindu" threat of ultra-nationalist types. Dire warnings set out from the government in the hopes of preventing the kind of street fighting and paramilitary battling between Hindus and Muslims that caused massacres of thousands in recent memory.
Indian Muslims vent anger after mosque bomb leaves 11 dead
By Omer Farooq in Hyderabad
Published: 19 May 2007 [The Independent]
A bomb ripped through a historic mosque as Friday prayers were ending in southern India, killing at least 11 people and wounding nearly three dozen. Two other unexploded bombs were defused by police.
Minutes after the blast at Hyderabad's 17th-century Mecca Masjid, Muslims angered by what they said was a lack of police protection began throwing stones at police, who responded with baton charges and tear gas. Two people were killed in the violent clashes.
The bombing and ensuing clash between worshippers and police raised fears of wider Hindu-Muslim violence in the city, which has long been plagued by communal tensions - and occasional spasms of religious bloodletting.
Many of the 35 people hurt in the explosion were severely injured, and the city's police chief, Balwinder Singh, warned that the death toll could rise.
Soon after the blast, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state, where Hyderabad is located, appealed for calm between Hindus and Muslims.
Mr Reddy called the bombing an act of "intentional sabotage on the peace and tranquillity in the country". He said that one bomb went off at around 1.30pm local time and that police soon afterwards found and defused two other bombs.
The bomb, made of a stick-grenade packed into a metal pipe, was detonated by a mobile phone attached to the device, said the state's police chief, Mohammed Abdul Basit.
About 10,000 people usually attend Friday prayers at the mosque and the blast sparked a panic. "I was very close to the spot of the blast," said Abdul Quader, a 30-year-old who sustained slight injuries to his legs.
"As soon as prayers ended, we were about to get up, there was a huge deafening blast sending bodies into the air," he continued. "People started running helter-skelter, there was such confusion. People were bleeding, running around in a very bad condition."
The NDTV news channel showed video pictures from within the mosque as the blast went off. A loud noise is heard, followed by pieces of masonry flying through the air. Worshippers in white robes and skullcaps, many bent in prayer, initially appeared bewildered by the explosion before rushing outside as startled pigeons fluttered about inside the stone and marble mosque.
Outside, there was chaos following the attack. Throngs of people gathered in the streets, some chanting angry slogans and throwing stones at police, who fired tear gas and tried to disperse the crowd with batons so ambulances could ferry the wounded to hospitals.
The explosion immediately drew comparisons with the bombing of a mosque during a Muslim festival in Malegaon, in western India, on 8 September 2006, which killed 31 people.
I suppose it isn't fair to criticize psychotic non-Muslim Indians since India is an Indo-European nation and India is our trading partner and strategic ally against the not so "Red" Chinese and the majority of the continent. Even though political extremism is matched in Bamiyan by the Babri Mosque:
"More Muslims have usually been killed than Hindus in inter-community violence. In all the communal riots since 1947, official police records reveal that three-quarters of the lives lost and properties destroyed were Muslim, a figure that climbed to 85% during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. wiki"
This figure stands even though Muslims were always a minority. Now at 10% of India's population, and specifically concentrated in places to protect themselves economically or physically from extremism among Hindus, Muslims are still dispreportionately the victims of violence in day to day life.
While several thousand westerners and many Hindus have been murdered by Islamic terrorism, Hindu ultra-nationalism fueled a cycle of violence leading to the slaughter of 2000 Muslims just in the Gujarat riots alone.
My point here is not that Hindus are violent, dangerous people, since this is not a site for paleoconservatives and other mild-mannered xenophobes. Hindus, like all civilized peoples, are only as violent as their cultural infrastracture (or lack therof) permits. Only a small number of violent Hindus or Muslims is enough to cause much grief in India.
Muslims have been facing fear, degradation and coercion for years, from the paritioning of East Pakistan and West Pakistan to Afghanistan, to Lebanon, to India, much like Hindus, Christians and ethnic minorities.
But we don't talk here about the kind of nuts in India who praise God for the atom bomb and believe it is their religious duty to nuke Pakistan. My point is not simply that both sides have extremists and we should just let things be--which would be foolish and gleefully ignorant--but to not devolve into some sort of post-racist black and white shadow of reality.
When Americans forget the rest of the world it makes our replies to our own racists and extremists here that much weaker.
Republicans build their case on a view of the world in which all Islam is united in using suicide bombing to destroy America's hegemony, and it's only patently false if you're getting beyond the media-entertainment bubble, to stories like this. Muslims have been facing terrorism for a long time. There are plenty of widows and childless parents in Amman and Beirut and Baghdad who are sick of these wars and these psychotic schemers, just like us. It is by focusing our material on those who want peace and life that we will find success, not total war against nations because of a nationless, pan-religious corruption in the human heart or backroom deals with oil men and sectarians.