Professional protestor protests: No, I really mean it. And his rage burns pure and white, he says, with the Qur’an as his “driving force.” Islamic Rage Boy Update: “Muslim ‘Rage Boy’ says he’s really angry,” from AFP (thanks to all who sent this in):
SRINAGAR, India (AFP) – Shakeel Bhat, 31, has been displaying his teeth and shaking his fist over anything from Salman Rushdie’s knighthood to Danish cartoons, becoming a photographers’ favourite and earning himself the nickname “Rage Boy” in online columns and blogs.
One American columnist has dismissed him as a “professional Muslim protester,” while other bloggers have also held him up for ridicule as a person who appears to be very easily enraged about anything….
“Whatever I do, I do for Allah and the Prophet Mohammed,” said Bhat, who admits to having been an armed militant between 1991 and 1994 with a pro-Pakistan rebel group.
“I can’t resist injustice. I protest for all the oppressed Muslims in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan,” he told AFP….
“If my photographs get published across the world, it is because my emotions are real and my looks are not deceptive. The photos show the anger inside,” said the full-time demonstrator, who when off the street looks distincly modest and a little shy….
“Police have registered 40 cases against me for taking part in the protests and I have to shuttle from one court to another to defend myself. I’ve been in almost every police station,” he laughed, clutching a plastic bag full of court papers.
Although not a Shiite Muslim, he says his inspiration is Iran’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini….
“My family members are very supportive. They know I am not doing anything wrong. I am doing what every Muslims needs to do.”
Until peaceful Muslims confront and repudiate that assertion, it will continue to gain traction in the Islamic world.
Apart from drawing ridicule from bloggers, Bhat has even inspired one American neoconservative website to push “Rage Boy” merchandise — including T-shirts, beer mugs, mouse pads.
“I don’t believe this! I have no knowledge about all this. Why do they do it?” demanded Bhat, who says he has no idea how to use a computer and the Internet.
Bhat also shrugged off his rather unflattering “Rage Boy” nickname.
“I don’t need any titles. I am a simple Muslim. Yes, I get enraged if someone, somewhere makes derogatory remarks about our religion or Prophet,” he said.
“The Koran is my driving force. I will come out on streets as long as Muslims are victims of oppression, even if it leads to my death.”