This should have been easy: a Hindu group asked 13 Muslim organizations to declare India a “friend” of Islam and thus off-limits for jihad. One would think that these official representatives of the vaunted Religion of Peace would have welcomed this opportunity to repudiate the jihadists who are supposedly twisting the peaceful teachings of Islam and hijacking the faith, and to affirm their acceptance of the proposition that Muslims and non-Muslims must live together as equals in a society that does not establish either religion.
But that was five months ago, and so far, according to Jihad Watch reader Varunappa, the Muslim groups have said…nothing at all.
Now, why is that?
(If any of them have issued a statement and I have missed it, please send it to me at email@example.com and I will post it forthwith.)
Here is a story about the initial request, “Issue fatwa declaring India friend of Islam: VHP,” from the Times of India, February 23, 2009:
NEW DELHI: It may be a poll-related gimmick but it’s a clever one. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has sent a letter to 13 prominent Muslim organisations in India with a curious request “” that they declare, in a fatwa, India to be a “friend” of Islam, or a Dar-ul-Aman, therefore making jihad against India and Indians invalid.
The Dharm Raksha Manch, a congregation of Hindu leaders, also asked the Muslim leadership to declare that Hindus were not “kafirs” and therefore should not be targets of jihad. The letter has been sent to the All India Milli Council, Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, Tablighi Jamaat, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques among others.
The letter asks the ulema to “issue a fatwa declaring that India was not Dar-ul-Harb”, i.e. a country against which Muslims must launch a religious war, rather “India was Dar-ul-Aman, a land of peace where all Muslims can practise and propagate their religion uninterrupted”.
Many Islamic fundamentalist writers have declared that India ceased to be a Dar-ul-Islam after the British left and Pakistan was carved out. The VHP is cleverly not asking the ulema to declare India to be Dar-ul-Islam, but a third variety, Dar-ul-Aman or land of peace. The VHP’s new tack, many say, is intimately tied to the elections and is probably an attempt to cash in on the prevailing anger in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
Certainly, the Laskhar-e-Taiba, in its writing and speeches by Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, has declared on numerous occasions that its goal was to reclaim the Islamic lands of India “” apart from Kashmir, this would include Hyderabad, Junagadh etc. This was the inspiration behind the name Deccan Mujahideen, a front for LeT. India, according to many Islamist leaders, is a legitimate jihadi target.
In their vitriolic emails, the Indian Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility for the Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts, had also used the reference of scriptures to justify attacks against Indians.
Ashok Singhal, head of the VHP, said the letter had asked Muslim scholars to clear misconceptions. “The Dharm Raksha Manch is particularly concerned that Islamic scriptures have served as the inspiration behind these attacks, and concerned that the same might occur again in the future,” he said.
A perfectly reasonable concern.
“We are expecting the said organisations to respond to this appeal in a positive manner. We firmly believe that till the time Islamic leaders do not condemn religion inspired violence, terrorism in this country will not come to an end,” Singhal said. “If Islam is a religion of peace, as they propagate, then we expect them to issue a fatwa clearing these views,” he added.
If it were, that would have been a reasonable expectation.