Articles of Faith

Posted by sepoy on September 03, 2004 · 3 mins read

When the Chechnya hostage crisis began, shey's rebellion sent an impassioned email asking a bunch of the bloggers to condemn the chechens as terrorists acting against the fundamentals of Islam. I agreed wholeheartedly but I was not sure that Islam needed any defense from the likes of me. I composed a rather lengthy post about my feelings on the responsibilities of Muslims (the self-avowed, self-proclaimed variety) to respond to terrorism carried out in the name of Islam. But I deleted it. I really had nothing to say. The jihadists are egomaniacal, literalists with a fishbowl view of the world being driven along by zealous mullahs on a power trip. Strip away their "islamic hijab" and they crumble like low-life murderers and criminals that they are. I was going to tie this analogy to the French hostages and the jihadist demand to suspend the ban on hijab in France. A move that backfired as all of France (Muslims and secularists) have united behind the ban.

Luckily, I have no need to say any of those things, since my teacher Naim sahib has done all that with far more eloquence and wisdom. His article, Hijab and I is up at Outlook India. Please go read it as it touches on his personal histories with hijab (in Bara Banki, in Hyde Park) and, especially, his thoughts on hijab after Sep 11. Is hijab a religious edict? A cultural practice? Is it a sign of feminine oppression or of liberation? What does it signify when you wear it as a symbol of a religion (not)engaged in conflicts around the globe? Whatever it is, I think he is absolutely correct in concluding that, what is most important is to remain true to who you are:

It dawned on me that she had succeeded where I, more mature and wiser in my own sight, had failed. She had found the courage and the wisdom not to buy into the collective guilt which only too many too soon began to heap upon all Muslims. She was a fighter. Unlike me, that frail young person had found within herself the strength to do what she thought was right in the particular moment. She had also resolutely held on to what was necessary to her as a permanent value.

And as I can remain true to myself, I condemn brutalists and terrorists everywhere on purely humanistic grounds.


Salman | June 17, 2010

Sepoy, Thanks for pointing out Naim Sahib's deeply moving article. "As I climbed the long stairs to my apartment I noticed that my steps did not feel as heavy as they had a few hours earlier going down. 'Thank you, little sister, for being so true to yourself' -- I didn't say it then, but I should say it now."