When something is repeated as a matter of right – religious right at that – and with fanatic passion, then the social take on those things usually seems to become that it is kosher. Often even truth. One of the reasons – actually the Major reason – why out of all the ideologies, I believe Islam begets violence is because it is Exclusive in nature. It tries to trash everything else as opposed to its professed ideology. Not only does it trash other ideologies, it does so righteously. As if its an obvious right. One example, is the way the word “Kafir”; an epithet to abuse non-Muslims, is used so liberally in Urdu poetry. It is also common to talk of “But Parasti” of Idol Worship in a derogatory ways in Urdu poetry – including by the highest of Urdu Poets. Whether you believe it is true or useful or leading to God is not the question… the question is of Respect for Diversity.
And, the Exclusive nature of Islam starts from its initial statement, the Kalma. Islamic Kalma states that “There is no god, but Allah; and Mohammad is his only messenger”. When you make a normative statement like this, you (1) throw out legitimacy of all other belief systems, and (2) create an antagonistic stance by elevating yourself compared to others. But it becomes worse, because anyone even professing anything else is a “Kafir”, and liable to be recipient of violence.
The Exclusiveness of Islamic Kalma is – if one looks at it honestly – THE MAIN reason behind the atrocities of Sunnis against the Shias and the Ahmediyas. Because, these two dared to go past Mohammad as the messenger. Interestingly, and curiously, I have not heard any Islamic commentator point to the Kalma as the main trigger behind the killings of Ahmediyas and Shias.
In fact, the Kalma itself has never been questioned or even been a topic of discussion, much less a debate. That is why I was extremely surprised when these two gentlemen in Canada on the local TV station, in one of my now favorite program, BilaTakalluf discussed the Exclusive nature of the Kalma itself – in context of the an Ad that carried it in the local trains.
The discussion and the points, the history and the context given based on published material is absolutely refreshing and educative.