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Why does Islam Represent Intolerance ?
The Rise of Islam
Islam emerged on the earth through the words of the prophet Muhammed. He brought in the concept of one God and one people. When Islam appeared on the scene in Saudi Arabia, it was a relatively modern concept. It brought in some revolutionary concepts. Some of the concepts like giving some rights to women and the idea of one god were indeed a break from prevalent ideas at that time. At that time, Saudi Arabia was steeped in obscurity and Islam as propagated by Muhammed was something fresh and modern.
The Prophet died, but his monolith religion broke up into 2 sects, the Shia, and the Sunni. In addition, the Sunni, the more volatile of the groups interpreted the words of Muhammed to mean the spread of Islam by all means, even by the sword. The Muslims then started a carnage in the lands they had occupied, starting with the Arab lands and Persia. The followers of Zoroaster, the original inhabitants of Persia had to escape to India, to survive as they were given the option of being either beheaded or converting to Islam. The Zoroastrian holy places were all destroyed.
Islam now spread across North Africa and Eastern Europe. They also spread to Central Asia and some zealous leaders thought it fit to spread Islam by the sword. They were helped by the fact that militarily, the Muslims imbibed the Principles of War while their opponents were smug in old beliefs. This resulted in a series of big defeats. Islam now came into conflict with Christianity and Hinduism. The Christians were initially defeated but later rallied to fight the Muslims. Unfortunately, the same zeal in battle was not shown by the Hindus who after being repeatedly defeated by the Muslims, accepted their suzerainty. They also accepted the Muslim conditions of paying
The Hindus also accepted the Muslim conditions of paying Jizzya and giving their daughters and wives to be part of the Muslim harems. This was a negative concept and resulted in the Muslims ultimately overrunning the whole of India.
Islam in India was a negative era. Starting with Mohammed of Ghazni, a systematic destruction of Hindu temples commenced. In 17 campaigns into India, Mohammed of Ghazni destroyed over 1000 temples after looting them. His most famous destruction was of the temple of Somnath. When requested to spare the idol of Shiva, Ghazni refused and with a blow of his sword splintered the statue into pieces. He is reported to have said," I prefer to be known as an idol-breaker than a man who saved idols for any consideration".
Nearly a thousand years later, Mullah Omar the leader of the Afghan Taliban quoted exactly the same words of Ghazni, when he was asked by reporters as to why he had ordered the destruction of the Buddhist statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.
The Bamiyan statues were erected and sculpted in the 9th century when the entire area followed the Buddhist faith. Confronted by a faith that was fanatic and showed no mercy, the Buddhists readily converted to Islam. This was the time for some of the Hindu kings to confront the Muslims in Afghanistan, but they failed as they had no strategic sense and were not aware that very soon they would be fodder for the Muslim armies.
The Bamiyan statues were a world heritage site and a wonder. They were carved in the mountain and had gigantic proportions. One of the Buddha statues was over 185 ft. in height and the other was about 125 ft. The Taliban decided to destroy these relics. No amount of entreaty by the world had any effect, as the destruction of the statues commenced. Artillery and dynamite were used to destroy the statues and a relic of great importance was reduced to rubble. Now the statues have gone and only the empty shell remains. When the destruction commenced, Mullah Omar justified it, as allowing the idols to exist went against the tenets of Islam.
Unfortunately, the Muslim rulers in India from Babar to Aurangzeb began a systematic destruction of Hindu temples. They burnt to earth the Hindu holy shrines at Ayodhya and Mathura and on their ruins erected Mosques. Even Ahmed Shah Abdali, while going back after defeating the Marathas after the 3rd battle of Panipat, sacked the Golden temple and filled the holy Sarovar( pond) with bodies of dead cows, which had been butchered by him.
The same scenario was repeated in Spain, but the Christians fought back and ousted the Moors. In the 16th century, they also stopped the invasion of the Turks at the gates of Vienna. The lands freed from Muslim rule by the Christians, were subjected to the inquisition and Christianity was restored back again by the sword. In India nothing of this sort happened and had it not been for British rule many more temples would have been converted to Mosques. A case in point is the Sis Ganj Gurudwara where the Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded. The Sikhs wanted the place for a Gurudwara, but the Muslims refused. But as they were no longer the ruling force, the British intervened and the matter was decided by the court. The final decision came from the Imperial court in London, which ruled in favor of the Sikhs and the Gurudwara Sis Ganj was handed to them.
This destructive streak in Islam is hard to explain. Nowhere in the Koran has Muhammed asked or enjoined his followers to destroy churches and temples. Yet the interpretation by Muslim scholars has been for destruction. The sad part is that historical places of great importance and architectural value are burnt or destroyed with no remorse at all.
One of the latest carnages is in Timbuktu, in Central Africa where age-old monuments have been destroyed by Boko Haram, a sister organization of ISIS. The ISIS under Al-Baghdadi has also done great harm to Syria by destroying the famous Greek columns at Palmyra. These age-old monuments were a tourist delight and a world heritage site, but now they are destroyed by the Muslim extremists.
Many people still cling to the belief that there is a moderate element among Muslims. In case there is one, it is not visible. One fact that has emerged is that most Muslims are not loyal to the place of their birth and country they live. Most terror attacks in France and Belgium were carried out by Muslim nationals from these nations who had been born and bred there. It did not take them even a moment to be part of the scheme to destroy the very nations they live in.
In India also, we are confronted by this extremist fringe that is advocating a separate identity. The fact is that Islam at present in its present avatar can be a great divisive force in a nation and it will take all the world's resources to stop this from spreading. The state of affairs in India and Europe is pretty bad and this problem will have to be faced sooner than later. It is not something impossible and there are examples of the states of UAE and Dubai which are more secular than even nations that claim to be secular.