Nonsense grounded on bigotry is a story that has been hurled in our faces for years now
Bigotry is often irritating, for the right reasons.
Sometimes it can be pretty amusing. Recall the story of the Jamaat-e-Islami man, here in Bangladesh, whose image was “seen” by his followers on the moon. The naïve among us were told the story -- and they believed it -- of how this “holy man” accused of crimes against his own people in 1971 was actually one beloved of God.
Why else would his face shine on the face of the moon? Of course, people lost little time in pulling the story down.
The moon stayed in its place in time and space. The “holy man” remained the collaborator of the enemy he was, all those decades ago. The fanaticism underpinning this falsehood could not have been missed.
And now rises another equally virulent bigot in the form of the American televangelist John Hagee. He informs us, in his insane wisdom, that God has a foreign policy. Prior to Hagee, we did not know that even the Almighty practises diplomacy in the way we do it here on Earth, did we?
Hagee is one of those ignorant men whose claim to public attention comes through the hoarseness -- and coarseness -- of his fanatical beliefs. One wonders what Jesus would have thought of this diabolical Christian. Jesus died on the cross and yet this fanatic, in his zeal to defend a demented president’s decision to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, thinks nothing of the cruelty being perpetrated on Palestinians by a band of Zionists in occupied Arab land.
But, of course, Hagee does not see things that way. He brings God into it, which is a deviously clever way of letting the likes of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu off the hook. It was not Trump who made the decision on Jerusalem. He only implemented a policy first enunciated by God.
It was God’s foreign policy perspective that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel, that the American embassy would operate from a city captured whole by Israeli soldiers in June 1967. And there you have it.
If you have any problem with the Jerusalem question, do not point the finger of blame at mere mortals. But go to the Bible and read of the foreign policy God pursues on Earth.
The only problem here is that God does not say anywhere in the Bible that America could have its embassy in the occupied city, that Israel is His passion. Hagee, the charlatan that he is, will not see the truth, for to fanatics like him it is the lie which is the truth.
But why blame only Hagee? In recent days, a video of a Bengali Muslim fanatic spewing blasphemy -- he thinks he is defending the faith of the pure -- has gone viral on social media. Nearly frothing at the mouth, apart from quivering in the manner of an epileptic, he curses women in his perverted view of Islam.
Women, says he without an ounce of shame, are a curse simply by birth. They are a scandal. Men who have their women scour markets for vegetables to buy for the home should be ashamed, for their women are being pushed and jostled by other men as they haggle and argue with traders. And before this ignorant man, sat those others and none of them had the boldness to call a halt to his nonsense.
Ah, but nonsense grounded on bigotry is a story that has been hurled in our faces for years now. Remember the Taliban? And al-Qaeda? And IS? Those beheadings in Middle Eastern deserts of innocent non-Muslims by Muslims who looked and spoke more like butchers than protagonists of religion?
Remember the Taliban dictum on the length of the beards men would need to have below the chin and the tent-like robes women would be required to confine themselves in?
Religious fanaticism is tribalism working away in frenzy. Tribes suffer from the smug self-satisfaction of informing themselves that they are the true inheritors of the Earth, that indeed they are the chosen of God. The rest of humanity is a bunch of infidels and apostates for whom the fires of hell burn night and day.
Muslim bigots humiliate the gods in the Hindu pantheon. In turn, Hindu bigots are willing to kill Muslims in their defense of the holy cow. And that is not all. The Hindutva chief minister of the Indian state of Tripura pooh-poohs modern technology by “enlightening” people with his revelation that the internet was invented in the age of the Ramayana, long ages before the birth of Jesus Christ.
And the Nazis were quite a different tribe. They saw all the “evil” around them, and then made the “discovery” that the roots of that evil were the Jewish community. They solved the problem by carting six million Jews off to the gas chambers.
In his day, the late Menachem Begin would not speak of the Arab land his nation had commandeered in war. To him, this occupied land was the biblical Judea and Samaria. To the bigot that is Donald Trump, the world would be a fine place if only Muslims could be kept away from his country.
In Pakistan, the land of the pure, fanatical Muslims keep the country clean of impurity by taking away from the Ahmadiyya community their faith. Sir Zafarullah Khan and Professor Abdus Salam, two truly illustrious Pakistanis, are brushed out of memory because they had the temerity of looking for God through the prism of the Ahmadiyya faith.
God, you see, does not merely have a foreign policy. The bigots would have you know that He is a partisan father of the heavens and the Earth, and practises, without any qualms, the politics of expediency.
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Syed Badrul Ahsan is a journalist.