Monday, July 23, 2007

Bad Parenting: Creating Terrorists I

International terrorist from India

Suddenly we have seen a terrorist on international arena from India. We always had home-grown terrorists operating at home, but an international terrorist? Yes, it was a surprise. But is it a surprise that he happens to be Muslim? If there was a poll conducted in India a year ago, asking the respondents- ‘If there is an international terrorist involved in suicide bomb attack in London, and if that terrorist is an Indian, which religion would he be from?’ I think, more than 70% would vote for ‘Muslim’. While Hindus would overwhelmingly vote for ‘Muslim’, I think even some Muslims would have voted for ‘Muslim’. It almost goes without saying that if there is an Indian who wants to do something like that in place like Glasgow or London, it has to be a Muslim. (Its like believing that a mugger in a US city is always Black.)

Why is it like that? Is it the religion or is it something else?

Should we blame Islam?

You might have known by now that I don’t like to blame the religious books and its prophets to solve the immediate problems. All religions have its idiosyncrasies, some more than others. To blame one religion for all evils is like acquitting others. The other reason I don’t like to blame the religion itself for such terrorism is because such blaming doesn’t solve the issue of terrorism. Solving religion and its ills is a long-term problem and solving terrorism is a short-term problem.

When you blame the religion such as Islam and say that its sacred texts actually produce suicide killers, then I should see such suicide killers all through the history of Islam, which is not the case. If it is so unique to Islam, how come we had Japanese kamikazes in WWII?

Also, if indeed we were to actually prove using some long-drawn logic that it is Koran that incites people to blow themselves up for a cause, then what is the solution? It is like saying Science creates destruction through creation of atom bombs. Should we eradicate Science then? Should the people of other religion come together to eradicate Islam and its holy text? Or should we force Islam to shun its holy text because we discovered something dangerous in their texts? Would we do the same to our texts if some ‘other’ religion pointed out sinister interpretations in our texts?

All the solutions which include blaming a single religion for terrorism are untenable and unpractical and hence I do not take much fun in blaming the texts. Instead, I try to look for the practical solutions if there are any.

Now how do you explain this International terrorist coming from a well-educated middle class Indian Muslim family?

I was thinking about it since this incident happened in Glasgow where one Indian Muslim blew himself up in an attempt to blow certain section of the airport there. Everyday newspapers devote copious pages of verbiage on this single incident. But the thought in me remains - what’s happening to Indian Muslims, especially those from well-to-do families who send their kids to mainstream schools just like the rest of us? Here, I try to answer some of my own questions.

Religious Training

Many Indian Muslim parents, including those who are holding normal jobs, and have good education, tend to send their kids to some kind of religious training once the kids reach a certain age. This could be out of peer pressure since everyone around them is doing it or because they want to ascertain their identity in a country where they are a minority (usually many minorities go overboard in expressing their cultural and religious identities – like Indian Hindus in US or UK). Whatever may be the reason these parents do send their kids to a nearby school or mosque that imparts Islam into these young minds. Some well-to-do parents bring home a teacher to impart this training. Note that this is very different with Hindu kids who seem to get their learning indirectly from parents and family around them.

The teacher who is entitled with the task of teaching these young Indian Muslim kids is a maulvi or a mullah working in a nearby mosque or madrassa. Most of these mullahs or maulvis are illiterate. Most of them happen to be rejects of the society whose only claim to something glorious is their ability to rote the Koran. This is not very different from sadhus and other godmen of Hinduism who seem to prey on the naïve devotees to get their livelihood. The difference however is that not many Indian Hindu parents would give such men the responsibility to impart religious teachings to their kids. So, what we have here is a maulvi or mullah who has no formal education, that of science or mathematics, and has little experience of traveling or exposure to other cultures, spending hours teaching your precious little kid with his own version of Islam.

While these Indian Muslim parents take extreme care to choose the best schools for their kids for their mainstream education they seem to settle for almost anything when it comes their religious training. Nobody bothers to check the reputation or credentials of such religious teachers. All questions and doubts are shunned when it comes to the matters of religion and its teachings. In fact, this is not unique to Muslims alone; many Hindus, even the educated engineers and professors seem to abandon rational thinking when it comes to matters of religion – they consult an astrologer to start or begin an important event, and refuse to get their son married at an 'inauspicious' time. While such abandonment of reason is usually harmless, there are times when it is quite harmful. I shall deal with those times when it is indeed harmful.

Organized religious training

There is a big problem with any kind of ‘organized’ religious training. An organized religious training starts with suppression of critical thinking, where questioning is discouraged, and blind belief is encouraged. It is done as an organized tool where indoctrination happens without allowing a debate. A kid who goes through such training is bound to set aside all attributes of critical thinking and logical reasoning that he might have been endowed with through genetic inheritance. He becomes a puppet in the hands of interpreters of religion. These kids learn to be selectively credulous and all-believing in matters of religion, while operating with common skepticism and average reasoning in all other spheres of life. They go to normal schools, attend colleges, do well, become professors, engineers, scientists and doctors, but continue to harbor that selective abandoning of reason when it comes to matters of religion. We see such people everywhere. Scientists doing puja before launching of a rocket; top engineer looking for auspicious time to marry off his daughter; businessman waiting for the star alignment to sign up an agreement, etc.

The first step towards indoctrination

This religious teaching of Islam first starts with complete abandonment of logic and reason. It’s like teaching a kid that Santa Claus visits every home on Christmas night to give presents. How a single person can go to so many homes on a single night traveling on a sled is not something that a kid doubts. Even if he doubts, a reason that Santa is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present would clear up all those doubts. The same happens to organized religious teachings. All questions that a sane and rational man would ask are trounced down using the ‘logic’ of faith, where every question is answered using magic, miracles, omnipotence, omniscience, etc. The kids are compelled to abandon reason and just accept the word of God, as it is, verbatim, in literal translation, without raising a doubt. Raising a doubt is equivalent to being a kafir (infidel – non-believer)- that abominable creature whom God has condemned to be fried and burned in Hell forever.

In such organized religious indoctrination, the fairies become real, parting of ocean becomes real, the magic which any ordinary magician can conjure up becomes ‘real’, blotting out sun becomes real, and creation of Universe in seven days becomes real. The human brain gets wired in a way to become selectively credulous towards topics of religion.

Normally, the kids eventually grow up to become adults abandoning the belief in Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy, but the religion has this capacity to make sure these kids never become adults. They remain credulous forever. To achieve this, the puppet masters resort to all kinds of tricks – catching them young and indoctrinating them is a very famous trick- used by all fanatic movements- including Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. The very elements of man - creativity, the ingenuity, the quest for knowledge, the curiosity, which are the hallmarks of human evolution to make him an intelligent being, are all thrown out of the door in few years of such religious training. This process arrests all the mental faculties, stops all critical thinking and now these pupils are ready to believe almost anything without asking questions - when it comes to religion.

Second step

What happens next in these teachings is introduction of a fiery and radical version of Islam. Whether the Indian Muslim parents choose to know about it or not, some of these maulvis or mullahs, armed with a very fiery version of Islam, incite violence and hatred, teach these innocent kids a very radical interpretation of Islam. To the already credulous kid, this goes into his head easy since he is ready to accept any version or any interpretation, as long as it is coming from the same source- the authority who will interpret the word of God for him.

This version of Islam includes selective interpretation of Islam using selected texts of Koran, accompanied by selected stories from human histories, added with contemporary injustices to make a dangerous potion- where jihad is the fight against all kafir (infidel) – and those infidels could be anybody- including those Muslims who do NOT subscribe to your version of Islam, where martyrdom through suicide killing is the biggest achievement giving you a direct ticket to jannat (heaven) wherein you get access to 72 virgins. Hatred is the word to describe this entire teaching- Hatred of others. And those others can be anybody- it could be a Hindu or a Christian, or even other kind of Muslim. That’s why you see the same hatred and ferociousness in the attack between Sunnis and Shias – they hate each other with same zeal and fervor.

Such radical indoctrinations are easy to come if the first step is already accomplished. What is there to stop you from committing a heinous crime if the God has already mandated it? While most rational people tend to bring in personal morality to question the motives of the interpreters (who ask them to become suicide bombers), some of the believers who truly and really believe in the stories as interpreted to them, would go ahead and commit crimes believing that they are doing it in the name of this invisible but revenge-seeking God.


Indian Muslim parents need to know and understand what version of Islam their kids are being taught. Not giving enough attention can sometimes lead to seeing your son in an international event in a less desirable way!

[To be continued...]


  1. We used to take so much pride in the fact that there is NOT EVEN A SINGLE INDIAN MUSLIM in those ranks. Not any more :-(.

    I can see that even you are grieving Sujai with all your prejudices against other religions and love for this religion.

    You are trying to simplify and explain something really complex. Do not even make an attempt. Just go and visit some madarsas in Deoband (UP), you will get your answers and may be a hriday-parivartan (heart transformation).

    You do not sound like an atheist nowadays. You sound more like a multi-religious person :). What is the difference by the way?

    Being an atheist is like being non-vegetarian. Being non-vegetarian does not mean you do not eat vegetables, it just means that you ALSO eat non-veg stuff. Even atheists follow a number of things that all these religions teach like love, peace and essential social norms (example love thy neighbors and cleanliness :-)). They like some non-veg stuff too e.g. drinking alcohol, visiting prostitutes and reading erotic literature :-).


    = Darpan =

  2. It is time to teach these mullahs about basics of Islam.


    This is a letter from Muhammad:

    “This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are declared to be protected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

    These are some sayings of Muhammad:

    “To the Jews who follow us belong help and equity. He shall not be harmed nor his enemies be aided.”

    “Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Saheeh Muslim)

    “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud)

  3. I am trying to understand something here...are we as "humanitarians" worried because Muslim Youth all over the world are falling prey to the radical movement or because we as "Indians" can't seem to digest the fact that "Indian" Muslim Youth are joining their ranks. I think we are missing the perspective here.What you said about the extremist version of Islamic teachings being ingrained into the gullible youth is true, it is no longer the issue of Hindu Vs Muslim or Christian Vs Muslim. It has escalated into a disturbing belief that Islam as a religion is facing danger from all the corners of the world, in other words it is a battle between 'Believers' vs non-Believers'.

    It is a pity that even the educated ones' among us seem to believe that there is a justification for what is happening around us, be it Muslims or non-muslims. This siege of corrupted fanatism for ones' religion can be stopped only when people stop to THINK..think what is to be gained by these acts.Do they really believe that killing a few hundred innocent non-believers' will somehow be the turning point in their quest for Jehad !! How many people will they many buildings will they blow up?? And then what..they think the terror in peoples' hearts is equivalent to the respect they desire to command for their religion??
    It is just their own lives they are loosing in their quest towards non-existent glory. Who exactly is standing beside the poor man in his death bed with 90% burns. It is only he..who is suffering the pain..for the people who put him upto this he is just another human shield they manipulated. The only sufferers' here are his family & he..whose lives have been irrevocably tarnished.

    Maybe all this madness will end..only if we could stop and THINK!!


  4. Darpan shroff said:
    Being an atheist is like being non-vegetarian. Being non-vegetarian does not mean you do not eat vegetables, it just means that you ALSO eat non-veg stuff. Even atheists follow a number of things that all these religions teach like love, peace and essential social norms (example love thy neighbors and cleanliness :-)). They like some non-veg stuff too e.g. drinking alcohol, visiting prostitutes and reading erotic literature :-).
    I don't know if this guy is joking or what but is he associating atheism with drinking alcohol, visiting prostitutes etc? How is non-belief in a supernatural power associated with a human's personal habits? And is he trying to imply that religious people are 'vegetarians', that they do not indulge in such things? Beats me.
    And no, atheists are not multi religious. They have no religion and don't feel the need to have one.

  5. rags:
    Darpan Shroff used get incensed by my writings. He has officially stopped commenting on this blog (but continues to write once in a while as 'Anonymous').

    That particular comment is directed against me - particularly the note on top of this blog (Below E=mc^2 title).

  6. Raising a doubt is equivalent to being a kafir (infidel – non-believer)- that abominable creature whom God has condemned to be fried and burned in Hell forever.

    Sujai, a sensible Muslim is not afraid of God's punishment - he is afraid of the implications from his fanatic compatriots who can end up hunting him for his head or his hand!!!
    As long as this medieval trend of supressing dialogue and rational discourse by greedy kings (which started 60 years after Prophet's (PBUH) death is not checked out there is no future for Muslims world over. A basic nomination system to select a Khalifa was challenged and resulted in death of Prophet's son-in-law's (and grand sons, daughter,grand daughters) death in a civil war after which this religion's values, ethos and greatness was lost forever. I see somewhat parellel developments in India too 65 years after Independance wherin democratic institutions are being held at ransom by fringe elements who are powerful at state level.

  7. There cannot be any version of Quran. Quran is one and its meaning is one. Nothing can be changed. Quran is very clear about being a good muslim and about practicing Islam. Those who have derived versions of it shall rot in hell. They are deviant groups. I am a an Indian Muslim, like any other Muslim or Indian. I am not aggrieved by every thing said bad or good. Yet, i am not completely non-vocal about things i feel are not in good taste. I feel responsibility towards muslims, towards nation, towards world peace., and as such would never think of blowing things up. I dont get the point about blowing things up. People were blowing things up before. History is before you. We want normal life, like any other indian. However, i can notice something is wrong in the whole system that suddenly, everyone, including press/media, and the administration at large, have shown some profound loathing when it comes to the words like muslim, islam. I am being provoked, jailed, tortured, denied my rights, denied my freedom, thrown into depression, and yet, i have patience, endurance, the power to regain myself and regain my lost respect. I am sure, those who wronged us, and those who are hell-bent in showing us to be wrong, and those who are hiding the wrongdoings of others, are like those who hiding burning coals in their hands, and shall know, that the same coal that they hid has torched their hands......


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