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09 December 2011

EDITORIAL: A Muslim’s take on Mr. Subramaniam Swamy

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By Mike Ghouse

First of all, the dearest person in God’s book Quraan is the one who forgives and secondly Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has clearly set up a model of behavior for Muslims; to pray for the ones who throw rocks (Taif story) at you or harm you. We simply cannot go wrong following that guidance to create better societies.

I welcome the reform Subramanian Swami has espoused to teach tolerance. Indeed, King Ashoka was a reformed man after the Kalinga war and proved it by preaching and practicing non-violence. His character was defined by who he was rather than what others were not.

Mr. Swami has the freedom to teach what is in his heart, but if he has made that transformational announcement to teach tolerance, he will have to prove that to himself through his actions and we have to give him the benefit of doubt. I hope Muslim groups take the initiative to invite him to speak and let him have a chance to change, if he does, it is good for India, if he is the same, he cannot do more harm than he has done to harm the fabric of India’s cohesion. But please give him the due respect for making that effort, even if he fails. Let the public judge and refrain from judgment. Only God knows what is in one’s heart and all we can do is nurture good will, which is more powerful than aggravating the fragile balance.

The first lesson for him to learn in tolerance is that he cannot demand from others, what he himself does not have. He has got to let go of the baggage.

The second lesson to learn is grasping the full meaning of the wisdom embedded in the idea of “Vasudaiva Kutumbukum” – when you embrace the idea, you will act and treat the world as one family. If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

I invite him to join me in becoming an Ambassador of freedom and peace, where a human can eat, drink, wear or believe what one chooses. We don’t have to emulate those whom we love to condemn, let them emulate us and let’s change the world with you and me first changing.

In the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I pray for Mr. Subramanian Swami to become a teacher of tolerance. May God give him the same energy and zest to do the right thing.

[Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies where no Indian has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net and his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike Ghouse is now associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor.]

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