Blasphemous Books Against Islam: A New Trend of Islamophobia in Assam
Two blasphemous books against The Holy Quran and the Prophet of Islam written in Assamese language by RSS men published recently, have generated huge anguish and anxiety among the believers of various faiths, especially among the Muslim community of the state. The author of the book titled ‘Islam Aru Quranor kalonkita Kothabor’ (Islam and The Disgraced Verses of the Quran), which also takes a sub-title ‘The hidden Agenda of Al-Quran’, Satya Ranjan Bora, is an active member of BJP and also an RSS activist as he introduces himself.
Abdurrahman Aman| India Tomorrow
GUWAHATI, NOVEMBER 27—Assam known for its age-old tradition of communal harmony and tolerance, seems to be fast emerging as a new laboratory of the Hindutva. The Assamese people, following in the footsteps of their great spiritual leader Shankar Dev and Sufi saint Ajan Faqir, have been living in peace and harmony while maintaining their own distinct religious and cultural practices. That is why Assam is called the "land of Shankar-Ajan".
But all this seems to be changing, of late. Even since BJP acquired political power in the state, Assam is witnessing hate speech directed against the Muslim community and Islam. Despite being public representatives, some BJP ministers and MLAs are openly making provocative utterances against Muslims as if it were a state policy of the BJP Government.
Two blasphemous books against The Holy Quran and the Prophet of Islam written in Assamese language by RSS men published recently, have generated huge anguish and anxiety among the believers of various faiths, especially among the Muslim community of the state. The author of the book titled ‘Islam Aru Quranor kalonkita Kothabor’ (Islam and The Disgraced Verses of the Quran), which also takes a sub-title ‘The Hidden Agenda of Al-Quran’, Satya Ranjan Bora, is an active member of BJP and also an RSS activist as he introduces himself. On title page of the book, he has asked questions like "Are Muslims Frankenstein of modern civilization? Whether Quran is a religious book or a handbook of war strategy?" He has also stated that the Quran and Islam regard women only as child producing machines and sex-workers. There are highly inflammatory remarks, saying that the verses of Quran and the teaching of Islam inspire its followers to be terrorists, murderers and cruel. He quotes about 50 verses of the Holy Book wrongly and presents their misinterpretation in his controversial book. He has alleged that the verses of Quran are self-contradicting, illogical, non-progressive and barbarous.
Another book titled ‘Bouddik Santras’ (Intellectual Terrorism) is written by senior RSS functionary Ranjiv Kumar Sharma, against whom there are serious allegations of sex-scandal. In his book, Sharma has indulged into character assassination of Prophet Muhammad and Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa. Just a few months ago, a severe controversy broke out over a lesson published in a school textbook of the state which was highly slanderous to Islam. Before BJP coming to power in the state, there is no such example of any book by anyone against the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad or Islam in Assam.
Accusing Ranjan Bora of indulging into blasphemy, Congress MLA Zakir Hussain Sikder has already filed a court case against him. Alleging that it were the handiwork of RSS activists and hate-mongers, the MLA warned the government not to let the divisive forces damage the social fabric of the state.
All India United Democratic Front(AIUDF) MLA Aminul Islam alleged that RSS functionaries were writing books blasphemous to Islam and its Prophet inspired by hate speeches of senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and MLA Shilladitya Dev. He has demanded a ban on these books with immediate effect. State Jamiat-e-Ulema leader Maulana Fazlul Karim Qasimi challenged Satya Ranjan Bora to prove his allegation against the Quran. Otherwise, he must embrace Islam.
Another AIUDF MLA Hafiz Rafiqul Islam said that Satya Ranjan Bora was not even a good Hindu. A good Hindu can never think of such a lowly thing. When the wave of sea cannot hide the truth of the Quran, then what the polluted water of a drain will do. Commenting in this context, Adviser of the All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) Ajijur Rahman said, “The law of land does not permit one to hurt the religious sentiment of others. Some people from the Hindu community are trying to defame Islam and its rich culture. We urge government to act against such hate mongers”. Himanshu Datta, a research scholar said, "the people who go against the divine books like the Quran, are the real enemies of society. Their intention is to spread hate among the communities". In a seminar, showing his high regard for the Holy Quran, the Burah Satradhikar of Barpeta Satra (The Head of Barpeta Satra) kept the Holy Book on his head and asserted that all religion of the world give the message of humanity.
To polarize the people for electoral benefits in Assam, BJP’s IT cell has been posting malicious comments targeting religious minority communities in social media. Social media have been used by divisive forces to target the Muslims in the state which never happened before. New trend of hate speech targeting religious minorities in Assam on social media has been observed. Muslims are being demonised by calling them terrorists, criminals and rapists.
The State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Senior BJP MLA Shiladitya Dev themselves are leading the forces of hate speech targeting religious minorities in the state, said Advocate and social activist Anower Hussain. Though several FIRs have been registered against BJP leaders for their hate speeches, no action has been taken against any of them so far.