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Obama’s Fair Remarks Regarding Muslims – OpEd

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US President Obama visited the mosque in Baltimore, Maryland a few days back. Of course, this made many Americans wonder as to why Obama would visit the mosque at the end of his Presidential term and just before the Presidential election, instead of doing so earlier in his two terms of eight years.

Obama should only hope that even his admirers would not think that he made this visit to mosque as part of his efforts to win votes for Democratic party in next elections or find a career for himself after ceasing to be the US President. Maybe such visit to mosque would help him build an image of himself as universal man, that could pave way in so many ways in shaping his future career. After all, Obama has already won a Nobel Prize for Peace, almost immediately after becoming President.

Anyway, the remarks of Obama on Muslims appear to be fair and will win lot of friends for him not only among Muslims but also among people who are fair in judgements and bear no ill will towards any religion or any community.

Obama has gone one step further to say that Sikh Americans are often the targets of threats and harassment as they are “perceived to be Muslims”. It is a fact that Obama has not been able to prevent such perceptions when he has been the President for as long as eight years.

The ground reality is that millions of Muslims in the world do not approve the violent methods adopted by some extremist groups. In spite of vast number of Muslims being peace minded, an unfortunate impression is gaining ground that Muslims tend to indulge in violent terrorist activities.

This scenario should be seen as helplessness of the majority of the population who are not responsible for any wrong dealings but who are facing the music for wrong doing indulged by microscopic minority of others belonging to same religion. It is unfair to expect that peace loving people should protest and fight against the minority of those who believe in violent acts, as it is just not possible for private citizens or groups. Only the governments have to do it.

Obama has put the issue in proper perspective by clearly stating that while criticizing any terrorist group, the religion to which the terrorists belong should not be criticized.

While reading such appropriate statements of Obama, many Indians who do not have a short memory cannot but recollect that Obama, during his last visit to India, made some adverse comments about the so called religious intolerance in India, though only very microscopic minority of people in India indulge in hate talks. Perhaps, after completing the visit to India and the present time, President Obama has learned some lessons.

Obama should be grateful to millions of Indians who tolerated his statement when he talked about religious intolerance in India, as Indians know that religious intolerance in India is more a media creation and very isolated affair.

Obviously, the tolerant Indians have a lesson or two to give it to Obama.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

2 thoughts on “Obama’s Fair Remarks Regarding Muslims – OpEd

  • February 6, 2016 at 8:54 am
    Permalink

    How does a famous person visiting a peaceful group say anything at all about that same religion’s killer radicals? Did Obama leave his armed guards at home?

    Reply
  • February 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm
    Permalink

    “Obama has put the issue in proper perspective by clearly stating that while criticizing any terrorist group, the religion to which the terrorists belong should not be criticized.”

    Is this what he ‘clearly’ said ?

    In that case, he was wrong. Anyone should be able to freely criticize any religion, and ideology.

    It’s enough to say that most muslims don’t agree with islamic terrorism. That they are the biggest victims, etc.

    The problem, however resides in the fact that in islam, or most muslim schools of doctrine, or countries, criticism of islam isn’t permitted. Apostasy and Blasphemy are pillars of islam everywhere. They prevent any ‘reform’ of islam, and according to many polls, the majority of muslims, agree with these laws.

    In the west, blasphemy laws were abolished. However, many radical muslims or even non radical, really do believe that we should not criticize and even less make jokes about islam. Some muslim countries like Pakistan have tried to get Blasphemy laws imposed by the UN.

    In the west, this is being circumvented by the new notion of ‘islamophobia’, whereby criticism or ‘insult’ of islam is being brought into legislation and general society, with the willing yet often naive help by certain leftists. Certain American based human rights orgs criticize France’s secular laws. A huge number of ‘ordinary’ muslims took to Twitter after the Charlie killings to agree with the killers. Schools had to persuade muslim pupils that you can disagree without killing people.

    It’s a dangerous slippery path.

    As for Obama’s remarks about India’s religious intolerance, I can sympathize with your point, but best not to make it sound like a revenge piece. There are no Blasphemy laws in India are there ? Not like in Pakistan.

    Reply

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