العلمانية وخطرها


1)     The need for exposing deviant way and misguidance.

2)     Defining secularism.

3)     The war between Islaam and the pre Islamic belief.

4)     Some example of secular practices in our communities.

5)     Seculars deceive people by not declaring their real position against Islaam.


First Khutbah

O Muslims, Allaah sent down The Book to clarify all things and to give Guidance and Mercy to people who believe.

He sent His messenger with guidance and the true religion and He opened with It blinded eyes, deaf ears, and sealed hearts and eliminated with It the darkness of ignorance and stupidity and released the chains of polytheism such that misguidance became a legend of the past and worshipping idols became an old myth.

A Muslim wonders at the stupidity of the polytheists. Allaah speaks the truth saying, which means: "He whom Allah guides is rightly guided but he whom he leads astray never will you find for him a protective guide"(Al-Kahf: 17).

Servants of Allaah, we must always remember though, that trials are continuous and the substance of evil remains till today. Devils among humankind and Jinns continue to spread misguidance, and to make it seem attractive and spread it by means of all tongues. Allaah says which means: "And thus we have made for every Prophet an enemy, devils from mankind and Jinn, inspiring to one another decorated speech and delusion" (Al-An 'aam: 112).

It is mandatory upon us to know the ways of misguidance, warn people of it, expose it, expose its objectives and block the way for those who call to it. By doing this, Muslims can be aware of what their Lord wants of them and have proper insight so as not to be harmed by the plotting and planning of the misguided ones.

Today in the Muslim world many different philosophies and ideologies are propagated…ones that deceive numerous people with its superficial sparkle and glory. Many slogans and terms have captured the minds of people and control their way of thinking.

These false beliefs are like a disease and are of the fire. If it has been decreed for these false beliefs to be disseminated, they will not overcome anyone but will turn him into disintegrated ruins.

One of these ideologies is secularism, which has infiltrated into the Muslim communities. Perhaps one of the most serious challenges that face the people of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah at this time is to overthrow these false beliefs, clarify their vague statements and expose the reality of the obscure slogans behind which secularism hides and spreads its poison in the minds and hearts of the people of this nation.

For this reason, it is necessary to unmask the true face of this ideology which is misguided and misguiding at the same time.

Secularism, in its correct definition, is the belief that religion should not enter into the affairs of the state; it denies any form of religious faith and worship. Thus, secularism is the antithesis of Islamic monotheism, which, from the perspective of Islam, is the greatest reality and truth.

Servants of Allaah, Ibn Taimiyah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said in his book Al-Ubudiyah (Servitude): "Mankind is at the crossroad that has two roads, no third to it. It is either that he chooses servitude to Allaah or he rejects the servitude to Him. To fully believe in the servitude to Allaah excluding all others knowing that servitude to anyone else but Allaah, great or small, is the worshiping of Satan."

As Allaah says which means: "Did I not enjoin upon you O Children of Adam that you not worship Satan for indeed he is to you a clear enemy and that you worship only me. This is the straight path" (Yaaseen: 60-61). This includes the Arabs who Allaah spoke about saying, which means: "They call upon instead of Him none but female deities and they actually call upon none but rebellious Satan"(An-Nisa’: 117). This also includes all acts of worship performed to anyone else but Allaah throughout history.

Some of the acts of worship have changed. The Arabs no longer worship the idols of the past. However, worship of Satan in itself did not change. The old idols are replaced with new idols: like the partisanship, nationalism, secularism, personal freedom, sex and others.

There are many new idols today. It is indeed the worship of Satan and Taghoot, which negate the testimony that there is no one worthy of worship but Allaah. For the meaning of La ilaha ill Allaah is to disbelieve in Taghoot and to believe in Allaah.

Based on this, we can know the ruling of Islam concerning secularism. Secularism is disbelief and is of the pre-Islamic Taghoot concept which negates and contradicts La ilaha ill Allaah.

Two points which are basic and paired are that firstly, it is ruling with something other than the rulings of Allaah or what Allaah has revealed, and secondly, it is associating others in the worship of Allaah.

Servants of Allaah! Secularism simply means, ruling with laws other than the laws of Allaah; something other than what Allaah has revealed. Ruling with a constitution or legislation other than, what Allaah has legislated. The acceptance to be governed by and follow Taghoot instead of Allaah, is the essence of establishing life with no faith and religion.

Allaah, says which means: "And he who does not rule with what Allah revealed, indeed, those are the disbelievers" (Al-Ma’ida: 44). 

Servants of Allaah! Disbelief is of different kinds, of which we must be aware. One aspect of Jahiliyah-disbelief and pre-Islamic paganism- was the rejection of Allaah. The rejection of His existence is related to faith and the way life is perceived, which correspond to the Jahiliyah of communists.

Another aspect is, acknowledging the existence of Allaah, but in a perverted way, and deviation in acts of worship. This kind of Jahiliyah is synonymous with the Jahiliyah of the Jews and Christians.

Another aspect is accepting the existence of Allaah and performing acts of worship but with a serious deviation in the understanding, implication and the implementation of La ilaha ill Allaah Muhammad-ur Rasul-Allaah, which results in a comprehensive association in the issue of obedience and partnership with Allaah. This Jahiliyah is of those who call themselves Muslims but are secularists. They think that they are within the fold of Islam and have all the rights of Muslims by merely uttering the Shahada, La ilaha ill Allaah, Muhammad-ur Rasul-Allaah. They perform these acts of worship in a Jahil, un-Islamic fashion.

Servants of Allaah! Believers in secularism deal with the aspects of faith and worship according to what Allaah wants, and at the same time legislate with other than the rules of Allaah. In fact, this is the reality and the basis of Shirk (association), because the people of Jahiliyah (the initial pre-Islamic paganism) did not object to the existence of Allaah. Allaah says, which means: "And if you would ask them who created the heavens and the Earth? They would say Allah" (Luqman: 25). They also used to have some acts of worship, as Allah says which means: "And they assign to Allah from that which He created of crops and livestock as a share"(Al-An'aam: 136). Yet, with all of that, O Servants of Allaah, what was Allaah's ruling regarding such a community. Allaah ruled that they were disbelievers, and considered these acts collectively to weigh nothing on the scale of Islam.

That is why long battles took place between them and the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam, and the fight became intensely aggressive until they could not settle it but with physical fights, with the sword as the judge.

The subject and the cause behind all of these long aggressive battles was nothing but that one statement, La ilaha ill Allaah. A statement that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam, insisted on and propagated to the furthest extent and people of Jahiliyah refused to the furthest extent.

And from the first instant when the Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam called them to La ilaha ill Allah, the immediate answer was as Allaah says in the Qur'an which means:  "Has he made the Gods only one God, indeed this is a strange thing"(Saad: 5).

The issue was very clear in their minds, that committing to this statement meant rejecting firmly and giving up completely, everything else besides Allaah. Everything from the things that they were worshiping from the Tawagheet: idols, the Taghoot of leadership, the Taghoot of the tribe, the Taghoot of magicians and traditions, all had to be dropped and they had to completely submit to Allah instead. This meant taking all matters, whether minor or significant, big and small in judgment to Allaah, alone with no partners.

Likewise, nowadays we have among us those who say that they are Muslims but they refuse to accept a relationship between religion and dealings in the worldly life, particularly when it comes to dealing with money and materialistic issues.

Among us these days, are people who are highly educated with PhD’s from different universities of the world and the first questions they impudently ask are: "What does Islam have to do with our social behavior? What does Islam have to do with men and women intermingling on beaches and places of entertainment? What does Islam have to do with the way women dress on the streets? What does Islam have to do with women driving cars and mixing with men and her personal freedom in traveling alone and dealing and running her own affairs?" This, indeed, is a call towards atheism, because it rejects what Allah has revealed in His Book regarding superiority of men over women. Some question, "What does Islam have to do with releasing the sexual aura through any means, be it adultery, fornication, or anything else". Allaah forbid. "What does Islam have to do with the ‘civilized’ people and what they do"?

So what is the difference between these people and the people of disbelief at the time of Shu'aib, peace be upon him, as Allaah says which means: "Does your religion command you that we should leave what our fathers worshiped?" (Houd: 87). These people question and strongly reject religion interfering with economics. They reject any connection between financial dealings and religious faith and morals, saying: "What does religion have to do with dealing with usury? What does religion have to do with sly cheating and stealing as long as no one catches you? What does religion have to do with politics and the ruling of countries?"

They shamelessly say that if religious morals were to interfere with the economy they will corrupt and ruin it. Therefore, we are not any better than the people of Median in the early pre-Islamic era were.

In today’s world, we have a Jahiliyah that is worse than the Jahiliyah of the pre-Islamic period, but it claims knowledge and civilization. Its advocators accuse those who connect between religion and human social behavior, politics and the economy of being backward and rigid, labeling them as fundamentalists and extremists.   

Is this not the reality of the campaign of those who claim to be Muslim from the secularists, who have corrupted the people and the land saying: “Religion and belief is for Allaah, but governing the land is for the people”, i.e. separating state from religion? May Allaah fight and kill them.

Second Khutbah

O Muslims, it is the habit of hypocrites and secularists who claim to be Muslims, to not openly reject and show their enmity to Islam. They use the weapon of the illusion of being Muslim until the time of battle, when they take the Muslims by surprise.

For that, these Zanadiqa(hypocrites) from the secularists and those who are like them, campaign by which they try to deceive the largest possible number of Muslims and to diminish the small number of people that might expose, interfere and intercept what they are doing.

Those who campaign in the interest of secularism, while practically trying to extract Islam from its roots, slowly try to gain the means of the media to get to masses.

Servants of Allaah, secularism was born and emerged out of Jahiliyah and it is clear disbelief. This fact is not hidden and there is no doubt about it. Those who call for secularism create doubt and confusion deliberately. They know that there is no place for this Jahiliyah in the lands and countries of Muslims, unless they are deceptive and confuse the masses of Muslims through their false campaigns that conceal the reality from them. They hide from the common people the matter of their religion. They instigate the common people and the masses of Muslims against the sincere and the righteous who call for Islam, those who warn them of the danger to their religion and their families and expose the reality of secularism.

Servants of Allaah, the fight that has been initiated against the Muslims of Ahlus Sunnah and Jama’ah by these misguided sects who claim to be a part of Islam, must not be taken lightly.

The most dangerous of these have always been the attack of sects with concealed faith, like the Rafidhaa who have been supported by international monetary forces from the disbelievers to destroy the people of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. Since the people of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah are the real and practical danger to these international forces, their forts are internally endangered by the secular powers that collated against them from the inside and that fight them both covertly and overtly. This represents the core of the battle between Islam and Jahiliyah and disbelief in this modern time.

The most dangerous phase of this struggle is uncovering the reality of this evil secular ideology and exposing it to Muslims, so that the way of the criminals who try to deceive them and confuse them with regards to their religion becomes clear to each of them. 

Isn't it time for the people of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah to be careful and cautious of these dangers that surround them from inside and out, and endanger them in this life and the hereafter?

Isn't it time for many of them to give up their old battles and settle petty differences and concentrate their force, power and efforts to confront these challenges?


Muslim Activists Reject Secular Fundamentalism


By Ayesha Ahmad, IOL Washington Correspondent 

WASHINGTON, April 22 (IslamOnline) - Secular fundamentalism is just as much a threat to liberty as religious fundamentalism, according to speakers at the Minaret of Freedom Institute's annual dinner Sunday night.

Personal stories of tribulations suffered by the speakers in the name of secular democracy shed light on the need for a better understanding of the relationship between Islam and freedom.

The two speakers, Merve Kavacki - an elected Turkish parliamentarian who was removed from office because of the hijab (Islamic headcovering) she wears, and Sami Al-Arian, a tenured University of South Florida professor who is under threat of dismissal because of his activism, were  described by the evening's moderator as victims of intolerance.

"These are both people who have suffered from secular extremism," said Imad ad-Dean Ahmad, a professor at the University of Maryland who heads the Minaret of Freedom Institute, a Washington-based Islamic think tank that devotes itself to studying the relationship between Islam and freedom, appealing to both Muslims and non-Muslims for better understanding. Its fifth annual dinner took place in Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington.

Both speakers have addressed audiences time and again about the causes they represent - freedom of statement, freedom of religion, decrying the use of secret evidence, and supporting the Palestinian cause - but on Sunday night, they shared with the audience personal sagas that have fueled their activism.

"The basic human right of a Muslim woman, denied by a Muslim country, was respected by a secular, predominantly non-Muslim country," said Kavacki, explaining the difference between democracy in Turkey and in the United States, and expressing her gratefulness for that, despite her concerns about civil liberties for American Muslims presently.

Kavacki explained how she had been nominated, had campaigned, and had been elected to parliament by a landslide with her hijab - yet when the day came to take her oath in the Turkish Parliament, "Hell broke loose," and Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told his deputies to "put this woman in her place."

Turkey, a staunchly secular but mostly Muslim country, forbids Muslim women from wearing the required headcovering if they are serving in public office or attending universities; Kavacki, ever since her 1999 fiasco, has been fighting against this rule in a country claiming to be a democracy.

Kavacki worried that instead of Turkey taking its lessons in democracy from the U.S., the U.S. was taking lessons from Turkey in cracking down on Muslims - exemplified by the federal raids of Muslim institutions and homes in northern Virginia on March 20 that profoundly shook the surrounding Muslim community.

She said that Muslims seem always on the defensive about their religion - even while being victims, they "are still sitting in the defendant's chair," she said.

"Even today, when Muslims are being burned alive in India and even when their houses are bulldozed by tanks in Israel, we find ourselves as Muslims in an apologetic mode."

Addressing the key issue of the evening - secularization - she said that it is always the "enemies of Islam" who are behind every effort to secularize or modernize Muslim countries.

"Isn't the secularization of Islam an oxymoron? For the religion cannot be separated from itself," she said.

While Kavacki's story touched on the definitions of secularism and democracy as illustrated by her experiences in Turkey, Minaret board member Aly Abuzaakouk introduced Al-Arians story as the saga of an American family.

Al-Arian's American "saga" began in 1975 when he arrived in the country at the age of 17. A Palestinian born in Kuwait, he said his family was always involved in Islamic activism, and when the first Intifada broke out in 1987, he worked hard to promote the Palestinian cause. In the early 1990s, he was part of an effort to create an organization to challenge the idea of "the clash of civilizations."

"We thought we didn't need a clash of civilizations, we need a dialogue of civilizations," he said.

The World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), based in Florida, was intended to bring Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals together for dialogue, to hold roundtable discussions and produce volumes of their studies, he said. But "a lot of people didn't like what we were producing and started attacking us."

When a former WISE leader left the country, only to turn up later as the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Arian said, "all hell broke loose," - echoing Kavacki. Al-Arian, a tenured professor at the University of South Florida, was put on paid leave for two years; his home was raided, and WISE was investigated and finally collapsed; nothing was ever found to incriminate him.

At that point, Al-Arian's brother-in-law, Mazen al-Najjar, who had a work permit for the U.S. but could not find anything, was offered political asylum in return for becoming an informant; when he refused, Al-Arian said, "they introduced secret evidence."

It is Al-Arian's activism against the use of secret evidence - which he describes as the defendant being asked to defend himself without being told what he is being accused of - that he is best known for in the American Muslim community. Of the 29 individuals held under secret evidence after the 1996 anti-immigration legislation was passed, 28 were Muslims.

Al-Najjar, who has three U.S.-born children and was never convicted of anything related to terrorism, spent more than three years in prison while being dubbed a "national security threat" by his detractors. After a federal judge ruled that there was no evidence against him, he was released, only to be picked up again after September 11 on a visa violation.

Now, with nothing more than that being held against him, he is held under 23-hour lockdown, is strip-searched naked every time he wants to leave the cell, is allowed only 15 minutes a week to call his family, and is escorted around chained hand and foot, Al-Arian said.

He has now been in these circumstances for five and a half months, Al-Arian said, "not for anything he has done, but simply because of who he is and what he represented."

Post-September 11, things turned ugly for Al-Arian again, after he appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News channel on September 26 in which he said he was smeared by "a classic guilt by association type of thing," and received a death threat that very night.

Two weeks of intense media coverage led to what he described as a "Kafka-esque" university board of trustees meeting, in which the trustees decided to recommend Al-Arian's termination, primarily because "I did not make it clear that I was not speaking on behalf of the university I came to campus once after they told me not to come, which they didn't tell me and I disrupted the campus because of death threats."

Al-Arian has garnered support from the American Association of University Professors, as well as Muslims and civil liberties activists all over the country, but the university's president is still considering his termination, and he remains "in limbo," he said.

He told the audience that the battle for civil rights had to be won before Muslims became politically empowered in the United States, but "I have no doubt that we're going to win. It's just a matter of time."

Both Al-Arian and Kavacki urged listeners to get involved in lobbying representatives. "We have to take this opportunity to push the American public to put everything in perspective," Kavacki told IslamOnline, calling on Muslims to raise the consciousness of federal and local government. "Lobbying really works."

Al-Arian added that in addition to political action, "We need your duaa [prayers]; we need your very sincere duaa."

Note: Western representatives should represent citizens of western countries not foreign Muslim activists.


Islam to be main source of Iraqi law
Constitutional panel members' language suggests end to secular Iraq.

Chicago Tribune

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – Religion will play a dominant role in Iraq's new constitution, which will identify Islam as the main source of laws, members of the committee drafting the document said Wednesday.

Also, no law will be permitted to contradict Islam, language that could see Iraq change into an Islamic state.

The wording, announced by leaders of the main factions in Baghdad, appears to mark a breakthrough on one of the issues to be resolved if Iraq's legislature is to draft a new constitution by Aug. 15, but it goes further than U.S. officials had wanted in defining the role of religion.

In Washington, a spokesman for the State Department said late Wednesday that the department has not yet seen a full draft and there would be no immediate comment.

Humam Hamoodi, a Shiite clergyman who is chairman of the constitutional committee, said any constitution that did not embrace Islam would be rejected in any referendum.

"The average Iraqi now supports a significant role for religion in the state," he said.

Adnan Janabi, one of the committee's deputy chairmen, said he would have preferred a separation of religion and state "but we have to accept the reality of the moment."

Members of Iraq's small Christian community as well as other religious minorities will be free to practice their religion, he said.

Secularists are now trying to push for language allowing civil law alongside religious laws in family issues such as marriage and divorce.

Women's groups have expressed alarm at plans to remove family law from the jurisdiction of civil courts and place it under the authority of religious courts that typically accord women fewer rights than men in matters such as marriage, inheritance and divorce.

Kurdish leaders have frequently said they will not allow Iraq to be transformed into an Islamic state but they are also pushing for a high degree of autonomy that will make it difficult to apply Iraqi laws in the Kurdish region. The issue of federalism and the degree of autonomy to be accorded to the Kurdish region are among the most contentious of the many issues still to be resolved.


Iran bans foreign films

Staff and agencies
Wednesday October 26, 2005

A committee of Islamic clerics in Iran, led by the country's new hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this week banned foreign films in an effort to wipe out what they called "corrupt Western culture".

Elements that were specifically named as affronts to the government's vision of Iran's Muslim culture included alcohol and drugs, secularists, liberals, anarchists and feminists.

The ban, which follows Mr Ahmadinejad's campaign promise to promote Islamic culture and confront what he called a cultural invasion by the west, aims to distance the state from the open cultural policies undertaken by former reformist president Mohammad Khatami that encouraged cultural coexistence and dialogue among civilisations.

Many experts and officials say the ban will only cause Iranians to turn to the black market for western videotapes or to foreign satellite television broadcasts. It is understood that the ban will have little effect on cinemas where few Western films play anyway, but it could dramatically change television, where all channels are controlled by the state and overseen by religious hardliners.

State-run television has hitherto shown foreign films after censoring many scenes deemed immoral or offensive. Films considered hostile to the Islamic values preached by the ruling establishment are already banned altogether.

"This new ban appears to be part of a campaign to push Iran back to the 1980s and to impose the same restrictions that were only just eased under Khatami. But it will be impossible to take Iran back to the 80s again," said international relations professor Davoud Hermidas Bavand.

Under President Khatami, Iran's 70 million citizens, more than half of whom are under 30, enjoyed growing social and political freedoms and were exposed to western popular culture through satellite television. The dishes are officially banned but tolerated by authorities. Many residents in Tehran hide them under tarpaulins or disguise them as air-conditioning units.

Western music, films and clothing are widely available in Iran, and hip-hop tunes can be heard on Tehran's streets, blaring from car speakers and music shops. Bootleg videos and DVDs of films banned by the state are widely available on the black market.

Already, the state-run television station in the holy city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran has reported that police closed several video clubs last week on grounds that they were offering films inconsistent with Islamic culture.


First Amendment On The Defensive

By Jennifer Prete

February 24, 2006

On Sept. 30, 2005, a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. To describe two, since most people here have not actually seen them: one was Muhammad drawn with a bomb as a turban; another depicted him saying there were not enough virgins in paradise for all of the suicide bombers.

A few months later, when a French newspaper published these cartoons, Muslims reacted. Portrayal of the Prophet is against Muslim law. As we are all aware, there have been continuous riots, threats, and boycotts in Europe and in the Middle East. An Iranian newspaper recently countered the cartoons with illustrations of its own: of the Holocaust. The manager of the French paper that published the cartoons has even been fired. Muslims are calling for apologies and a restriction on freedom of press. Some countries in Western Europe have responded by publishing the cartoons in their own papers in order to show their stance on freedom of speech and press.

Yet here in America, the land of ‘free speech,’ the cartoons have yet to be printed in a major publication. There is much talk about the Muhammad cartoons, but trying to find them on Google proves to be a difficult task. We should be printing these cartoons, not to further Muslim anger but to prove that freedom of speech is more important to us than upsetting a group of people. If we succumb to Muslim extremists and steer clear of printing these cartoons, it could potentially lead to a genuine lapse in our freedom of press. This is not about purposefully angering Muslim people; this is about the right to print unpleasant material.

Our country has been taken over by the fever of the politically correct. But the First Amendment was created to protect the right of speech that makes people uncomfortable. It is unnecessary to have freedom of speech for those things that do not upset people. The right to one’s own opinion is a vital part of democracy, or at least it should be.

Muslims are infuriated with the cartoons because portrayal of the Prophet is against their religion. Yet no one is forcing them to look at the cartoons, or even read the newspaper. If Muslims don’t like it, which they obviously don’t, they have the right to avoid it. It is not against my religion to see satirical drawings of Muhammad, nor is it in violation of the First Amendment. In fact, these cartoons are exactly why the First Amendment was created. There are many things that irritate me in newspapers. For example, I hate reading about ideas on Roe v. Wade being overturned. Nevetheless, recognition of and consideration for other opinions and views are necessary. If we never address issues that potentially offend a group of people, we will fail to solve many of the problems that plague our world today.

Being politically correct has taken over so many aspects of life in this country. Politicians cannot address serious issues about this country and about others—such as our foreign policy or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—for fear of losing votes or offending a group of people. This is bad for our country because instead of intellectualizing a problem, we create taboos to appease people. People should always be entitled to their [outspoken] opinion. This is one of the major elements that separates democracy from other forms of government.

Although the portrayal of the Prophet is banned in the Muslim culture and religion, it should not be prohibited from print. We are part of a democratic state, not one that is ruled by fear and oppression. If a strong position speaking out against the Muslim reaction to these cartoons does not surface, who knows what else will be banned from the press.


Secular India, Muslim veto

The sudden escalation in Muslim communal politics over the past couple of months leading up to attacks on Hindu congregations and shrines has brought back memories of the extremely divisive rhetoric of the 1940s that led to India's partition. It has also once again shown up the phenomenal influence of religious extremists on the Muslim mind and the near incapacity of moderates within the community to rein in the hotheads.

There is little doubt that the prevailing political environment has been conducive for the growth of Muslim communalism with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at the Centre succumbing to pressures from minority groups and the Left parties and initiating desperate measures to woo the Muslim vote - the most disturbing venture being the attempt to take a Muslim head count in the armed forces.

Thanks to some timely intervention, this dangerous initiative has been aborted, at least for now, but the danger is far from over. Encouraged by pseudo-secular politics, Muslim politicians and clerics have organised huge rallies in several cities in recent weeks ostensibly to protest against America's policies and the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper. These protests have ended in attacks on Hindu business establishments.

Side by side, there is evidence of a home-grown variety of terrorism with Indian Muslims getting involved in terrorist attacks on Hindu shrines and establishments. Taken together, the message is loud and clear - either tailor India's foreign policy to the Muslim view point or face the music. In short, the Muslims must have veto power, just as they did prior to partition and Muslim interests must override Indian interests.

To begin with, it all looks almost innocuous and seemingly reasonable. After all what is wrong in the Muslims of India protesting against closer Indo-US ties ? Is not one entitled in a democracy to speak one's mind ? The partition of India along communal lines also had its origins in such democratic logic, until it was fuelled by politics. That is why we need to look back at the history of appeasement. For example, the seeds of separate representation for Muslims in legislatures in the sub-continent were sown in the Indian Councils Act of 1892. BR Ambedkar, the architect of our Constitution, was of the view that this was introduced by the Viceroy Lord Dufferin to wean away Muslims from the Congress party, which had been launched a few years earlier.

However, though the idea emanated from the British, the Muslims were quick to realise the value of separate political rights. Consequently, when the next round of reform of the Legislative Councils was contemplated in 1909, the Muslims placed a long list of demands before the British. New demands emerged in 1916 leading to what is known as the Lucknow Pact between the Hindus and Muslims. Some years hence, Jinnah, the architect of Pakistan, put forth a long list of demands on behalf of the Muslim League when the Simon Commission was appointed. He wanted "adequate share" for Muslims in all the services and in self-governing bodies and separate electorates for Muslims in all regions of the country.

All these demands were conceded in 1932 but that was not the end of the story. Jinnah wanted more a few years hence. Among these new demands were the following : Vande Mataram should be given up, Urdu should become the national language and the tricolour should be changed or the flag of the Muslim League should be given equal importance. One more preposterous than the other you would think but that was how Jinnah played his cards.

Ambedkar, while reflecting on these demands in his book `Thoughts on Pakistan' said that with this new list, which included a demand for 50 per cent share in everything (even though the Muslims constituted just 25 per cent of the population in undivided India), "there is no knowing where the Muslims are going to stop in their demands". In this catalogue of new demands there are some which on the face of them are extravagant and impossible he said adding that "the Muslims are now speaking the language of Hitler and claiming a place in the sun which Hitler has been claiming for Germany" Eventually Jinnah played his trump card. He demanded a separate Islamic State.

Unfortunately, even the creation of Pakistan has not settled the issue. Competitive minorityism has once again raised its head in India and has begun to negate core constitutional ideals. Lord Dufferin gave Muslims the right to communal representation just to keep them away from the Congress Party. Today, the Congress Party is ready to disturb the secular character of the Indian Army and offer communal reservations in services just to retain the Muslim vote. Meanwhile, parties like the Samajwadi Party have no qualms in flaunting a minister like Haji Yaqoob Qureshi.

Prior to partition, Ambedkar advised the Congress Party to abandon the policy of appeasement. "The Congress has failed to realise that the policy of concession has increased their (Muslim) aggressiveness and what is worse, the Muslims interpret these concessions as a sign of defeatism on the part of the Hindus and the absence of will to resist. This policy of appeasement will involve the Hindus in the same fearful situation in which the allies found themselves as a result of the policy of appeasement which they adopted towards Hitler". He therefore felt that the creation of the separate Islamic state of Pakistan could be a settlement that could end the Hindu-Muslim problem in the sub-continent.

Ambedkar however failed to gauge the damage that pseudo-secularism and minorityism would do to the idea of a free, secular, democratic India. Ambedkar presumed that the creation of Pakistan would result in a fairly comprehensive exchange of population. Consequently, " will do away with this constant need of appeasement and ought to be welcomed by all those who prefer the peace and tranquility of a settlement to the insecurity of a growing political appetite shown by the Muslims in their dealings with the Hindus".

This was a miscalculation on Ambedkar's part because he failed to gauge the impact of democracy and demography on the trajectory of Muslim politics after India became a secular, democratic republic. Of the total Indian population of 336 million on the eve of partition, the Muslim population was 77 million. Of this, 47 million became citizens of Pakistan and the remaining 30 million stayed back in India. The Muslim population in India has since risen five fold to touch 150 million today and the pursuit of Muslim votes among political parties is leading India to a situation where in the Muslims will once again begin to exercise their veto in all matters including the country's defence and foreign policies.

The pseudo-secular environment created by political parties in their effort to woo the burgeoning Muslim vote has emboldened the emergence of a new leadership among Muslims which is demanding that the country's policies be skewed to Muslim interests. Since Muslims hate Mr George Bush and America, India should not befriend the Americans.

Similarly, since Muslims empathise with Iraq and Iran, India's foreign policy should follow suit. If you heard the speeches made at these public meetings on the eve of President Bush's visit, you would think you are in an Islamic state in which the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists etc constitute a hopeless minority. According to Ambedkar, "Muslim politicians do not recognise secular categories of life as the basis of their politics because to them it means the weakening of the community in its fight against the Hindus". This he said over 60 years ago.

Going by the vituperative attacks on the US President in Muslim rallies, the open support of rallyists to someone like Osama Bin Laden and the conduct of Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, it appears nothing has changed over the last six decades. Muslim politics remains static. The liberal, secular, democratic environment that has prevailed in India after independence appears to have had no impact on the community's politicians. Where does this leave democratic India? Will history repeat itself? These are worrying thoughts indeed.