May 14, 2017

Tarek Fatah under India’s hospitality: Playing Host for an Enemy of Peace



Thursday January 19, 2017 5:19 PM, M Wadood Sajid, Urdu Media Monitor

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Seeing Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani fugitive and Canadian national, enjoying his notoriety and ‘Celebrity status’ in India and being allowed to make provocative statements on TV channels, all Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) — who are not only prohibited from buying agricultural land in India but are barred from participating in politics— must be startled. And if any NRI or OCI happens to have a Pakistani born wife then not only the wife but even children face delays and unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining visas regardless of the fact that neither of the children have ever been to Pakistan nor their mother after she married an Indian. However, not only is Tarek Fatah, perhaps visiting India on a tourist visa, seems to be earning from his TV shows but is also making headlines for his political, albeit polarizing and hateful, statements. Renowned Urdu journalist M Wadood Sajid, discusses in detail the harm Tarek Fatah may cause to the social fabric of India

Currently an enemy of peace and threat to the security of India, who happens to be a Pakistani fugitive is, under India’s hospitality, is busy spewing venom against Islam and Muslims. Not only has he been commenting on current political, social and religious affairs on various TV channels but has also been trying to open old wounds and incite fellow countrymen against Muslims. A TV Channel has even started a regular programme presented by him.

On the face of it, this guy, known as Tarek Fatah, has been given shelter by a totally white-clad women organisation in India but the manner in which he has been left free to make vicious attacks on Muslims would not have been possible without the patronage of the Government itself or part of the mischief maker officialdom.

There is also some part played by the over-zealous representatives of the Muslim community itself in giving him so much importance, who, merely to get a chance to appear on TV, come to debate with this idiot.

Few days ago a lady Muslim reporter of Zee TV discussed with me on the topic of Fatwa and Jihad. She told me that the recorded discussion would be shown in Tarek Fatah’s programme, Tarek Ka Fatwa.

I told her that the title itself was outrageously stupid. As Tarek Fatah is not a Mufti [an Islamic scholar with special training in issuing religious decrees] then what was the sense of his Fatwa? Secondly, who has given the right to this TV channel to use a highly religious term for a programme presented by an extremely irreligious individual?

The questions she asked me were: ‘Can a Fatwa be issued on any issue?’, ‘Should the ulema not come out openly against Jihad?’, ‘How do you see Burqa?’, ‘What do you think about the dress donned by the wife of cricketer Muhammad Sami in the photograph posted by him on social media?’ and ‘Tarek Fatah says time has come when the ulema should call off the customs like pardah. What is your opinion about it?’

I told her that not every Tom, Dick and Harry can issue a Fatwa. A Fatwa can be issued only by a qualified Mufti. Fatwa is a purely religious term for the verdict given on a religious issue in the light (guidance) of Qur’an and Shari’ah (Islamic jurisprudence). A Fatwa is usually given when a questioner approaches a Mufti and asks his opinion in the light of Shari’ah on an specific issue.

I told her that the manner in which Islamophobic media has been abusing the term Fatwa has nothing to do with reality. This is highly abhorrent that despite it having been explained many a time repeatedly, the media has been dubbing each and every senseless statement as a Fatwa and thus defaming Islam and Muslims both.

I explained that Jihad means an struggle to control one’s way-wardly desires, abstaining from self-indulgence and also encouraging others to do good. It has nothing to do with violence and killings. But the media has been projecting violence as jihad. I said that the ulema have been expressing their views against this so called jihad for years and decades but they cannot come on TV channels and shout like the mischief mongers of the Tarek Fatah ilk.

Islam, I said, gives high regard to women and makes it incumbent upon men folk to look after women as the most important unit of their society and protect their honour. I also said that there are various forms and shades of Pardah and it’s not only Islam in which it has been enjoined but other religions have it too. It’s part of Indian culture and Hindu women too, practice it in small towns and villages even today.

On the publication of semi naked pictures of his wife on social media by Mohammad Sami, I said this is by all means his personal act. However, if he claims to be a Muslim then he is bound to respect Islamic teachings. From Islamic point of view making such photographs of one’s wife public or strutting along with her in such a revealing apparel is not allowed. To do so even in Hindu religion is an unacceptable act. If this was not the case then Rama would have surely made his wife Sita wear half-covering half-revealing clothes. But he did not do so.

On Tarek Fatah’s demand to abolish Purdah I said no one has the right to abolish something that has been ordained by Allah. To follow it or not is one’s prerogative but one cannot abolish it for whole of the society. Hence, Tarek Fatah has no right to put such a silly demand to ulema. As for himself he is free to follow Islamic teachings or not but he has no right to stop others from practising Islam or to ridicule them.

In the beginning, I had some reservations in talking about Tarek Fatah. But now, I feel that arousing public awareness and taking legal action against him has become necessary. Originally Tarek Fatah is a Pakistani. But 30 years ago when he started making abusive statements there then he had to flee from Pakistan. Astonishingly he got refuge in Saudi Arabia. During his early stay there he praised the rulers but when he started making fun of Islamic teachings, he felt forced to run away from Saudi Arabia as well. Now he is a Canadian citizen. Having spent a long time in Canada he has been issuing statements against Indian Muslims. He had visited India in 2015 as well and questioned the Indian authorities that if a singer (Adnan Sami) could be given Indian nationality, then he should be given as well. It has been learnt that under the present secular government in Canada he had been facing restraints from spewing venom against Muslims. Therefore, he is now staying in India and seeking Indian nationality. It looks like that the Government is ready to grant him Indian nationality but before doing so it is also seeking to get something out of it in return.

Zee TV has commissioned Tarek Fatah for a regular programme ‘Tarek ka Fatwah’. Its last episode was on the statement of Nooruddin Barakati, the Imam of Tippu Sultan Masjid of Kolkata in which he had announced a booty of Rs. 25 lakh for anyone who brought him the scalp of Narendra Modi.

I told Zee TV reporter that this was not a Fatwa but an uncouth and irresponsible statement and that legal action should be taken against it.

In that discussion, Tarek Fatah used extremely profane and filthy language and painted all of the Indian Muslims with the same brush. Those who watched and listened Tarek Fatah’s views would find it very hard, rather impossible, to describe this man’s person in a civilised manner and language.

I have watched more than a dozen interviews of him, have read a number of articles to this effect and have seen TV discussions participated by him. The observations and views that he has so far presented can be summed up as under in his own words:

“Indian Muslims are enraged that why I am abusing Pakistan from sitting here. It is because they are ISI and Pakistan fans. They practice Triple Talaq and marry four wives. Indian Muslims regard thieves and robbers like Babar, Aurangzeb, and Mahmud Ghaznavi as their heroes. In India the Islam practised is of Mullahs and not that of Allah. I regard Tasleema Nasrin and Salman Rushdie as my friends. I fight for the rights of gays and lesbians. Indian Maulvis are blackmailing the Government and the politicians. I am against Madrasa education. I know very well what happens in Madrasas. On every Friday destruction of kuffars (infidels) is invoked in the mosques.’

These are the few points that I have noted from various of his interviews and articles. Times Now and Zee TV are using him as a poster boy. However, the manner in which a brave TV journalist Khurshid Rabbani questioned him on ETV, is exceptionally exemplary. During this interview Tarek Fatah has exposed himself in all the manners possible and has left no excuse of any doubt about himself whatsoever.

The question now is what is it that this Pakistani fugitive and Canadian national doing in India? Professor Junaid Haris, Maulana Ansar Raza and Imam Umair Ilyasi of Jamia Millia Islamia, during a discussion on Zee TV, clearly challenged him saying, “You have come here to make Hindus and Muslim fight.”

This is now the responsibility of the Government to get the country rid of this ill intentioned foul-mouthed-Pakistani-mischief-maker. Very humbly and sincerely I request all the Indian Muslims and their leaders not to come onto the streets and start any agitation against this detestable person and keep away from making statements on TV channels or through newspapers. The only method to deal with this heinous situation is to sit with the authorities together and make them realise about the gravity of the situation; take non-Muslim intellectuals on board and take a legal course of action. Google and YouTube is full of proofs against him. Police and the Government should be informed that he is bent upon destroying peace and tranquillity of the country and hence his visa should be revoked immediately. This controversy is a test for Muslims and the Government both. Let’s see who succeeds.

[Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com from Jadid Khabar, Delhi, 15 January 2017

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