Thursday, August 9, 2012

Muslim Massacre in Assam and Muslim Leadership

by Dr. Aslam Abdullah
No one would know the real extent of the violence, Muslims faced in Assam. No one would ever know the real number of people killed and raped in remote villages, in small hamlets, and in isolated plantations. There is no need to give a graphic detail of torture and violence unleashed on innocent people.
What has happened to weak and helpless men, women and children in Assam is nothing new. Ever since we started recording history, we have witnessed this. Despite all our claims and determinations, we have failed to provide security to each other from our own wrath and vengeance. The names and places of victims have kept on changing, and the volume and scope of violence have kept on growing.
It is almost impossible to ever imagine a world free from violence. So we have to live within this reality. But we can create conditions to minimize violence, reduce the number of victims and shorten the length of sufferings.
There are certain steps that can be taken up at different levels to counter the growing violence and to especially help the victims of Assam massacres.
At legislative levels, state and federal governments can impose punitive financial penalties on groups, communities, and organizations that promote and engineer violence. In Assam, the culprits and their organization may be brought to justice by making them pay for the rehabilitation of the victims. Once the state shows its serious intentions in legally handling the situation, the groups and communities would think hard about the serious implications of their actions.
But this is an ideal solution. No one is going to call for it and no one is going to implement it because there are so many political and social factors attached to it.
The next best solution is to mobilize the community resources to help the victims and open dialogue with those responsible for the violence. Both of these ideas are implementable.
Only visionary leaders and serious and sincere reformers can put the two ideas in action. Even though Indian Muslims scattered all around the world can contribute to the efforts, the initiative has to come from Indian Muslim leadership.
Currently, several humanitarian groups are engaged in raising funds for the victims of Assam in India and elsewhere. No one would really know the real amount being raised as there are no consolidated efforts on the part of Muslims.
Muslims in India can work to create a single entity to handle the relief and rehabilitation. It should rely on the resources of all parties and groups and it should recruit professionals who can draw the best plan to ensure that displaced people are provided adequate resources to stand on their own feet.
International Muslim groups may contribute to this unified entity and work in close cooperation with them. This would save time, efforts and resources and produce the best possible results.
How would it happen?  Average people can make a difference. They need to put pressure on Muslim leaders to work for a unified approach. The Muslim community would appreciate it and support this initiative. The differences are sustained and nurtured by leadership and if they show boldness in eradicating them, people would follow them.

The second initiative that Muslim leadership can take is to initiate dialogue with those accused of initiating the violence. It is a difficult process to build the bridges between two fighting groups. But this is the only way to enable the opposite sides to develop an agenda that serves their interests. Initially, the dialogue has to be at a low level among those who are willing to dialogue. Later, the dialogue can be expanded to include people at different levels. Through dialogue, the wounds can be healed and through the process of reconciliation, differences can be overcome. The Quran provides effective advice in these situations.
Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and you were hatred become as it were your friend and intimate! (41:34)


  1. The leadership can only guide and facilitate but the real onus for the change is on the common man. He has to step up to the challenge through education, hard work, civic sense, unity, love, respect, understanding etc. Values that Allah (swt) commands and demands from us all. The word has been out for centuries, read and follow the Quran.

  2. It is a serious problem. your suggestions are valid, but it seems to me if those who controll the power are not just towards all the segments of society, nothing will work.therefore participation in the political process and be part of the power is essential.
    Regarding your first suggestion to penalize the aggressor, dishonest people will blame the victims and make them pay also.
    There is a need for us to put our brains togather and come up with the solution.

  3. Salam,
    How can we develop a dialogue when people want to be anonymous. As far as masses are concerned, I fee there has to be some initiative on the part of some concerned people to suggest what is to be done. We have been reading the Quran for centuries and perhaps reading it more than any other religious communities read their books. But those who claim they know the Quran ask us to do things, that take us away from practical life in this world. So what is to be done?