“Majidi and A.R. Rahman cannot make a movie that is inflammatory and would hurt sentiments of the Muslim community.”
The above-mentioned quote was made by none other than the self-proclaimed champion of freedom of speech and expression, Shabana Azmi, during a debate on India Today on the Fatwa against A.R. Rahman for his music on a movie based on Prophet Mohammed. Unfortunately, this is not the only bewildering comment made on the show.
“Fatwa can only be delivered by a Mufti who is a scholar.”
Notice how Shabana Azmi is not against the concept of Fatwa itself which is astonishing. It seems according to her, the legitimacy of a Fatwa is determined by the credentials of the one issuing the Fatwa.
Unsurprisingly, another breed of people who judge Fatwas based on the person issuing them are of course the much hated Jihadis. For example, recently, a horde of Islamic clerics issued a Fatwa against ISIS. And quite astonishingly, the ISIS still continues to operate, still continues to rape, pillage and murder without paying any heed to the Fatwa issued against them by Learned Islamic Scholars. Of course, if they were asked to express their opinions about the Fatwa issued, they’ll probably say something along the same lines as our dear Shabana Azmi, that only Muslims can issue Fatwas and the clerics are not true Muslims.
Also, during the debate, it seems Shabana Azmi is more concerned with attacking the Raza Academy and undermining their legitimacy instead of vehemently criticizing the concept of Fatwa itself, which is a bit shameful considering how the Raza Academy does not hold a monopoly over issuing Fatwas and they are certainly not the first to issue ridiculous Fatwas. Also, whenever a Fatwa is issued, it invariably defies all sense of logic and reason. And when Fatwas are issued on Humanitarian grounds, like the Fatwa against ISIS, it has about the same effect Kamaal R Khan’s rants would have against the likes of Johny Depp and Leornado Di Caprio.
Very recently, the same woman was quoted as saying Fatwas are only a recommendation, cannot be imposed. It seems as if Mrs. Azmi is unaware of a simple fact that when a recommendation is backed by a significant amount of population, the recommendation becomes a mandate. If not followed, there will be repercussions.
Cognitive dissonance, however, seems to be the forte of the much loved actress. Trying not to be too harsh, I would like to gently remind her of the time when an all girls band from Kashmir was forced to quit when a Fatwa was issued against them by the Grand Mufti himself. So, when, Mrs. Azmi says a Fatwa can be issued only by a scholarly Mufti, does she intend to say the Mufti is not an Islamic Scholar?
Also, it should not come as a surprise that another person who happens to be Muslim leader and a scholar with a P.H.D. in Islamic Studies is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. And I am pretty sure a fatwa issued by ISIS is not a mere recommendation, it is much more sinister and I am very sure it CAN be and it IS imposed.
All in all, I would say the level of discourse in our Mainstream Media is horribly and often criminally misinformed and our Liberals have officially lost the plot. The so called experts in debates regarding social issues are often nothing more than popular celebrities with a pretty face. And if we are to effectively counter a propaganda as vicious as Jihad, we have to conduct honest debates with proper experts who have a thorough knowledge on the subject. Worse, often these individuals are hailed as icons of free speech when in fact they are for anything but free speech. It’s simple, really. If you want to impose restrictions on Free Speech, then you are not really for Free Speech.
The only good thing about the whole scenario is Shabana Azmi has come under severe criticism from sensible individuals on Social Media for her comments and her hypocrisy has been verily exposed. However, a dearth of Islamic reformers in India still remains. As Islamic reformers such as Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali gain prominence in the West, our country still remains in dire need of sensible Islamic reformers. And the duplicity of the Mainstream Liberals who are always overeager to scream Islamophobia at the drop of a hat only further complicates the delicate issue of fighting Islamic Extremism.