In a shocking turn of events, which show the levels of intolerance Islamists harbour even for moderate Muslims, a library set up by a daily-wage labourer in 2011 was set on fire by miscreants late on the night of April 9, 2021. The books housed in the library, which were mostly in Kannada, were reduced to ashes. The owner of the library – Syed Issaq, a 62-year-old moderate Muslim man who aims to popularise Kannada and eradicate hatred for the regional language among his community says his library has previously also been subjected to attacks.
Following the fire on Friday, he filed a complaint with the Udaygiri police over the incident. The case has been registered under section 436 (mischief by fire) of the Indian Penal Code. The library was set up in January 2011 by Syed to get more people in his area to read books. “I didn’t read (in my childhood) and I wanted people to read. This is a slum area and I kept Kannada and Urdu books. I wanted Kannada to grow and prosper,” Syed Issaq told The News Minute.
Syed Issaq’s library was a symbol of coexistence – something which Islamists despise. It is the inclusive message of Issaq and his noble motives that reportedly caused radical elements from within his community to burn down the library. In the library, more than 11,000 books including Kannada versions of Bhagavad Gita, Bible and Quran were housed. He has accused the miscreants of targeting his library because of their intolerance towards the Kannada language that he, according to them, was propagating through his collection of books.
Interestingly though, until recently, mainstream media outlets who work with the predisposition of all Muslims being victimised by ‘extremist Hindus’ were insinuating that the man’s library was burnt down simply because of his faith. Among those who sought to paint the said picture, with their headlines at least, were The Quint, New Indian Express, The Federal and others. The sole motive of such media organisation seems to be to paint Hindus in a bad light, and without facts, to accuse the community of attacking a Muslim man’s library.
As it turns out, however, the attack is the handiwork of radical Islamists, who perhaps could not tolerate their Quran and the Bhagavad Gita being placed in the same library. One man who has been identified for initiating the fire in the library is Syed Nasir. The accused was arrested by Mysuru Police on Saturday.