ISLAMiCommentary Covers IGE’s Security Peace and Coexistence Conference in Myanmar
Al Haj U Aye Lwin: Welcoming the Other in Myanmar December 6, 2013
by AL HAJ U AYE LWIN for THE RELIGIONS FOR PEACE 9TH WORLD ASSEMBLY (VIENNA) on NOVEMBER 21, 2013, shared with ISLAMiCommentary:
Text of Speech: *”Welcoming the Other Through Citizenship for Just and Harmonious Societies (Islamic Prospective)” at The Religions for Peace 9th World Assembly in Vienna, Austria, on November 21, 2013
To celebrate and welcome the other is the theme of the 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace (RFP). People are beginning to realize that diversity is not enough, we have to celebrate the diversity and welcome the others who are different from us. Dignity of diversity is something people of Myanmar are proud of throughout the history. However, due to some people with false nationalism, other i.e. people who are different from them are viewed as a danger to their national custom and tradition. Evil minded people with sinister plans are using these ultra nationalist to create religious conflict and caused instability in the country to serve their hidden agenda and vested interest:
RFP Myanmar has been trying its best to defuse the tension by adhering to the principles of RFP. From its beginning, RFP has labored to discern and express elements of a shared positive vision of peace. This is done by discerning and expressing consensus through shared values, rather than in terms of differing doctrine that are unique to each religious tradition.
Muslims have been living peacefully and harmoniously for more than 1000 years, with the people of diverse faith and race in Myanmar. It was the Sufis that won the hearts and minds of the Myanmar people and forge unity and harmony in a multi racial and multi religious society. Each of our religions has its own way of calling a spirit of sacrifice, humility and self restraint essential for building peace.
Allow me to share some historical facts regarding how Myanmar has welcomed the others.
No religion originated from Myanmar and all the ethnic races residing inside Myanmar now migrated into Myanmar from different places during different times.
However, all the major religions in the world flourish in our country. Buddhism is the dominant religion profess by the majority of the Myanmar people. I sincerely believe that due to the teaching of Lord Buddha, Myanmar inherited the spirit of welcoming others. Buddhism is a very peaceful religion. There is no place for for segregation and discrimination in Buddhism.
Of course all the religions teach its followers to uphold the noble teaching of their respective faith and also to preserve the tradition and culture of ones nation. Whoever, that does not mean hating the other.
The greatest Promoter of the Buddhism in the world, King Asoka of India set a very good example by advising his fellow Buddhists to protect and preserve one religion in line with the spirit of Buddhism. He urged the Buddhists to support one religion by supporting the other religions. By assisting other religions, one is promoting one own religion. This noble ideas were inscribed on the stone pillars and has been the national emblem of India. Myanmar kings practically implemented these noble tradition in our beloved country and welcome the other.
(1) Four grand Mosques were built by King Alaungphaya in honour of the four Muslim scholar saints when they were mistakenly killed by the court officials. Their tombs are still present in Shwebo town.
(2) Since the time of the founding of the first Myanmar dynasty in 11th A.D by King Anawrahta, Myanmar Muslims were appointed in different capacities to serve the people and the nation along with the other citizens of the other races and religions. King Bo Daw U Wyne appointed Abbid Shah Hosseini, a nephew of King Aurungzeb, as a Gazi. Native Myanmar Muslim scholar U Nu was appointed as governor of Rakhine.
(3) King Min Don had built a Rest House in Mecca for Myanmar pilgrims. In fact when he established the ancient capital of Mandalay Myanmar Muslims were allotted lands to build Mosques and he himself laid a golden stake in the foundation of Mosque inside the palace.The Mosque now demolished, was known as Golden Stake Mosque.
(4) In 14th century devoted Rakhine Buddhist Kings had Muslim titles and minted coins with Arabic inscriptions.
(5) During the same era in Ayeyarwady division, Myanmar Muslims known as Pathees founded the capital city and ruled for 3 dynasties and the city is still known as Pathein,called after their name.
(6) In 15th A.D there were Muslim Kings in Tanintharyi division which is known as Meike.
(7) Myanmar Muslims were appointed by successive Monarchs as generals in Myanmar military for their patriotism and bravery. They fought gallantly during the Anglo-Myanmar wars. These were all recorded in the Myanmar Chronicles.
Then what happened? The spirit is still there. When there were attempts by the ultra nationalists to use Religious Symbols and discriminate and segregate the Muslims, Myanmar Buddhist Youth came out with youth from different faiths. They distributed stickers mentioning ” I will not let any religious or racial violence occurred because of my conducts”. T-shirts were also given out. Taxis with the stickers of misused and abused Religious symbols were changed with the stickers of peace message.
Recently, Sitagu Sayadaw and I went to Thandwe. I spoke at his sermons given to the Buddhist public and he spoke to Muslims also. We went to the site, where the most violent conflict happened. He is going to renovate a primary school and new clinic in a Muslim village where the Muslims were killed including 2 elderly persons.
RFP’s shared commitment to peace is made full of hope, despite the heavy legacy of past violence, grave peril of the present and anxious uncertainty of the future. RFP believe that love, compassion, selflessness and inner truthfulness are more powerful than hate. A Christian friend in Myanmar has advised the Myanmar Muslims to counter the hate speeches with love speeches.
Holy Prophet had said:
“Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms and prayers? Making peace with one another, enmity and malice tear up rewards by the root.”
If you wish to receive graciousness from me, show graciousness to those whom I have created.
Treat kindly to the dwellers of the earth and Allah will treat you kindly.
Allah is specially kind to those who are kindly in disposition and feel for the others. O ye who dwell on earth, be kind to the creatures of Allah subsisting on earth, Allah will be then kind to you.
If you are anxious to receive kindness from me, offer kindness to my creatures.
The core elements of RFP mission provokes, inspires and energizes wisdoms that are mentioned above. With that goal in mind, RfP Myanmar would exert its utmost efforts to welcome the others through conflict transformation and peace building.
by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on NOVEMBER 4, 2013:
Early last month an “Interfaith Academic Conference on Security, Peace and Coexistence” was convened in Myanmar to comparatively discuss religion, security, and citizenship, and the relationships between education and extremism in central, south and southeast Asia.
The Oct. 1-2 conference was held at the Sitagu International Buddhist Academy, Yangon, Myanmar, in joint partnership with the US-based Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), and was attended by 226 participants including government officials, academics, and religious leaders from that region, including Myanmar.
On the first day of the conference, sadly, began a new wave of attacks against Muslim homes and mosques by Buddhist mobs — this time in the Thandwe township, Rakhine (Arakan) State, on Myanmar’s western border. These attacks in Thandwe, that were to continue for four days and leave at least five Muslims dead and two mosques and up to 70 Muslim homes burned down, might have cast a shadow on the conference proceedings, but instead made its purpose all the more urgent.
According to Dr. Chris Seiple, President of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), “Naturally, especially given events, there was some focus on Rakhine, which Chief Convener of the Islamic Centre of Myanmar Al Haj U Aye Lwin so courageously brought up with the Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw on the first day.”
The Venerable Sayadaw – one of the oldest and most influential Buddhist monks in Myanmar, is known for his charity work and community engagement. Al Haj U Aye Lwin, in addition to his work at the Islamic Centre of Myanmar, is also founding member of the Religions for Peace/Inter-religious Council’s Myanmar branch.
Anti-Muslim violence has been an ongoing problem in Myanmar in recent years. Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in a recent interview with the BBC’s Mishal Husain blamed what she described as “a climate of fear” for exacerbating tensions between Muslims and Buddhists — and, asked about reports that 140,000 Muslims have been forced to leave their homes, noted that many Buddhists had also fled Myanmar.
Unlike the Rohingya Muslims, who are stateless and heavily persecuted in Myanmar, Kaman Muslims — targets in the latest wave of violence — are among the 135 official ethnic nationalities recognized by the government. (For a primer on the roots of Buddhist/Muslim conflict see Oxford scholar Matt Walton’s piece on ISLAMiCommentary this summer )
Chris Seiple, Director, Institute for Global Engagement
“Rakhine is a most complicated situation, with issues of (illegal) migration, ethnicity, natural resources, (hidden) political agendas, corruption, little to no education, scriptural illiteracy, and, as a result, religion being manipulated to validate violence against the other,” wrote Seiple in a post-conference email to participants, shared with ISLAMiCommentary. “In recent years, however, it has been the Muslim minority that has suffered most at the hands of a Buddhist majority.”
Seiple, in his email continued: “There are many definitions of principled pluralism and democracy, but their essence is always the same: Will the majority culture celebrate and integrate the minority, as full and equal citizens under the rule of law? In conflict situations where religion is being used to validate violence, such a process must begin with the faith leaders from the majority religion. They must lead the way, preaching the best of their faith against the worst of religion, providing permission for the majority to live out the Golden Rule (a version of which is found in every faith).”
Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, who was originally scheduled to speak at the interfaith conference, that week made his first visit to Rakhine since sectarian violence there that left nearly 200 people dead and thousands displaced in June 2012.
The President’s visit had been scheduled before the outbreak of violence, and he was in other parts of Rakhine State when the arson attacks began in Thandwe. However, as local media reported, on the 3rd day of the violence, President Sein travelled to Thandwe for a one-day visit to speak to and meet with town elders from both the Muslim and Buddhist communities. At the beginning of his speech he reportedly said, “It seems that disturbances are following me wherever I go.”
Less than a week after President Thein Sein’s visit, the Venerable Sayadaw and Al Haj U Aye Lwin went to Rakhine State together to survey the damage to a village in Thandwe township and speak with the local Buddhist and Muslims communities.
Al Haj U Aye Lwin speaking to the Buddhist mass at Thandwe City Hall. photo courtesy of Al Haj U Aye Lwin
Here is an account of that trip to Thandwe written by Al Haj U Aye Lwin (shared with and edited by ISLAMiCommentary):
We came back on October 8th safe and sound by the Grace of the Almighty Lord, and I would say our mission was a success.
On Day 1 (October 7) of our trip, I participated in a mass being given by the Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw. We were at Thandwe City Hall in Rakhine state, Myanmar (In Myanmar it is not unusual for a Buddhist mass to be conducted at a government building.)
Citing Jataka stories (a genera of Buddhist literature; sermons by Buddha that teach lessons), the Venerable Sayadaw both warned the assembled local Buddhists — including town officials — of the bad consequences that await those who believe in rumors, and cautioned that there are dangerous people with hidden agendas who are out to incite violence to achieve their “sinister plans.” He ended his sermon by urging the Rakhine Buddhists to live peacefully with the Muslims who live on the same soil, but have a different faith.
When it was my turn to speak, I also spoke from the heart. “The beauty of Myanmar is unity in multiplicity, and diversity is something the people of Myanmar people are always proud of,” I told the group. I warned about those people who are hijacking the religion and inciting trouble to destabilize Myanmar; and using this instability to serve their political purposes.
The next day (Oct. 8), the Venerable Sayadaw and I met with Muslims at the District Commissioners’ Office in Thandwe town, Rakhine state. (The District Commissioner is in charge of administration in Thandwe). About 150 Muslim elders including local imams attended the program. The Venerable Sayadaw told the Muslim group that it wasn’t his intention to preach to them or blame them. He said he just wanted to share some teachings of Lord Buddha and give some suggestions and advice.
Referencing the stories of Jataka again, he explained the need for mutual respect, spoke out about the negative consequences of division, and stressed the importance of moral character and wisdom in establishing peaceful co-existence. He told them to be on guard against those who would use religion as a political tool.
Then I took the floor. I addressed “the Islamic concept of humanism, acceptance, and believing and showing respect according to the teaching of the Qu’ran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet and all Holy enlightened figures who had appeared on the Earth in different ages and different palaces to emancipate (the people from) suffering and eliminate evil.”
“It is the basic belief of Islam to believe in all of the prophets. Though only 25 are mentioned by Names in the Holy Qur’an, there are a lot whose names are not mentioned, but all Muslims must accept and believe in without discrimination,” I continued. “The saying of the Holy Prophet gave the number of Enlightened ones that appear on earth as 124,000. (Reference from Qur’an 42:13, 5:48, 4:163, 4:164, 4:165 ).”
I also emphasized the Qu’ranic injunction to “repel the misdeed done by the enemy to us with a good deed for these perpetrators. Then one who harbors hatred against us will become an intimate friend (41:34).”
I cited historical facts that Islam had reached Myanmar more than 1200 years ago and that we Muslims are part and parcel of the society. I also recounted the historical figures that served in various capacities under different administrations, and told them that my father was awarded a number of medals including a medal for his role in Burma’s struggle for independence and post-independence nation-building activities.
I told them that when one of my friends dared to call me Kalar, I responded by asking what his Bamar father was doing when my father was fighting for Burma’s freedom. (The Bamar people or Burmans are the dominant ethnic group in Myamar. Myanmar Muslims are often called Kalar — a degrading and derogatory term that loosely translated means ‘foreigners from India’)
Following our speeches, Lt.General Hla Min and senior officials took us by helicopter to Thapyu Kyain village in Thandwe township. (An ethnic Kaman Muslim fishing village located about 15 miles (25 km) from Thandwe town, this was where the arson attacks had started a week before, before spreading to other villages.)
As soon as we entered the village it seemed to us that the Thapyu Kyain villagers, despite religious differences, had no major problems with each other.
Compared with the whole Rakhine State, if not the entire country, the Thandwe township had experienced the least racial and religious tension. But, just before the outbreak of violence, some members of the nationalist Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion group played DVDs of hate sermons and songs — right from Thandwe City Hall — and local authorities in Thandwe did nothing to stop it.
Things seem to have calmed down since the chairman of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) in Thandwe township was arrested in connection with the arson attacks, and five other Rakhine citizens, including two from the Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion were detained. (The RNDP party, known for its anti-Muslim hate speech, saw success in the 2010 election, with many RNDP politicians gaining seats in the Rakhine state parliament. The Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion is an ultra-nationalist NGO with no official registration.)
According to media reports, at the close of his visit to Thandwe, President Thein Sein had specifically ordered Lt. General Min and the regional military commander to get to the root cause of the attacks. Special forces (police) directly sent by the government, and under the command of Min, made the arrests without using the local Thandwe police force, who were only made aware of these raids when the suspects were taken to be locked up at the Thandwe police station.
… It is my feeling that the majority of the people in the area want peace and harmony, but because they live in poverty and are struggling just to make ends meet, they have been afraid to speak out against those ultra-nationalist political officials and racist groups who seem to be getting support from outside the township.
When the Venerable Sayadaw and I arrived in Thandwe — a Buddhist and a Muslim — we were very keen to visit the most affected and damaged area in the township.
The Venerable Sayadaw made the initial request to officials, and they made arrangements for our visit. He promised the villagers of Thapyu Kyain to renovate the existing primary school and build a new medical clinic in the village, but funds are still needed to rebuild the houses in four other villages affected by violence.
We visited the village to give hope to the victims and to find the best way to assist them. It won’t be our last.
“What a beautiful and global example that the Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw has set for us, traveling to Rakhine with Al Haj U Aye Lwin. Next steps include the Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw giving a similar sermon in Yangon, even as he builds hospitals for Rakhine State. To be sure, there is much work to be done. But such leadership is the sine qua non of a safe and sacred space where peace and justice can embrace, while truth and mercy kiss. May we each try to follow it in our respective countries.”—Dr. Chris Seiple, President of the Institute for Global Engagement.
by AL HAJ U AYE LWIN on OCTOBER 1, 2013:
It is indeed an honor for me to participate in this august forum with the aim and vision to comparatively examine the inter-relationships between and among education, religion, and security in the context of co-existence. I would like to thank the Almighty for giving me this opportunity to present a paper on Islamic perspective. My thanks also goes to the organizers the Sitagu International Buddhist Missionary Association and the Institute for Global Engagement.
It is an established fact that Myanmar’s beauty is enhanced because of its unity in diversity. No religion originates from Myanmar and all the ethnics races existing in Myanmar migrated from different parts of the world at different times.
Myanmar which is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious pluralistic society is the shining example of people of different nature co-existing for centuries. Being different is not a crime or a sin. The only thing is we need to manage the difference. Diversity is never a threat on the contrary it is indeed strength. It would be an overstatement if one tries to paint a rosy picture and say that Myanmar never experiences any social disputes amongst its cosmopolitan populace. There were problems, however Myanmar regarded them as individual quarrels, arguments, disagreements or even violent fights. The conflicts were never branded as religious or racial.
With the rapid speed of globalization, the world is getting smaller and shrunk to the size of a village. This process is countered by nationalist movement in different forms and manifestations all over the world and gives rise to ultra nationalist movements. Myanmar is not an exception to this natural phenomenon. There is nothing wrong with protecting ones nation and nationalities against the onslaught of foreign domination. Nevertheless, if the noble spirit of nationalism is translated as hatred towards others, it will certainly breed racism, which is against all the religious teachings of the world and the norms of the civilized world.
The recent disturbances in Myanmar are not Religious Conflict. On the other hand, we have to admit that there are attempts made by anti-social elements with hidden agenda and vested interest to transform the incidents into all out religious conflict. Religion has been hijacked to serve their purpose. Ordinary social disputes that are happening in Myanmar, just like in any other part of the planet earth, where human beings inhabit, are being exploited as religious or communal crisis. We must not let this happen.
The roles of the religious leaders are very crucial in this regards. Therefore, I would like to present some thoughts regarding Religion, Security and Co-existence from Islamic perspective. I would first like to quote some relevant verses from the Holy Quran relating this matter.
Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): (18:29)
Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause (17:33)
if anyone slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.(5:32)
Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate! (41:34)
Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self- restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.(90:17)
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.(2:256)
If it had been thy Lord’s will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! (10:99)
We did aforetime send messengers before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee. It was not (possible) for any messenger to bring a sign except by the leave of Allah: but when the Command of Allah issued, the matter was decided in truth and justice, and there perished, there and then those who stood on Falsehoods.(40:78)
The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus:(42:13)
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. (5:48)
Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.(16:125)
Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. (6:108)
(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. (22:40)
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.(2:190)
If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.(9:6)
But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).(8:61)
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.(5:8)
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do.(4:135)
These teachings are actually applied by the Muslims throughout history.
Caliph Umar and entourage once visited Jerusalem in 638, where they were welcomed by the Christian patriarch, who invited the conquering caliph to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Umar declined the invitation, choosing instead to pray at a rock just across from the church. The patriarch was surprised-and perhaps a bit offended- but Umar was firm in his decision, knowing that if he prayed in Christian church, his followers would do likewise, and eventually the church would become a mosque.
At the start of the twenty-first century, religion is associated by some with intolerance, violence and breeding radicalism: it is regarded in some quarters as the cause for extremism and human rights violations. None of the world’s religions is impervious to fomenting conflict, but Islam has often been singled out as particularly and intrinsically violent. Critics associate it with extreme intolerance and claim that it breeds radicalism. It is easy to see where the criticisms come from : With the combination of late twentieth-century fundamentalist movements, Islamist politics, al-Qaeda radicalism, Iran’s theocracy, and attacks by Islamist groups against civilians across the world, it is impossible to discuss contemporary Islam without referring to the subject of violence.i
The correct meaning of jihad is expounded by Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr, a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown: To wake up in the morning with the name of God on one’s lips, to perform the prayers, to live righteously and justly throughout the day, to be kind and generous to people and even to animals and plants one encounters during the day, to do one’s job well, to take care of one’s family and of one’s own health and well-being- all require jihad… Because Islam does not distinguish between the secular and religious domains, the whole life cycle of a Muslim involves a jihad, so that every component and aspect of it is made to conform to divine norms.ii
Allow me to quote some historical facts from a book “Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism” by Reza Shah Kazemi. Throughout Islamic history, Buddhists- together with Hindus and Zoroastrians, not to mention other religious groups- were regarded by Muslims not as pagans, polytheists, or atheists, but as followers of an authentic religion, and thus to be granted official dhimmi status, that is, they were to be granted official protection by the state authorities : any violation of their religious, social or legal rights was subject to the ‘censure’ (dhimma) of the Muslim authorities, who were charged with the protection of these rights.
It is instructive to glance at the roots of this Muslim appraisal of the religio-juridical status of Buddhism. One of the earliest and most decisive encounters between Islam and Buddhism on the soil of India took place during the short but successful campaign of the young Umayyad general, Muhammad b. Qasim in Sind, launched in 711. During the conquest of this predominantly Buddhist province, he received petitions from the indigenous Buddhist and Hindus in the important city of Brahmanabad regarding the restoration of their temples and the upholding of their religious rights generally. He consulted his superior, the governor of Kufa, Hajjah b. Yusuf, who in turn consulted his religious scholars. The result of these deliberations was the formulation of an official position which was to set a decisive precedent of religious tolerance for the ensuing centuries of Muslim rule in India. Hajjaj wrote to Muhammad b. Qasim a letter which was translated into what became known as the ‘Brahmanabad settlement’.
The request of the chiefs of Brahmanabad about the building of Budh and other temples, and toleration in religious matters, is just and reasonable. I do not see what further rights we can have over them beyond the usual tax. They have paid homage to us and have undertaken to pay the fixed tribute (jizya) to the Caliph. Because they have become dhimms we have no right whatsoever to interfere in their lives and property. Do permit them to follow their own religion. No one should prevent them.
The Arab historian, al-Baladhuri quotes Muhammad b. Qasim’s famous statement made at Alor (Arabised as ‘al-Rur’) a city besieged for a week, and then taken without force, according to strict terms : there was to be no bloodshed, and the Buddhist faith would not be opposed. Muhammad b. Qasim was reported to have said :
The temples [lit. al-Budd, but referring to the temples of the Buddhists and the Hindus, as well as the Jains] shall be treated by us as if they were the churches of the Christians, the synagogues of the Jews, and the fire temples of the Magians. It is thus not suprising to read, in the same historian’s work, that when Muhammad b. Qasim died, ‘The people of India wept at the death of Muhammad, and made an image of him at Kiraj.iii
The same historical point is mentioned in ‘The Decline of Buddhism in India’ by K.T.S. Sarao: Communalization and distortion of Indian history began with the administrator-historians of the British Raj many of whom had a hidden agenda. In order to legitimize their colonial rule and to win the allegiance of the Indians, they tried to show that their policies were more humane than the previous “Muslim” rulers. Working with such an agenda as a guideline, temples in ruins were shown as having been demolished by Muslim fanatics and missing treasures or statues as either having been looted by Muslim raiders or as having been hidden by the Hindus and Buddhists for fear of Muslim aids. Even when a Muslim ruler gave permission for the repair of a temple, it was explained away as having been earlier destroyed by Muslim armies.iv
Considering the above scriptural and historical facts one can easily realize that Religion is a solution and not part of the problem facing our world today.
With that note I would like to conclude my presentation. May Peace be upon you all.