July 13, 2006
The Guardian

Muslims and Hindus Unite in Backlash Against Terrorists Who Bombed Mumbai

by Justin Huggler

The message was scrawled in chalk on a brick wall in a slum outside Bandra station, just 50 metres from where the first bomb went off in a packed commuter train on Tuesday. "We condemn the ones who did a terrorist bomb here," it said in English. "The culprits should be hanged to death."

It was a message from the wrong side of the tracks. As the death toll from the Mumbai bombings was confirmed at more than 200 yesterday, suspicions about who was responsible centred on Islamic militants. The simple message chalked on the wall was the heartfelt response from a dirt-poor Muslim suburb of Mumbai where the people had watched in horror as the bomb went off and immediately rushed to help the injured.

The Mumbai bombings were more than just an attack on the India's financial capital. It is no coincidence that India has already started referring to the attacks as 7/11. Mumbai is India's New York, a city that, more than any other, defines the Indian dream. Every day, hundreds of migrants from the villages and rural hinterland arrive in Mumbai, hoping to make it big. The city has communities from every corner of India; every caste, every ethnic group, every religion is represented.

But it is also a city that has been riven by the Hindu-Muslim tensions that have haunted India over the past 15 years, with a history of riots, and bombings blamed on Muslim extremists. Whoever was behind the bombings appears to be trying to exploit those tensions. But this time, there have been extraordinary scenes as Mumbai's Muslims have come out in defiance to defend the unity of the city. Muslims queued for hours to give blood for Hindus injured in the bombings. Even the leaders of the hardline Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena, a party rarely given to praising Muslims, said they were "overwhelmed" by the reaction. . . .


Luke Harding, "Heart of Darkness," Guardian, September 15, 2003

Somini Sengupta, "Bombs aimed at India's well-off," New York Times, July 12, 2006

Rajnish Sharma and Abhishek Sharan, "Pak's ISI masterminded 11/7, says intelligence," Hindustan Times, July 13, 2006

[In the Muslim world, Islamism is "objectively progressive", to use Marxist idiom. It is in the vanguard of reform and change; it argues for human rights and democracy. But the issues in the Indian context are primarily of the accommodation of Muslim community's interests in the national life and the preservation of space for maintaining the community's profound cultural identity.

India's political system based on democratic pluralism theoretically provides space for all ethnic groups and sub-nationalities. But, in actuality, there have been severe deficiencies in the way it functions.

. . . New Delhi should guard against the almost inevitable temptation to view the violence in Mumbai through the prism of the "war on terror".--M K Bhadrakumar, "The roots of Muslim anger in India," Asia Times, July 15, 2006]

[Nor did the First Lord of the War against Terror underline a far more crucial feature that the U.S. and India have in common: a marked propensity for creating and sustaining enemies, through the exercise of policies that are so misguided as to be suicidal. . . .

To spell out the scenario in the simplest terms: the more closely we ally ourselves to the U.S. and participate in its schemes for global domination in the 21st century, the more vulnerable we will be to attacks from its key adversaries, namely, the forces of Salafism, otherwise described as global jihad or, more loosely, Al Qaeda.--Ranjit Hoskote, "The price of exclusion," Hindu, December 31, 2006]

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