Does Hindutva promote hate-or does Islam?

Assessing Divya Reddy’s essayon Shashi Tharoor in the book ‘Ten Heads of Ravana.’


Rajiv Malhotra, who has long been sailing steadfastly against the comfortable leftist groupthink of ourputative intellectual class has now mentored a team who has taken aim at the worksof 10 most prominent Left-oriented contemporary historians and scholars ofancient India with a collection of essays critiquing them in Ten Heads of Ravana: A Critique of Hinduphobic Scholars’[1] edited by  by him along with Divya Reddy.  

One among the ten is Shashi Tharoor, whose work is meticulously examined and found wanting by Divya Reddy who faults his brand of ‘anything goes Hinduism and exposes his hatred for Hindutva. I would like to further add to Divya Reddy’s rebuttal in the ‘Ten Heads of Ravana.’

Among Tharoor’s numerous books assessed in the essay is his ‘Why I am a Hindu’ in which he accuses the followers of Hindutva as ‘purveyors of hatred.’  Implied in this accusation is that Islam (or Islamism) is innocent of this charge.

As this is a grave and standard charge of the ‘secular parties’ in India against Hindutva, at the outset, I unequivocally condemn all hatred and criminal acts against Muslims when committed by Hindus and call for them to be held accountable to the full extent of the law. Naturally, I also believe that the same standard needs to be applied when the roles are reversed.

But nevertheless the charge raises the question: is it true that Hindutva purveys hate?

Since Indian history is contested which Dr.Tharoor calls ‘ground zero’, the only valid methodological response isto quit India and examine if we can learn anything from how Islam has acted outside India. After all, there is only one Islam with one doctrine.  According to Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan[2] ‘The word Islam is uninflected, it is only Islam.’ when he disagreed with the concept of a ‘moderate Islam’ as it implied its logical opposite: ‘immoderate Islam.’  Consequently, by observing Islam’s actions outside India, we are better positioned to reach objective conclusions about it at home.  

The United Nations(UN) states that criticism of the ideas of Islam is not Islamophobia.


As discussions about Islam are a fraught subject, it is pertinent that Ahmed Shaheed, (a Muslim) a former foreign minister of the Maldives, and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, stated before the UN Human Rights Council that ‘criticism of the ideas, leaders, symbols or practices of Islam’[3] is not in of itself Islamophobia, and that "international human rights law protects individuals, not religions.”  


Keeping this in mind, let’s examine what light Muslim sources and UN documents throw on the subject.  


An Islamic scholar from the world’s largest Muslim country has warned us about the enmity that Islamic tradition requires from Muslims towards non-Muslims.  


In a 2017 interview to TIME magazine by Yahya Cholil Staquf,[4]the general secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama, which is Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization in the country which has the largest Muslim population in the world, he said:


Within the classical [Islamic] tradition, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is assumed to be one of segregation and enmity” and “the extent that Muslims adhere to this view of Islam, it renders them incapable of living harmoniously and peacefully within the multi-cultural, multi-religious societies of the 21st century. [emphasis added]  


Evidencef rom United Nations documents shows relentless attacks by Islamic terrorists.

The United Nations said that more than 30 people had been killed[5] in new killings attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group affiliated with the Islamic State group, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on April 2 and 3 [2023]

The UN condemned in the strongest terms "these new massacres and "deplores these despicable attacks against the civilian population" "The ADF are originally predominantly Muslim Ugandan rebels who have been operating since the mid-1990s in eastern DRC, where they are accused of massacring thousands of civilians.  

Evidence from United Nations documents shows how Islam is forced upon non-Muslims.


The  UN investigation on the systematic crimes of genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq[6] entitled ‘They came to destroy’ overseen by a British lawyer, Karim Khan, QC, (a Muslim)records how ISIS fighters gave a string of Yazidi villages the clear ultimatum to “convert or die ”followed by brutal killings. These, wrote Karim Khan, had “shocked the conscience of humanity and chilled the soul.”


In 2018,a group of experts wrote as follows in their report to the Security Council [7]on the massacre of 26 civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:  


They [the attackers] also recorded information about each person, including their name and religion. They asked them why they had not converted to Islam and showed the Qur’an to one of them…Photos of the dead show that they had been bound and some had been tied together. After the killings, they shot in the air twice, saying that they had killed all the “kafir” (“infidels” in Arabic).


At this point, Dr. Tharoor may pause and ponder on the link between the threat to convert or die that surfaced in countries thousands of miles away from each other and in Kashmir, where the same offer of ‘Raliv,Tsaliv ya Galiv’ was made to the hapless Kashmiri Hindus.  


A journalistic exposé of al-Azhar University show edit was teaching Muslims to cannibalize non-Muslims.


Al-Azhar University is the world’s most prestigious university for Islamic learning. The Middle East Forum [8] drew its readers’ attention to a 2015 report in an Egyptian newspaper called  El-Youm el-Sabi, that had published [9]an investigative report about the curriculum at al-Azhar University. According to the report, one of the books, called al-Iqn'a fi Hal Alfaz ibn Abi Shoga'a (Convincing arguments according to Abi Shoga'a), taught to al-Azhar's high school students states,


Any Muslim can kill an apostate and eat him, as well kill infidel warriors even if they are young or female and they can also be eaten, because they are not granted any protection.


Ex-Muslims tell us in no uncertain terms that Islam requires Muslims to hate non-Muslims.  


Next, let’s turn to one source that cannot be accused of Islamophobia: Ex-Muslims.


I suggest Dr. Tharoor read  ‘Infidel’[10] by Ayan Hirsi Ali, a Somali ex-Muslim, go on to  ‘A God Who Hates’[11] by the Syrian Wafa Sultan whose book is subtitled,  ‘The courageous woman who inflamed the Muslim world speaks out against the evils of Islam.’ Also recommended is ‘Unveiled’ by Yasmine Mohammed,[12]a Canadian of Egyptian descent. These courageous women provide alarming personal accounts of the hatred drummed into them since childhood towards non-Muslims merely because they were non-Muslims.


Also relevant are ‘Why I am not a Muslim’[13] and ‘The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology’ by the ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq, (who has roots in India). Warraq believes “there are many things to be criticized in Islam” including its “attitude toward sun believers’ and “there is something immanent in Islam that engenders radicals willing to kill and be killed in the name of Allah” and “this religion cannot be reformed to make it less violent.”

Then there is the Bosnian ex-Muslim, Bosch Fawstin, who wrote ‘My Name is Bosch and I’m a Recovered Muslim’. In his view, “there is nothing in Islam that stays the hand of Muslims who want to kill non-Muslims’ and asserts that 9⁄11 “was an act of faith.” Anwar Shaikh in his book ‘Islam, The Arab Nationalism’[14] writes:

Islam has divided humankind into two perpetually hostilegroups i.e. the Muslims and the non-Muslims…The Muslims must force the infidelsto embrace Islam, using any means including murder, rape, loot, arson,deception, and treason […] Islamic ideology[…]is based on intense hatred of the non- Muslims.

Another Muslim, Hamed Abdel-Samad, author of ‘Islamic Fascism’ writes, that Islam brooks no dissenting opinion and [is] hungry for world domination. (Emphasis added)

A Coptic Egyptian and an expert on Islam, Raymond Ibrahim has been chronicling the Muslim persecution of Christians monthly since 2011.[15]

Muslim countries clamping down on teaching Qur’anicverses proves their inherent danger.


Saudi Arabia towers above all Muslim countries as its rulers are the custodians of Islam’s holiest shrine.  If there is one country in the world that knows the nature of Islamic doctrine, it is Saudi Arabia. In 2022, the country reduced the hours devoted to religious studies with the stated rational of ‘combating the extremists […]to cultivate generations of Saudis who will be less extremist.’[16]


In 2021, Egypt’s parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee discussed a plan to remove Quranic verses[17] from the general curriculum and limit them to religious courses, to fight extremism.  In July 2014, in his speech during celebrations for Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of the Muslim month of Ramadan, in Cairo , Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said,[18]“There are those killing us, and unfortunately they are among those who recite the Holy Quran.”


There is a worldwide pattern of Islamic attacks against non-Muslims.

Christian churches in Cyprus[19] have been destroyed; the Bamiyan Buddha was bombed because it was a ‘pious deed’ to demolish idols; the number of Christians in Lebanon has declined [20]precipitously with a similar situation in Iraq where they have decreased by 80 per cent[21] from2003 to 2023; Jews have been the targets of ethnic cleansing[22] in the Middle East; Sikhs[23] and Hindus have been cleansed from Afghanistan and an All Parliamentary Group of MPs from the UK has written are port[24] entitled Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide?  Pakistani gangs have been explicitly identified by the British government[25] as the source of sexual abuse of white British, Sikh and Hindu girls, who fell victim to a ‘form of religiously and racially motivated hatred towards non-Muslims.”


If this is not a global pattern of Islamic aggression against non-Muslims, I don’t know what is.


Even the newly established country of the United States faced aggression because of Islamic doctrine.

What we see today is nothing new. In 1786, the freshly minted country of United States faced a hostage situation.  The Barbary (Muslim) pirates based in present day Algeria, had seized 115 American sailors, and demanded a tribute of $ 1million. The Confederation government sent Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to negotiate to prevent future hostilities. In Tripoli, they asked ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman the reasoning for the pirates’ hostile action. Abdrahaman[26] replied,

It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave and that and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.

Several verses in the Qur’an advocate hatred and in human treatment of non-Muslims.  

The doctrine of Loyalty and disavowal (al-wala’ wa’l-bara’)[27] requires Muslims to hate non-Muslims.  An Islamic website [28]explains, ‘what it means is hating them [infidels] in your heart and regarding them as enemies in your heart, and not taking them as friends.’

One needs to read the Qur’an which claims itself to be a clear book in Sura 11.1, 6:114, 16:89 and 41:3. Qur’an60:4[29] prescribes:  

You [Muslims] have a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, for they said to their people, ‘We disown you and the idols which you worship besides Allah. We renounce you.  Enmity and hate shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone’.


Quran verse 4.56[30] tells us of Allah’s intentions towards non-Muslims:


We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skinsare roasted through, We will replace them with other skins so they may tastethe punishment.


 Qur’an verse 5: 51[31] tell Muslims,

“do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them.’


Quran 8: 12 prescribes where Muslims should strike non-Muslims.[32]


I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.’


The usual Muslim defence is that these verses are being quoted ‘out of context’ or ‘misinterpreted.’ This is an untenable argument, as they are being quoted by terrorists to justify their actions. Furthermore, if these verses were indeed so ambiguous to be susceptible to ‘misinterpretation’, then how does one explain they continue to inspire thousands of Muslims around the world to join in violent Jihad? For Muslims, the ‘peaceful’ verses of the Qur’an require no ‘context’ or ‘interpretation’ and must be taken at face value, but the violent ones cannot be. This is clearly a self-serving argument.


Islamic think tanks have stated that Muslims cannot be loyal to their countries.


A 1989 document from the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), based in Virginia, USA stated[33] that "ultimate loyalty to the nation-state is both impossible and blasphemous" for Muslims.


With this global backdrop, let’s now turn to India.


The same strain of Islamic doctrinal enmity towards Hindus is at work in India today.


There is a build-up of kinetic threats against India, suffused with hatred.  Consider:


·        All the terror attacks that have ravagedthe country. A terror attack is nothing but hate speech with bullets.

·        A court frames charges against two Muslims who plotted to set off nuclear bomb[34] in a town after evacuating Muslims from Surat.  

·        In West Bengal, there is a massive seizure of 27,000 kg of ammonium nitrate (an explosive),[35]   31,625 kg of gelatin sticks and 81,000detonators. One Merazuddin Ali Khan and Mohammed Nuruzzaman are among the arrested.   These explosives were enough to level a city demonstrating, war-level jihad preparations against India are proceeding underground. 

·        A detailed plan is drawn up to make India Islamic by 2047,[36] to subjugate the majority community, using violence, infiltration, with the help of external forces  as ‘political power was ‘unjustly taken away by the British Raj from the Muslim community.’ There is utter silence from the entire Indian Muslim community to these revelations. If one uses the oft-brandished yard stick against PM Modi that ‘silence is consent’, it is difficult not to come away with the impression that virtually all Indian Muslims approve of our planned subjugation under planned Islamic rule.


·        Murderous threats of Sar Tan Se Juda are made, and implemented and prominent politician’s life is upended forever.


·        A Muslim leader issues a public threat[37] of Muslims thoroughly beating the numerically far superior Hindus ‘if the police is removed for 15 minutes.’ The crowd goes wild, clearly relishing the idea.


·        A court frames charges against a Muslim leader saying he instigated a mob to teach Kafirs a lesson.[38]


·        A Maulana from the All India Imam Association threatens to demolish the Ram Mandir [39]and rebuild the disputed structure.  


But such kinetic threats are only part of the problem.


Culturally,Islam hates any aspect of Hinduism that can taint Muslims.  


Such is the doctrinal Islamic contempt for Hinduism that the mere expression by some Muslims, doubtless inspired by India’s tolerant ethos (which Dr. Tharoor rightly praises), in personally observing some or the other aspect of Hindureligious festivals, is enough to spur Muslims to start viciously attacking errantMuslims. For example:


·        Muslim Instagram users attack actress Hina Khan [40]with filthy comments over her attire, with a Muslim woman commenting that Khan’s “Umrah”won’t be valid because she lives with Hindus. Another tells her not to playHoli as it is against Qur’an with colours a big Haram as per Islam. [41]with filthy comments over her attire, with a Muslim woman commenting that Khan’s “Umrah”won’t be valid because she lives with Hindus. Another tells her not to playHoli as it is against Qur’an with colours a big Haram as per Islam.


·        Sara Ali Khan is trolled for worshipping Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri [42]with her comments section flooded with derogatory comments that called her out as being an “improper Muslim" and “unworthy of having a Muslim name.’


·        Fanatical Indian Muslims, with Pakistani flags on their social media, outraged by vocalex-Muslims’ YouTube channels, phone in to inform ex-Muslims boasting of mini-Pakistans in India.


·        Asra Nomani, a Muslim reformer based in the US[42] warns of US based Islamist groups who want to embed Islamism to “in the minds of one of the largest Muslim populations in the world” in India.


But what about the idyllic, integrated world of Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb we are constantly reminded of?


Cultural synthesis between Islam and Hinduism has left Islamic doctrine of hate and supremacy unaffected.

The effect of the mélange in cuisine, architecture, language, dress, and the arts has been grossly exaggerated as it has not modified Islam’s core doctrine of hate.  If indeed such admixture had served to bring the communities together, the partition would not have happened.  

The most devastating legacy of the introduction of Islam in India was the import and implantation of the doctrine of hate that did not exist in India prior to its arrival.


Literally every aspect of Hindu-Muslim interaction in India has been influenced by this doctrine, which has varied in its application, modified as it was imperfectly implemented by Muslim rulers because of political necessity, ignored because of real-politik, because of the sheer impossibility of slaughtering millions of Hindus or the impracticality of living one’s life only based on hate.


This doctrine reached its zenith with the creation of Pakistan, which Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, a Sweden-based Pakistani academic considers being established on a  ‘foundation of hatred[43]and their orientation toward India is also hatred.” After its creation, the same doctrine led to the decimation of Hindus in Pakistan, with their plight compelling the UN experts to urge action[44] by the Pakistani authorities on coerced religious conversions, forced and child marriage. Hindus are also on their way to extinction in Bangladesh. In 2022, Professor Prof Abul Barkat of Dhaka University,[45] said, ‘In 30 years, there would be no Hindus in Bangladesh’ as ‘Hindus- are leaving’ under ‘vandalism and killing almost every day.’ The same doctrine was at work behind the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Kashmir, all done with the backdrop of deafening silence from Indian Muslims.


Did our tallest leaders have any inkling about this doctrine? Yes, they did.


Gandhi, the staunchest defender of Muslims, knew the mindset Islam fosters in Muslims as did Dr. Ambedkar.


"Even if the Muslims want to kill us [Hindus] all we should face death bravely. If they established their rule after killing Hindus, we would be ushering in a new world by sacrificing our lives,” said Gandhi.  


A part from establishing that Gandhi is the only undisputed historical giant of a leader gripped by a megalomaniacal delusion on how his version of non-violence could be all-conquering, and seriously think the way to a new world was to encourage millions of his followers to offer themselves for passive slaughter, one must ask: what gave him the idea that Muslims would even want to kill all Hindus?  Gandhi knew, he just could not say it: Islamic doctrine.


One Indian leader who had a clear-eyed view of Islam was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: ‘To Muslims of India, a Hindu is a Kaffir and therefore, undeserving of respect and equal treatment.’


How to react to Islam’s doctrine of hatred remains Hindus’ and India’s deepest security, political, and cultural challenge.


Hinduism has faced and continues to face the most perplexing of questions: how to respond to Islam?  At one time or the other, Hindus have tried everything: ignoring it, internal reform, petrification and regression, compromise, surrender, resistance and developing a full-blown case of the Stockholm syndrome that grips our permanent ruling class today.  Nothing has worked, not even Partition.  The gulf between Hindus and Muslims remains as wide as ever.


India, especially Hindus, have never asked, much less answered this question. If this question is asked it will have to consider that Islam is not only a personal or private religion that seeks to guide a seeker to the divine, but rather a faith with huge earthly ambitions both for itself and those outside it.  It is, as memorably voiced by a character in Naguib Mahfouz’s famous Cairo Trilogy: “Islam is a creed, a way of worship, a nation, and a nationality, a religion, a state, a form of spirituality, a Holy Book and as word.”  


A statistical analysis[46] shows 64% of the Koran deals with Kafirs (non-Muslims),not Muslims and 24% of the Koran written in Medina is about jihad. As anon-Muslim you may not be interested in Islam, but Islam is obsessed about you—certainly not as your benefactor.  


Any response to this doctrine of hate, subjugation and supremacy must begin by relentlessly exposing it.


If India is to survive intact, we must focus on the root cause. Consequently, the only way is for Hindus to understand this doctrine and leave no opportunity to focus logically and peacefully on it without hatred, and yet demand answers from Indian Muslims while furnishing them the mountains of evidence that exists from around the world of this doctrine in practise. They must be asked to renounce it immediately and unconditionally.  Such questioning should be directed at Muslim religious leaders and Muslim intellectuals.


Have no doubt this will arouse the most unimaginable fury and accusations of –what else? -Islamophobia. Even threats and violence cannot be ruled out, but this is the surest indication that the path of truth and courage is being followed.  The growing ex-Muslim movement in India and abroad[47] must be made an integral part of such questioning and indeed, their briefings should form an essential part of training of our civil servants and security establishment. Ex-Muslims with channels such as Ex-Muslim Sahil[48] are insiders who know best.


To circle back to our initial question: Is Dr. Tharoor right when he accuses Hindutva of being a purveyor of hatred? All the evidence above from around the world, the clear command of Islamic doctrine shows he’s wrong by 180 degrees. The origin of religious hate and supremacism in India was and remains Islamic doctrine.  Hindutva is nothing but are action to centuries of unrepentant provocation and aggression.  


Dr. Tharoor’s motives for writing this book are clear: to curry electoral favour with Islamic community by handing them a carte blanche for all their historical misdeeds and to transfer the blame and hatred on to a section of Hindus, who just happen to be more aware of their painful past, the perils of the future and less inclined to go quietly into the night. For such Hindus, who Tharoor arrogantly banishes outside the pale of his ‘definition’ of Hinduism, they have no right to examine their history and its wounds, and even dare to think of exercising that first and irrevocable law of nature: the right of self-defence.


I would like to applaud the Infinity Foundation team for their telling exposé of Shashi Tharoor and the likes. ‘Ten Heads of Ravana’ was an eye-opener that propelled me to dig deeper where I found illogical theories and the unsurmountable issues that raise in the works of the famous contemporary scholar and political leader Shashi Tharoor.  


Let the final verdict, however, come from Dr. Tharoor who writes that when Islam came to India: “It had contempt for its pluralist doctrines and coveted its treasures.” This is as true of Islam in India today as it was then.  

8. 9.

Author’s Bio

Mr. Rahul Sur is a former IPS officer and a former United Nations (UN) official with a 40-year track record of effective service at the national and international level. In the UN, Mr. Sur served in the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in its Headquarters and field locations. He served as the Chief of Conduct and Discipline in the Office of the Special-Representative of the Secretary-General (OSRSG) in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

He also established the first field investigation presence of OIOS in Timor-Leste after the country’s independence referendum in 1999. He is an expert at various facets of the UN’s functioning and is widely traveled in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. He retired from the UN in 2021.