The notion of human rights advocacy becoming a "cottage industry" is growing in the twenty-first century.
Human rights advocacy has become a small-scale, often self-serving, and less effective endeavour, especially if it is spearheaded by Islamists, with Islamic symbolism, Islamic sloganeering, and Muslim religious motifs.
Such social justice movements, called 'woke politics' nowadays, ought to be rejected because they inevitably mean advocacy for an Islamic state.
Activists of Muslim heritage are trying to impose Sharia law, which will subjugate women, free speech, and critical thinking on the back of the concept of blasphemy.
This situation ironically leads to a violation of an individual's right to think, read, and act for themselves, and ends up marginalising said individual.
Activists of other heritage who, due to good intentions, get involved and adopt the methodology, strategy, symbolism, motifs, and slogans do not realise that Islamists, whether closet or open, want the total annihilation of non-Muslims.
Take the example of India’s independence struggle against imperial Britain, which quickly developed into calls for an Islamic state — eventually materialising in West and East Pakistan (the latter is now Bangladesh).
Even the Palestinian cause, according to scholars of West Asian geopolitics, started as a secular struggle for the recognition of Palestinian rights to a state, but what it became in the hands of the Islamist Hamas is for all to see since 7 October.
Tarek Fatah in his book Chasing the Mirage describes the admiration of his peers and himself for Leila Khalid, the Palestinian woman who in 1969 hijacked a Trans World Airlines plane to Damascus.
The boyish admiration for a hijacker turned to disgust when he learned about the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, for whom secular Palestinians were more of a threat than the Israelis.
Fatah writes: "One could never have imagined then that the most secular, educated and enlightened people of the Arab world would fall victim to the allure of radical Muslims like Syed Qutb and Hassan al-Banna… forty years would transform the Palestinian cause to an international cause of Islam. The Islamists turned it into a war to wipe out the Jews."
Fatah attests that there was never even a hint of antisemitism among the progressive and secular Palestinians.
The exchange students in Pakistan on university campus would be horrified seeing "the strength of the Pakistani Islamists groups" and their strong-arm tactics, and the bullying methods of the Jamaat-e-Islami toughs, expressing surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood were a fringe element in the West bank and Jordan.
It is similar to what happened in Kashmir in the last century. The silk factory workers in Srinagar went on strike in 1924 to demand better working conditions.
These protests were part of a larger wave of discontent and resistance against the Maharaja's government during that time, not limited to silk factory workers.
There was also mobilisation against the autocratic rule of Maharaja Hari Singh in 1931. Widespread agitation took off throughout the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which quickly developed into a communal riot with the homes and shops of Kashmiri Pandits targeted, and their existence threatened in the Valley.
The protests took on the now-familiar Islamist hues and spilled over into the growing political consciousness of Kashmiri nationalism.
Decades later, this aspect would be exploited by various Muslim politicians, confounding the Kashmiri identity and ethnicity, sowing doubts of the connection with mainland India with a full-blown armed insurgency in the 1990s.
This resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and secular Muslims from the Valley due to a terror pogrom by Islamists, supported by the left-leaning liberals of Hindu heritage in the national capital region and India's largest Communist Party cadres.
The radicalisation of the Valley in 1989 started with the diktat to close beauty parlours, shut down cinema halls, prohibit wine shops, and impose mandatory veiling (hijab/niqab/burqa) over the female population.
The Islamist terrorists went so far as to ask non-Muslims to wear distinguishable marks of religious identity, such as the bindi or the kada for Sikhs, to be able to be distinguished from their compatriots.
This hijacking of social justice movements for betterment of the marginalised and discriminated is not new.
The much-documented, written-about, filmed, and cinematically portrayed Iranian Revolution of 1979 also started with the left-leaning liberals of Iran disillusioned with the Shah, and denouncing him as a stooge of the West, inviting the hardliner Khomeini to establish an Islamic regime.
This has been described by Marjane Satrapi in her bestselling graphic novel, now-movie, Persepolis. Hijacking of any struggle or resistance with Islamic motifs, slogans, or symbols should raise red flags, even if the theme of the march or rally or protest is seemingly for human rights, self-determination, or a “humanitarian truce.”
Two days ago, Khaled Mashal, a leader of the Hamas terrorist group, participated virtually in a rally in Kerala's Malappuram, sparking controversy. The Solidarity Youth Movement, a youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, had organised the rally.
The Indian Union Muslim League rally in Kozhikode was accused of being "pro-Hamas," and anti-national slogans were alleged to have been raised during the event.
Several politicians expressed concerns about the Hamas leader's virtual participation in a pro-Palestine rally in Kerala.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) particularly expressed the concern that the conflict was being used to fuel communal tensions in Kerala. They condemned Mashal's virtual address at the rally and questioned Kerala police's inaction.
As the world grows more aware of the corruption of liberals towards illiberalism and the influence of Marxist ideology in academia, media, the judiciary, and institutions, its partnership with Islamists, called the ‘Red-Green Alliance’ by journalist, author, and Muslim reformer Asra Nomani, is essential to study.
It is important that a people's struggle or the aspirations of a peaceful, rational people are separated from the nihilistic, totalitarian aim of both the left-liberals and Islamists.
The average Palestinians, Arabs, Syrians, Yeminis, Iranians, Turks, Pakistanis, Afghans, and Kashmiris want to live peaceful, stable lives, with upward social mobility, education for their children, and good ties with neighbours, be it in their towns and cities or between countries.
It's almost always the Salafis, the Wahhabis, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Hizbul Mujahideen, the Boko Haram, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Al-Qaeda, and the Hamas who hijack their aspirations and colour them up into another movement for an Islamic Caliphate.
The world would do well to remember that.
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