Bowing before false gods
Posted on March 22nd, 2015

By Afshain Afzal

The USA claims to be champion of interfaith harmony and free speech. However, this month, at the floor of US’s Senate, the religion professed by world largest democracy was challenged, humiliated and insulted. Hinduism has been attacked in US but there are no words of apology from Washington. In the incident, three US’ Senators; Steve Vick, Sheryl Nuxoll and Lori Den Hartog claimed that Hindus have false gods. As per the details, when Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed recited prayers for the state Senate’s 3 March 2015 session in Boise, these three Senator boycotted the invocation and Sheryl Nuxoll said that she believed the US is a Christian nation and Hindu is a false faith with false gods. Other senators also expressed their unhappiness with the decision to open the session with the first Hindu prayer ever heard on the floor of the state Senate.

In past Islam and the Muslims were targeted for over a decade and a half but nobody dare to raise the issue of hate speech with Washington. The Muslims in US and other Western countries tolerated the humiliation and rather gave clarifications about their religion and belief. The US constitution seems to be secular and prohibits the establishment of official religion. However, there are good numbers of people who believe that   the US Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian principles. The question arises is US is a Christian nation based on Christian principles or it is a Jewish state? Rabbi Daniel Fink of Boise’s Jewish Congregation Ahavatah Beth Israel organised the letter campaign through the Idaho Interfaith Equality Coalition but Senator Sheryl Nuxoll refused to render an apology and said that she is not going to be praying to false gods.

The US talk much about interfaith harmony and have spent billions of dollars in converting followers of other religions be tolerant to the teachings of other faiths but they themselves do not follow it themselves. We have the sermons from the Roman Catholic Church as well as Pope Francis for interfaith harmony but it seems that they should teach the same principles to their own followers. Despite the fact that there are about three million Hindus in US, the treatment of Hindus in US is that of third grade citizens. Although, other religions, with the exception of Christians and Jew, also face difficulty but Hindu are usually unnecessarily targeted. The recent incident at Idaho State Senate indicates that hardliners and fundamentalists do exist in US.

Hindus of US and India are excited that it was first Hindu prayer ever heard on the floor of the state Senate. However, the humiliation of Hindus in US and around the world is irreparable. Reacting to the statements of American Senators, denouncing a Hindu prayer in the Idaho Senate, Hindu American Foundation (HAF) wrote a letter to Idaho Senator Steve Vick to publically apologize. He also gave clarification about Hinduism, The caste system is a social construct which exists in most South Asian religious communities, including Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and others. Nor is the caste system unique to South Asia, as caste structures can be found in Japan, Indonesia, Africa, and Europe”. To put the record correct, HAF statement is misleading as in Islam there is no caste system and no one has superiority over other due to colour, caste, race or social status.

The American Senators, who boycotted Hindu prayers had right to do so but they could have used better phrase that might not had injured the sentiments of the Hindus. One wonders how would a Christian, Jew or a Muslim feel if the same was said about their God. In the Holy Quran, Muslims have been forbidden to criticize others gods as others might criticize the Almighty Allah. Similarly Quran give full protection of the worship places of the other religions. It would be interesting to note that in Pakistan, although the state religion is Islam and Muslims have been guaranteed to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah but minorities have been given complete freedom. In the Constitution of Pakistan there are provisions for the minorities to   profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures. The point to stress remains that no one can force others to bow before false gods but we need to be tolerant and respect others’ religious beliefs. [email protected]

 

One Response to “Bowing before false gods”

  1. Leela Says:

    Afshain, I have read the koran and some Hadith. all I can see is the Koran contradicts its standing from situation to situation. Needless to say then the Koran blows hot and cold on various matters to fit in to situations. And that’s why extremism and so many killings are associated with Islam

    You say “In the Holy Quran, Muslims have been forbidden to criticize others gods as others might criticize the Almighty Allah.” Are you sure Mr Afshain? Had not Muhammad directed his followers to destroy Meccan’s idols in 624 after his ruthless fights at Badr?

    “…. Similarly Quran give full protection of the worship places of the other religions.” Not true: And that’s why Koran 9:29 says, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day ….” All
    “It would be interesting to note that in Pakistan, although the state religion is Islam and Muslims have been guaranteed to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah but minorities have been given complete freedom.” This statement is nothing but gibberish. Just read news emanating from that country.

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