Muslims -- not a "problem"

Anand Venkt Raman A.Raman at
Tue Dec 12 21:05:18 UTC 1995

Gary M Tartakov <tart at> writes:

>point I was trying to make is that those who have converted to Islam 
>have by and large done so because it satisfied their spiritual 
>understanding and that those who are Islamic by birth are their 
>descendants, not some sort of foreign element in the Indian population
>or people converted through some spurious desire for material or 
>political benefits or, in particular, by force of the Muslim invaders 
>who did so much to bring the Islamic faith into India.

I'm not at all sure with how much conviction one could make the above
point. That Indian muslims or their ancestors converted to Islam
voluntarily because of their spiritual needs and not through coercion
is a popular view among muslims.  I did at one stage try to read up on
this subject to find just how true it could be and I couldn't find any
evidence to back this claim up.  On the other hand I did find several
instances of forced conversion in the literature.  Note for example,
even the persecution and massacre of "New muslims" (recent converts)
by Mohammed Thuglaq because of his suspicion that they were feigning
faith. This is documented by Ibn Bhatua, for example.

Given a choice between torture and conversion, I doubt if many among
us would choose the former.  We may even do so superficially, while
retaining our deepest beliefs.  However, our children who grow up in
this new faith will adopt it as their basic belief, a fact that is
cunningly employed by missionary rulers.  This seems a much more
plausible (to me) explanation of what could have happened.

- &
Anand Venkt Raman                 Ph: +64-6-350-4186, 355-0062 (a/h)
Dept of Computer Science          Fx: +64-6-350-5611

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