No one cares where is Meerut, even though it was the birthplace of the movement for independence in India. No one knows where Hashimpura is, even though it was named after the chief of the clan of Prophet Muhammad and nobody cares what happened in this mainly Muslim pocket of the town.
It was here that a massacre took place on 22 May 1987. Some 19 personnel of the Indian army known as Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) allegedly rounded up 42 Muslim youth from Hashimpura took them in truck to the outskirts, near Muradnagar in Ghaziabad District, where they were shot and their bodies were dumped in water canals. A few days later the dead bodies were found floating in the canals. In May 2000, 16 of the 19 accused surrendered, and were later released on bail, while 3 were already dead. The court gave its verdict in March absolving all the accused.
Dead bodies do not speak and the court wanted evidence. A few who survived testified but the court refused to give any credence to their testimony because the night was too dark. The names of the officers who were abducted the youth and shot them were known, yet the court refused to indict them.
There is nothing new in this story. It happens in our world almost every day. Innocents are killed, sometimes by criminals, sometimes by people and sometimes by law enforcement agencies and justice is denied to the victims. What is shocking is the apathy that the world, including the Muslim world, has shown to this tragedy.
Nowhere in the Muslim world, a single voice emerged condemning this injustice and demanding fairness for the victims. None of the Muslim states sought an explanation from the government of India of this betrayal. None even brought it up to the ambassadors of India in their country. Those who are speaking up against this injustice are Hindus in the media or India’s secular political parties.
No Muslim human rights organization spoke on the issue. They did not care even to know the story. The most painful silence came from Muslim American organizations who always expect Muslims of the world to stand for Syrian refugees, for Palestinians or for Iraqis, yet when Muslims of India, Burma, or China are killed or denied justice, they even fail to acknowledge it. No one issued a call for even writing a letter to the ambassador of India protesting this injustice.
The same silence was present when Gujarat massacres took place as well as when in 1992, the Babari Masjid in India was demolished. Not many Muslim American organizations took up any of these incidents. Yet, these are organizations that would leave no stone unturned in highlighting the plight of Syrian, Iraqis or Palestinian refugees.
Injustice does not have an ethnic tag. Murder of a human being, no matter what the background is, is always a murder. But when it comes to the injustices meted out to non-Arabs especially Indians or Burmese or Bangladeshis or Pakistanis or even Chinese, the Arab world and Arab leaders led Muslim organizations remain silent as if the life of non-Arabs does not count. While they expect Muslim of Indo-Pak and Bangladesh subcontinent to donate generously for the causes of Muslim Arabs, they show indifference to non-Arab issues.
This is an inbuilt racism in the Muslim society. There is no ummah. The issue of ummah and solidarity with ummah is raised only when Arab lives and rights, in general, are involved. It is clear that the Arab leadership whether in the Middle East or in Muslim organizations in the Western World is not sensitive to the problems of Muslims of other places. There is hardly any attempt on the part of this leadership to acquaint itself with the plight of non-Arab Muslims. Look at the non-Arab issues in the Muslim world and look at the statements issued by Muslim Arab leadership and see how little was said and done.
It is so because there is a false notion of Arab superiority in the Muslim community among the Arabs. This notion is perpetuated by quoting weak and false ahadith and anecdotes to prove the superiority of Arab language and Arab culture and customs. It is this racism that prevails in the Muslim community.
It is time for Muslims of non-Arab origin to understand the reality and act accordingly. There is no need to expect anything substantial from the Arab leadership. Non-Arab Muslims should rely on their own scholarship to understand Islam, to develop their own politics and their own strategies in dealing with situation they face in their countries. There is no need to go with a begging bowls to these Arab leaders asking them to intervene on behalf of Islam or Muslims. They will never do it. They are killing each other for centuries in the name of Shias, Sunnis and tribal discords. They have also contaminated the minds of non-Arab Muslims on these issues and exported their conflicts to non-Arab areas.
Non-Arab Muslims are not dependent for their religious or social survival on the Arab leadership.
They should develop alliances with the fellow citizens of their countries and stop talking of an ummah when no such ummah exists.