Raza Academy: a Mumbai Based ‘Fatwa’ Factory is out with yet another Fatwa against the Oscar winning Music Director AR Rahman, and curiously-this time, the liberal mannequins of the country are not crying foul.
In 1989, when RS Dilip Kumar converted to AR Rahman, little did he know that 26 years later-he would be made to stand on the crossroads for choosing between his religion and music.
The fatwa that seems to lapse on sense, is apparently issued against Rahman for composing music in the film “Muhammad: Messenger of God”. This is the first in the trilogy of film based on Prophet Muhammed, and is produced by Islamic Republic of Iran. Interestingly, the film is sincerely running a full house there.
However, this ‘Raza Academy’ fatwa in its content calls Rahman an “Infidel” and his marriage as “invalid”. It urges Muslims to not only reject the film but also “protest against such a film at the personal as well as legal level in order to get such people punished.
Meanwhile, Islamic Republic of Iran through its embassy in New Delhi has logically intervened by issuing a statement in this regard “No insult has been committed to Islamic values in the film… The system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, from the very beginning, has always been the standard bearer in the defence of Islam.”- the statement read.
Beyond the triviality of its fatwas, Raza Academy has been a radiant of soft jihadist fundamentals. Tufaili Ahmad in his article in New Age Islam writes “Over the past decade, Raza Academy has been emerging as an extra-constitutional organisation and trouble maker, by trying to govern the thoughts and expression of others. In 2012, at a public rally in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan, its clerics incited Muslim youths, leading to violence in which two youths were killed, about 45 policemen were injured and public property was damaged. It also protested against liberal Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen. In 2012, it threatened Salman Rushdie (author of Satanic Verses) when he was to visit Jaipur for a literary event.”
Apparently, Raza Academy had announced a reward of Rs. 1 Lakh to anyone who hurls a slipper on Salman Rushdie’s face on his visit to Jaipur. They also undertook to appoint a lawyer for him.
Nevertheless, the Rahman episode also affirms for tolerant attributes of Hindus towards the religion specific creatives. The fatwa like sceneries little happen when Aamir Khan experiments with sensitive Hindu values in PK, or Salman Khan plays a certain Bajrangi. Going by the ideals of Raza Academy, it is a question beyond surprise that ‘Why Raza Academy doesn’t issue fatwa to muslims playing around Hindu Gods and related? Perhaps it is their ‘selective-mutism’ that make them accept Muslims who play Hindus, and on the other hand issue Fatwa to a muslim, whose only contribution is music, that too in a film made on Prophet Mohammed himself.
Having said that, no liberal lobby seems to be debating the need of ‘Fatwas’ in a secular Bharat. No one seems to shout for the infringement of right to freedom of speech & expression by the radicals. Such is the irony of ‘posers-of-liberty’, that for them even the ‘right to offend’ can be discriminated. Perhaps, that’s why there’s little noise on social media and news channels alike, and prime times aren't discussing whether religions were meant to do this, or whether ‘good’ muslims accept this as true face of ‘Islam’.
Today, media speaks louder than words, for they have emerged as better interpreter of verses being angelic or satanic. Lest being assured, that only seems to happen when TRPs align with recognition of an issue, as the real issue. Divyansh Dev