Shah’s commendable stand

One of Bollywood’s most famous actors, Naseeruddin Shah has created a stir over comments he made about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Shah criticized “some sections of Indian Muslims” who he said had celebrated the group’s victory. He said they were setting a dangerous precedent, before criticizing what he called “old barbarism” within Islam. His comments irked some Muslims in India, who took issue with the actor’s comments on social media. But many supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) praised Shah and said more Muslims should speak up against the Taliban. Actor Naseeruddin Shah has always spoken his mind on contentious issues.

Earlier, when he raised concern over the rise of violent Hindu right wing groups, these same BJP/RSS supporters had launched vicious campaigns against him on social media. Strangely, now they are praising him just because he criticized a section of his fellow Muslims. This has exposed the double standards of the BJP/RSS supporters and their leaders. Naseeruddin Shah is correct to express concern over a section of Muslims expressing joy over the return of Taliban to power in Afghanistan. People should not forget that the Taliban is a designated terrorist organization. The Taliban enforced a strict version of Islamic law when they controlled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. They permitted public executions and banned women from schools and workplaces.

For a long time, Indian Muslims have always been respected across the world for their unique secular outlook. Indian Islam has always been unique and different from the rest of the world. Even though terrorism engulfed a large section of the Muslim world in the last 30 years, the Indian Muslims largely remained untouched by religious fundamentalism. This is due to the secular nature and uniqueness of the Islam followers of India. This should not be diluted. Actor Naseeruddin Shah deserves love and respect for coming forward and criticizing his fellow Muslims for their horrendous act of expressing support to the Taliban. People of every religion should stand up against wrongdoing of their own folks. This will strengthen the secular values of India.