On May 22, news reports from various domestic and international media outlets informed us that adherents of the religion of peace had calmly carried out their agenda to revoke the right of non-peaceful people to exist. Several people try to use socio-economic and political issues to excuse the establishment of radical Islamist organisations.

It is time to reject propaganda and address the underlying cause of religious strife. The main causes of religious discord in the world are exclusivist arguments (of the “the one real God and the one true path” variety). It is time for non-Abrahamic, Dharmic, and Hindus to awaken and face reality as it is. Abrahamic religions instil the notion of exclusivity in nearly all of their adherents, which causes hostility (sometimes subtly derogatory, other times radical) towards non-believers. This is not just a problem among extremists.

The only explanation for why “we” are regarded as heathens, kaafirs, idolaters, and non-believers is this! Only this can account for the Christian missionaries’ fervent desire to save us by illuminating the “light” and the genuine road to salvation. Only this may explain why many ‘peaceful’ Indians’ amnesia of the exodus of thousands of their countrymen, Kashmiri Pandits, is so great, but they had no trouble at all denouncing and recalling the expulsion of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.

Therefore, the next time someone says they “tolerate” your religion, remind them that this Latin term does not imply that we are all equally deserving of respect and instead implicitly suggests a power imbalance in the relationship, with one party in a position to grant or withhold permission for the other to exist. Mutual respect must be demanded.

The following inquiries from our end, as proposed by Shri Rajiv Malhotra, provide a clear illustration of this:

  1. How do you perceive Hindu Murtis which are often referred to as ‘idols’ by the church/Islam, and are there not official injunctions in your teachings against such idols? “
  2. “Do you consider Shiva and Krishna to be God, or among the “false Gods” condemned in the Bible/Quran?”
  3. “How do you see Hindu Goddesses in the light of the church’s claim that God is specifically masculine?”
  4. “How do you see the Hindu concept of self as “sat-chit-ananda” (meaning inherently divine) in the light of the Church’s notion of the individual self as a “fallen sinner” ?”

Religious harmony will remain a fancy concept employed as lip service by certain so-called intellectuals until these key issues are resolved.

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