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India Was Right To Deny Visas To US Commission Wanting To Review ‘Deteriorating' Religious Freedom

Why do we need a certificate from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) about the status of religious freedom in our country? USCIRF is not an international body mandated by the UN or any other international law, but a government body of a foreign state. It has no jurisdiction whatsoever in the internal affairs of a foreign sovereign democratic country. It seems like the US is slowly adopting the role of an international grandma, preaching about democratic values around the globe.
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Why We Need To Stop Blaming Muslims And Islam For Terrorism

Barack Obama called for "collective introspection" in the Muslim community after the Paris attacks. He said that Muslims all over the world must ask "serious questions" on how extremist ideologies have taken root. A call for introspection and taking stock of a situation is a good thing, but by putting that responsibility squarely on the Muslim community, he has deepened the growing chasm of misunderstanding between Muslims and the rest of the world.
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Anish Kapoor's ‘Hindu Taliban' Jibe And The Rajasthan Govt's Revenge

Eminent sculptor Anish Kapoor's characterisation of the Modi government as a "Hindu Taliban" has invited instant action from Rajasthan Government -- in an obviously retaliatory move, it has scrapped Kapoor's nomination from the Governing Board of Jaipur's Jawahar Kala Kendra. I am no advocate of the Modi government, but as things stand today, even I believe that the descriptor "Hindu Taliban" is quite far-fetched.

What Will We Gain From This Rabid Islamophobia?

When was the last time you went to a party and someone asked you if you were a Hindu? I'd say never. Why then does the question, 'are you a Muslim?', get posed to so many of my friends with non-Hindu names? Which civilised and educated human being can justify asking someone, upon introduction, if he is a Muslim or not? And does it even matter? Well, apparently, now it does.

Raghuram Rajan's Economic Case For Tolerance: Are The Development-Crazy ‘Bhakts' Listening?

The RBI Governor says that an environment that encourages the questioning of received wisdom without the fear of being targeted for it is one where ideas will grow and flourish. This is an intellectual eco-system that fosters innovation, which is critical for economic growth. Surely the bhakts of India should understand this argument. After all, one thing they have been consistent about is the need for development. Anyone who questions this receives violent abuse on social media and is branded "anti-national".

More ‘Iqbals' And Less ‘Fanaas': How Bollywood Can Take On Religious Intolerance

If mainstream Hindi movies increasingly portray Muslims as regular Indians leading a "routine Indian life", it would immensely help in overthrowing the stereotypes that some politicians, extremists and their ilk project. But the depiction of Muslim leads in most recent flicks which do have them -- Chak De India, New York, Haider, etc. -- is heavily focused on identity issues. While such head-on tackling of Muslim identity crises is necessary and welcome, it should also be liberally supplemented by the portrayal of Muslims as simply people rather than Muslim people.

‘Dad, Are Muslims Our Enemies?'

"Dad, are Muslims our enemies?" I dropped my book on my lap and looked up with my best WTF look on my face. My 8-year-old son was standing in the front of me, his hands on his hips. "Why do you ask that?" I said. He frowned, "We have this guy Altaf in our class and everyone says he is our enemy because he is a Muslim. No one sits with him anymore and we are going to beat him up tomorrow in the recess."