Mumbai, Oct 31 : Around 130 prominent Indian citizens and the Wisdom Foundation on Saturday flayed the brutal killings in France and also deplored the "outrageous statements by Muslim religious and political leaders".
Expressing unequivocal and unconditional condemnation of the killings in France by two fanatics in the name of faith, the 130 signatories said: "No Gods, Goddesses, Prophets or Saints maybe invoked to justify the killing and/or terrorising of fellow human beings." "We are deeply disturbed by the convoluted logic of some self-appointed guardians of Indian Muslims in rationalising cold-blooded murder and deplore the outrageous remarks of some heads of state," they said.
Wisdom Foundation Director-General Zeenat Shaukat Ali said: "The crime is heinous, monstrous, deplorable and disgraceful. It is time for the Muslim clergy and parents to instruct the youth that such abhorrent acts are in total contradiction to Islam's reverence for peace, explicit recognition of tolerance, compassion, social equality, high moral order and spiritual depth." The 130 intellectuals, artistes, rationalists, lawyers, human rights activists, social crusaders, academicians and others from across India said that "it has become the order of the day for all religious groups to indulge in whataboutery whenever such heinous crimes are committed by those belong to their flock".
"Rationalising crimes by comparing them to similar crimes committed by others is an irrational and absurd argument as two wrongs don't make a right. We reject any ifs and buts in the justification of heinous crimes in the name of religion, any religion," they stated.
"When problems arise, justice must be sought through the law World leaders should display more sensitivity when they make remarks as innocent lives cannot be put at stake Religion should not be considered a vote bank," urged Shaukat Ali.
Supporting the French Council for the Muslim Faith for its strong condemnation of the recent attacks, the intellectuals also lauded its appeal to Muslims in France to cancel all celebrations of the Prophet's birthday as a "sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones".
Upholding the universal right to freedom of speech and expression, Shaukat Ali said that it also comes with "special duties and responsibilities", and the need of the hour is "dialogue, common grounds, values, and promoting interfaith understanding to create harmony between communities".
The signatories included, Tushar Gandhi, Julio Ribeiro, Vishwas Utagi, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, Swara Bhaskar, Shabnam Hashmi, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Javed Akhtar, Anjum Rajabali, Henry Tiphagne, S.L. Guddi, Dilip D'Souza, Selvyn Jussy, Sitaram Prasad Singh, Sandeep Pandey, Noorjehan S. Niaz, Pramod Mujumdar, Mridula Mukherjee, Medha Patkar, Kavita Srivastava, Lara Jesani and Abhilasha Kumari, among others.