“The Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, representing more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, affirmed Thursday a commitment to unity in combatting “sectarian” policies. A two-day meeting in the Red Sea city of Jeddah affirmed that OIC members will stand “united in combatting sectarian, confessional, and exclusion policies that have led to sedition in some countries and threatened their security and stability,” said a statement read by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal……………..”
Irony may be dead. A meeting of countries with governments that are almost all sectarian and exclusionary. A meeting in Jeddah to fight against sectarianism and exclusionism, by governments that are now almost universally sectarian. Regardless of their sects.
Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi foreign minister for the past forty years, waxing poetic about the sectarianism and exclusion policies, in the heart of Sectarianism and Exclusion. This is like Al Capone railing against organized crime. It is like holding a meeting in 1938 in Berlin to combat Nazism. It is like holding a meeting in Riyadh to combat absolute monarchy. It is like holding a meeting at the U.S. Congress to combat lobbying influence. It is like holding a meeting in Tehran to promote open Internet access and freedom. It is like holding a meeting in Cairo to combat military influence in politics. It is like holding a meeting in Tel Aviv against Zionism. It is like, you probably get it by now………. ad nauseam.
“The “Vibrant Gujarat” in Modi’s marketing materials stops, however, at the farthest reaches of the city, where thousands of Muslims displaced by the 2002 riots continue to huddle in relief colonies like Citizen Nagar, disconnected from schools, transportation, medical facilities and basic municipal services. Suleiman, a sixth-grader when his family was driven from their home, went to live with relatives in another Muslim colony to continue his studies. Most students just dropped out, he said. The warren of concrete shacks and unpaved streets fills every afternoon with young men his age lazing on rusted chairs and idle rickshaws, with no jobs to go to. In the home he shares with his parents and three other family members, a dug-out latrine serves as the bathroom. Only recently, after a months-long campaign by social workers and residents, did the city begin sending two trucks of potable water daily to the slum’s 200 families. The difference between his neighborhood and a more prosperous one, Suleiman said, was simple. “Go to any Hindu area and you’ll see running water, street lights, paved roads,” he said. “In all the Muslim areas, nothing has changed.” Over the last decade, Ahmedabad has become one of India’s most segregated cities. While Hindus and Muslims live apart from each other in many parts of India — and communal violence breaks out periodically — in Ahmedabad the divisions are more systematic and even supported by law……………”
Narendra Modi, the new prime minister of India, is the Hindu ultra nationalist who enhanced apartheid in Gujarat. He supported an Gujarati anti-Muslim version of Jim Crow policies in the old American South. He has been quickly invited to the White House. Corporate America, always with a huge market and cheap labor in its sight, will be pleased.
Then again, running India is not the same as running a state. Political reality may modify the strident divisive “Hindu nationalism”.