But the moment I got that mail, I had just gotten back (less than 24 hours) from 3 weeks in India and Pakistan (Karachi and Lucknow; meeting with people from several social strata) and I am not sure the people "on the ground" need to be *TAUGHT* anything new about being nice people of other faiths--what we need are strong voices countering things like, just to provide one example, articles about Keith Ellison titled "Muslim Zionist" (the Jamat-e-Islami's English-language newsletter "Radiance Weekly" in INDIA--quoting, it later turned out, further making the point, a Stateside fanatic rag). And it is the diaspora that needs new voices on this. On the ground, there are enough people with the a moderate outlook, a strong spine, and a track record; we just need to find them and support them.
I guess what I am saying is that we should be doing lists of Indians (or, more importantly, South Asians) in South Asia that we can be proud of--and then listen to what they are saying and support what they are doing. Here's my list:
- Sandeep Pandey, Lucknow
- Bloggers everywhere
- The War Against Rape in Karachi and in Lahore (two independently-run
And those are just the ones I met without much effort or reaching out. Then there are others one hears about:
- The folks working to create a common ground initiative IN Ayodhya between faith communities. I'd like to see someone in the diaspora hold a candle to that. I have a booklet in Hindi I can photocopy and send anyone interested
- Asma Jehangir, Hina Jilani, IA Rehman, et al and the HRCP in Pakistan...
I could go on...Technorati tags applicable to this post: Moderate Muslims - India - Pakistan - Interfaith Relations - NRIs - Expatriates - Muslim Diaspora - Muslims in the West