The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Conversions were never a civilised affair

by M.S.N. Menon

Britain tried to assimilate its non-White population. It failed. Today, it is experimenting with multi-culturalism. It has not made a success of it either.

We are told by Christians and Muslims that they are “superior” to Hindus. Which is why, they say, Hindus are being converted to Christianity and Islam. What is the truth? What is their record in human relations?

Here are some facts. Judge for yourself.

For 1,600 years, the Christian church (European) held on to the belief that the Black man did not possess a soul and that he was the son of the Devil. Even today most of the Christians are not free from such thoughts.

Surely, after this, can we say that they are ready to accept the brotherhood of men? No. Then, why are they busy converting non-Christians to the Christian fold when they are unwilling to treat the convert as a brother?

The “colour problem” has a hoary past. The Bible says that the Black man was condemned to be a slave. This gave legitimacy to the slave trade.

Lord Palmerston, the British statesman, says that slave trade was the worst crime in human history. And both the Whites and Arabs are guilty of it.

America fought a civil war to get rid of the slave trade. And yet a report by former US President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race Relations lamented that even after 110 years of “equal rights”, the Whites were “ignorant of the nature of the discrimination against the Blacks.” And after four decades of federal efforts at integration, “there were few spaces that Blacks and Whites occupy as equals.”

This makes me raise a relevant question: If the Whites (Christians) of America are unwilling to accept the non-White peoples as brothers and equals, why are they taking the lead in the evangelisation of the non-White world?

Perhaps Britain is the most colour conscious country in the world. “Among us”, writes a British daily, “are those with minds so warped and views so extreme that they will plan and carry out cold blooded murder because of the colour of your skin.” Indeed, many such murders have already been carried out.

Britain tried to assimilate its non-White population. It failed. Today, it is experimenting with multi-culturalism. It has not made a success of it either.

But it is crucial. The West will have to come to terms with the coloured peoples. It cannot reject them without inviting a sharp global response against it.

A multi-cultural society calls for political unity without cultural uniformity. This is not easy to achieve. There is no model to go by. India is the only country which has an incipient model.

But with the White man’s record of intolerance, slave trade, genocide, colonialism, imperialism, holocaust, apartheid, his record of human relations is indeed one of the worst. After this, how can he be superior to the Hindus? Which is why I object to the conversion of Hindus to Christianity. Christianity is a failure.

What about Islam? The Islamists say that they have an unfinished business: To convert the non-Muslims to Islam. Pray, what for? Because Islam is “Superior”? Let us see the record of the Muslims.

The Quran granted them the right to own slaves. The Arabs have been supplying slaves to Europe for a very long time—for as long as 1,300 years, while the European slave trade did not last for more than three-four centuries. Slave-trading was the most flourishing activity of the Muslim invaders in India. Mir Qasim took 60,000 slaves from Sind and Mahmud took 500,000 from Taneswar. These are just two instances.

Arabs were the main suppliers of eunuchs to the Muslim countries, for which children of 4-12 years were castrated. Removal of genitals caused extensive deaths, as much as 90 per cent. The profits were enormous, but the brutality was so great that it came to be called “the hideous trade.” The Ottomans wanted to abolish this trade, but the priests of Mecca opposed the Ottomans.

Conversions were never a civilised affair

Ayatollah Khomeini says: (August 24, 1979): “Islam grew with blood. The great Prophet of Islam carried in one hand the Quran and in the other the sword.” That is how most of the conversions took place. The learned Qazi Mughis-ud-din says on conversion: “Every device short of massacre in cold blood was resorted to in order to convert heathen subjects.” Here is human relations!

I can anticipate the response to this article: “What has all this to do with the present generation of Christians and Muslims? Yes, they are not directly responsible. But they can be honest—they can say that they do not claim to be superior to the Hindus.

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