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LUCKNOW | Saturday, March 14, 2009 | Email | Print |

Radical Islam is not religion: Benkin

Pioneer News Service | Lucknow

One has to stop treating radical Islam as a religion to effectively fight any form of terrorism and communalism.

This view was expressed by human rights activist and anti-terrorist author, speaker and specialist on South Asia Richard L Benkins at a programme organised at the Ancient History department of Lucknow University by Open Space on Friday.

Benkins, who has been actively involved in the fight of Bangladeshi Hindus, stressed that the greatest scourge of this age was that radical Islam sought to impose its version of right and wrong on the world. A financial analyst, Benkins,is a native of Illinois in US.

"Given the heinous nature of its rhetoric and murderous nature of its actions there should be no debate over its incompatibility with democracy and over the reaction that free societies must have towards it," Benkins said. He added that free societies had a difficult time demonising any faith. "But this also casts those who are ready to fight radical Islam as extremists and communalists. Today free societies are hopelessly split between the extremes of craven appeasement and balatant communalism," the human rights activist said.

Talking to The Pioneer after the lecture, Benkins said that he had been involved in the fight of Bangladeshi Hindus against radical Islamists because he was inspired by one of his friends.

"The Bangladeshi Hindus were being slaughtered and everyone, right from the Indian government to Bangladeshi government and the United Nations chose to ignore it. From one-fifth, the population decreased to one-tenth because of the property law that allows these radicalist to inherit the property once the Hindus are chased away," he said.

Asked why the US administration was increasing its aid to Pakistan knowing that it aided terrorists, Benkins said that he was not happy with this decision of his government.

"Probably there is a misconception among the US authorities that in the fight against radical terrorists they should take the help of people who know them best," he said.

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