KOZHIKODE: Clubhouse, the popular application that provides a new platform for deliberations, have redefined the contours of debates on Islam in Kerala. Issues related to Islam dominate the chatrooms ever since the App became popular among the Malayalees.
Key players in the debates including MM Akbar, Saeed Ibn George, C Ravichandran and EA Jabbar have started appearing in the Clubhouse chat rooms, drawing huge audiences.
“Clubhouse is more suited for discussions than other forums because it provides avenues for real-time interaction. Lots of people, who have renounced the religion, have dared to come forward to air their views publicly in our discussions,” said Arif Hussein Theruvath, a regular presence from the side of
“Social media have dug out many Islamic texts that were deliberately buried by Islamists for ages because they contain embarrassing content for the believers. We put these texts under the microscope to bring out the anti-human elements in them. The clubhouse has enabled us to penetrate into areas hitherto inaccessible for us,” Arif said.
He discounted the allegations that Sangh Parivar is behind the Ex-Muslims’ campaign against Islam. “The religion always wants enemies for its survival. Earlier it was Jews and Christians, now it is us. We believe that our efforts do contribute to the secularization of the society,” Arif said.
Farhana Ashique, research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who represented the Muslim perspective in many debates, has a different view.
“The discussions have brought in a drastic change in the public perception that the traditional Muslim scholars are incapable of engaging a modern audience. Clubhouse discussions have witnessed the emergence of a number of Muslim scholars in the traditional attire answering with ease the questions on various subjects like cosmology, philosophy and legal theory,” she said.
“The discussions have also opened up opportunities for Muslim women to access the religious texts. They have realized that many of the rights they were fighting for have scriptural backing. This is indeed a new realization for Muslim women because we are sure that our issues can be settled within the framework of Islam itself,” he said.
At the same time, Farhana is concerned about the attempts to create communal divide by raking up unnecessary topics. “The concern over the toxic content of the discussions is real, especially from the ones emanating from the chatrooms organized by the so-called Ex-Muslims,” she said.
“Quite often such debates stoop to the level of maligning the entire community. Theclanguage of the speakers is clearly that of the RSS and issues they raise are Islamophobic,” Farhana said.
Dr C Viswanathan, who participated in the debate on criticism on Islam in India, feels that non-Muslims should keep away from the discussions on Islam.
“I strongly support the rights of Ex-Muslims to campaign against Islam. We should attempt to free people from the clutches of religions of every kind,” he said. But Dr Viswanathan expressed serious doubts about the intentions of non-Muslims who cheer criticism on Islam.
“The issues Ex-Muslims discuss mostly affect only 14 percent of the population, but the Hindutvaisation affects the whole population because it is in power in the country,” he said.