He is arguably the strongest critic of Islam in this part of the world. He is an ex Muslim atheist who is very knowledgable about the religion. He lives and propagates his ideas in a district in Kerala with a Muslim majority. He is the leader of Yukthivadi Sangham, a rationalist organisation of Kerala. This brave freethinker is E A Jabbar, a retired school teacher from Malappuram.
Now he is facing death threat. A blog in malayalam has named him along with some other freethinkers as enemies of Islam and has threatened to silence him.
E A Jabbar, a retired teacher and an activist of Malappuram based Yukthi vadi Sangham, has filed a complaint before chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan against an Islamic State (IS) blog in Malayalam for issuing a death threat against him.
In the complaint mailed to the chief minister, copies of which were sent to the DGP and the district police chief, Malappuram, Jabbar said the posts in the blog muhajir2015.wordpress.com were seditious in nature. He requested the authorities to find out the anonymous bloggers and bring them before the law. Jabbar has also requested for police protection in the wake of the death threat .
Threat became more serious when a person from Kerala who had gone to join Islamic State army indicated to their family members to read the above blog to know why he joined the terror organisation.
Prashanth M P of Times of India writes :
Life has never been the same for E A Jabbar, the rationalist from Malap puram, ever since he decided to take on religious orthodoxy and extrem ism in his own community . The retired school teacher who faced physical attacks a couple of times is now the target of Islamic State supporters in Kerala. His name appeared prominently many times in social media posts and in the Malayalam blog `Muhajirauns’ hosted by IS sympathisers.
Jabbar, who studied in a madrassa up to seventh standard, lost his faith in Islam while he was in tenth. “By that time I had started reading the Ma layalam translation of Quran and my understanding of the religion changed after that,“ he says. Jabbar believes that the Quran is full of inconsisten cies. “To understand what the book says on a particular subject, you have to scan the entire work. And you can find contradictory stances on same subjects,“ he says. He didn’t get satisfying answers when he raised these questions in family circles. “Rationalist leader Joseph Edamaruku wrote his book `Quran: A critical study’ in early 1980 and the book was subjected to widespread discussions. Around 25 rebuttals came out at that time and I was actively involved in discussions,“ Jabbar says.
Slowly he became an integral part of debating circles representing the rationalists. “My basic stand is that Islam is against democracy, secularism, gender justice and all that makes a modern society,“ he says.
No wonder such statements have made him a lot of danger ous enemies. Violent animosity against him goes back a long way. “For about four months I moved around with police protection in 1997 after my house was surrounded by a gang following my involvement in a controversial issue in Malap puram. I was manhandled at a public meeting at Moovattu puzha in 2003. I was saved by a colleague of mine who fell on me to ward off assault with iron chairs. I was hospitalised for two weeks after the attack,“ says Jabbar.
“I had to face an unruly mob at Poovattuparamba and Parambil Bazar in Kozhikode while I was addressing public meetings.
A mob rushed to the stage raising Takbeer to attack me at Poovat tuparamba,“ says Jabbar. The assault on Jabbar at Parambil Bazar was during the controversy in 2008 over the lesson `Mathamil latha Jeevan’ in a social science textbook. “The meeting was in a reading room and the violent mob barged in to lay siege to the venue. They de manded that I publicly apologise, which I declined. Finally the police escorted me to my house,“ he says. These days, Jabbar is an active member of the Facebook community `Freethinkers’. “The advent of social media has changed propagation of scientific thinking beyond recognition. Unlike other mediums, social media cannot be entirely manipulated and it gives wide scope for discussions,“ he says.
Jabbar, who describes himself as “a humanist who believes that insignificant and helpless human beings need not take up the sword to save a god who is omnipotent and omniscient,“ has a blog of his own `Quranvimarsanam’ and his speeches are widely circulated on YouTube. “Intolerance has also grown with the development of technology ,“ he says.His enemies have coined the term `Jabras’, a derogatory term to denote Jabbar and his rationalist friends.
A death threat was issued in March, in Muhajirauns, to `Jabras and his team for insulting Islam and the Prophet’. “The Islamic State world over is using the time-tested methodology of creating fear in the minds of opponents. The hue and cry over Islamophobia is baseless as fear is what Islam wants to generate. The Prophet himself has said that Allah has instilled fear in the minds of his adversaries,“ Jabbar says.
Debating and criticising religion is always dangerous in this part of the world, Islam with its terror tentacles spread all over has very low tolerance for criticism.
I feel it is the moral duty of each and every person who believes in democracy and freedom of expression to support E A Jabbar, so that he and others like him can continue debating religion, expose its hollowness and thus try to build a better society which is much more democratic, secular, gender equitable, scientific tempered and humane than our present one.