A 31-year-old man wrote “I am an enemy of God, enemy of religion, enemy of caste and enemy of all blind beliefs. But I am not an enemy of humans who believe in humanity.”
This would turn out to be one of his last posts
On 16th March, H Farooq, a resident of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, father of 2 children, was mercilessly hacked to death by a gang of four. An ex-muslim, an atheist and a rationalist, he was killed for his views on Islam and his disbelief in religion. His criticism of religion had triumphed over his belief in humanity.
He was the administrator of a WhatsApp group, Allahu Murdhath, consisting of 400 muslims members who were inspired by rationalist Periyar ideology and regularly debunked religious claims.
The police cited that one of the reasons for murder was a photo that he shared in the Whatsapp group where one of his children was seen holding a placard with the handwritten slogan “Kadavul illai, Kadavul illai, Kadavul illai (No God, No God, No God)”.
The religious believers thought Farooq raising his children as atheists threatened Islam.
Does the omnipotent God demands the death of a child’s father as protection against the kid holding up a sign denying his existence?
Can a disbelief/disagreement to any idea be offensive enough to give people the warrant to kill or harm?
What gives us the authority to become guardians of any particular idea when no idea can be considered the ultimate axion?
In today’s India, why has it become difficult to imagine a discourse similar to that of Nanak, Farird and Kabir’s during the ancient times, when they would talk about everything?
Farooq paid a hefty price for exercising his fundamental right to expression. What should have been at worst, criticized, and at best, ignored, received a reaction which cost him his life.
On the contrary, the outrage over his murder is greatly minimal. Primarily because it is viewed as a problem not between two communities but rather a problem within a particular community. But that is not true. Farooq belongs to the small, courageous and growing band of freethinkers and rationalists in the sub-continent. And his death was caused by people who believed that blasphemers and apostates should be put to death. The attack on him was the attack on a free-thinking. Liberal society that encourages people to ask questions. A society where human life is considered more sacred than blind dogma.
His death should attract our support and we should oppose those rationalizing the killing in any way or form. More importantly, Farooq’s murder should embolden us to continue to fight for freedom of speech and promotion of rational thought.
Voltaire once said, ‘’I Disapprove Of What You Say, But I Will Defend To The Death Your Right To Say It’’. And Today we all should stand by Farooq’s right to say what he thinks.