The state government ban on the book Islam — A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims, written by lawyer R.V. Bhasin, will continue.
The Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, upheld the ban on the book and echoed the view of many Muslim scholars that the entire community cannot be branded as terrorists for misdeeds of some misguided youth.
“It is true that some misguided Muslim youth have indulged in acts of terrorism, but such elements are there in every religion and because of such instances entire Muslim community cannot be branded as terrorists,” observed a special bench comprising Justice Ranjana Desai, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice R S Mohite.
The book was published in 2003. On March 9, 2007, the state government banned the book saying it would create hatred against Muslims, promote enmity between communities and trigger violence.
Bhasin had challenged the ban saying the book was a historical analysis of certain lesser-known aspects of Islam and it was not intended to promote feelings of hatred and enmity.
The special bench, however, found that the book “reeks of hatred, contains rabid material” and termed the writing of the book as a mala fide exercise to stir communal passions.” The court also criticised certain conclusions made by the author and his criticism of the community.
The special bench said in the Indian constitutional set up everything is open to criticism and religion is not an exception. “But the criticism has to be healthy and not malicious. It must not lead to creating ill-will and hatred between different communities,” the high court said. “Freedom of expression must be well utilised, it must lead to sensible dialogue but not senseless destruction of lives and property and breach of public order.”