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Fundamentalism and Unrest in India

November 21, 1990

One can only be shocked by the Johnson column. The issue about which Johnson writes is Hindu "fundamentalism," yet your headline conjures the horrifying specter of "expansionist Islam."

The column contains much false information, most notably the notion that India's Muslims are suddenly fundamentalist and that this is the cause of India's current woes. India has long been home to a strong Islamic scholarship, and Indian Muslims have for centuries been among the most vigorous Islamic missionaries in India, Africa and the rest of Asia.

In India, Islam was not spread by force: How else could a subcontinent ruled for 700 years by Muslims retain its Hindu majority? Islam's egalitarianism has always had a strong appeal to Hinduism's excluded--the untouchables, lower castes, as well as a small number of intellectuals.

Hindu radicals today rebel, as you reported elsewhere, against improving the lot of untouchables.

Finally, Pakistan was not created as a "Moslem state," rather as a state for Muslims. Only under Zia ul-Haq did Pakistan begin to explore the concept of Islamic statehood.

S.T. ABDULKADER, Director, Practical Islamic Center, Rancho Palos Verdes

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