Arabic Strains of Islam hitting Kerala?

This can’t be great for Kerala, and something to keep an eye on.

Austere version of Islam finding a home in India – Los Angeles Times

The change came several years ago for Maryam Arrakal. Her husband brought a black, all-covering abaya back to this steamy, subtropical town from the desert sands of Saudi Arabia. It contrasted starkly with the pastel saris she normally wore. But in the 12 years that her husband, Kunchava, had been running a Saudi fabric shop, he had become detached from this melting pot of Muslims, Hindus and Christians, and more drawn to the Saudis’ strict version of Islam.

In general, a well written article. The combination of all the new money, influence and free time (when you come back “home”, you’re rich, you don’t have to work for a living) could be diverted to other things, but religion always seems to win out!

Kerala’s elders often boasted that Hindus, Muslims, Christians and a smattering of smaller religious groups were Indians first. Religious identity took a back seat to class interests. The Communist Party and the conservative Indian National Congress dominated elections.

This is the first time I have ever heard the Congress party being described as conservative. The author tries too hard to fit Indian politics into American clothes, and fails. The Congress is a left leaning market socialist party, if anything. Kerala’s politics are so far to the left of American politics that there is really no frame of reference.

“Muslims themselves are worried by the rise of the militant Islamic organizations,” said Ajai Mangat, Calicut correspondent for the Malayalam Manorama, the province’s largest daily newspaper. “If they become more powerful, the Hindu nationalists become more powerful.”

This is not the first time India has faced religious challenges, it won’t be the last time. I have faith in the giant melting pot to slowly rough the edges away. There will be tension, lives will be lost, as always, but life for the majority of Indians/Keralites will go on.

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