Monday, May 27, 2002

Hindu Nationalism vs. Christian Nationalism

As tensions again rise between India and Pakistan, there has of course been increased reporting on South Asia. One thing that has been bothering me is the constant labelling of the conflict by the media as a Hindu vs. Muslim battle. By this, I mean the conflict is often described as "Islamic Pakistan versus mostly Hindu India," or "the increasing rhetoric from India's Hindu nationalist government, the BJP," etc. What set me off was Steve Coll's piece in the the 5/25 Washington Post, where he says "India's Hindu nationalist leaders declared that they could be patient no longer."

Don't get me wrong, I think Steve Coll is a great reporter; he just represents a problem that I find endemic in the Western Media. I mean, do we refer to the war in Afghanistan as "the mostly Christian United States or West versus the Muslim Afgahanistan." Is the Republican party of the United States a Christian Nationalist party. Despite the secular quality of the United States, no one can refute the fact that George Bush, and many of the Republicans propagate a Judeo-Christian ideal. Bush's faith based initiative, his placement of the religious ideologue John Aschroft at the DOJ, the Republicans wanting to put the 10 commandments on the walls of schools, and even the party's connection with the Christian right could easily solidify the party's religious affiliation. But still, no one ever calls the Republicans a Christan Nationalist Party.


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