Terror struck Mumbai last Wednesday. Within an hour Ram, a regular follower of my ramblings, posted this message on my Facebook page: Terrorists have attacked Mumbai again. Why you are not uttering a single word when bomb blasts happened against Hindus? [sic] Empty rhetoric is not enough sir Please write specifically against Muslim terrorism that has caused maximum damage in India. I saw Rams message even as I watched the horror unfold in Mumbai on television. The feisty Barkha Dutt of an Indian news channel was already on air doing what she does best grilling politicians and officials on the events of the day. Her quizzing of eye-witnesses to the latest terror strikes in her characteristic I-am-right-there-with-you manner reminded me of another time and another tragedy the 2008 attacks on Mumbai. Dutt earned laurels for her reportage during 26/11, and justifiably so. She was clearly hoping to repeat the performance this time around. She wasnt alone. It was Mumbai mayhem all over again and the media was out to sink its teeth in the biggest news story of the day after weeks of droning on about corruption and cabinet expansion. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach as I watched the chaos on TV with those fleeting images of bodies lying around, bloodied victims crying out in pain. Were they Hindus or Muslims? They all looked the same. Their pain was the same. And I prayed silently: God, please, please let it not be another 26/11 Let it not be another outrage in our name My fears were real though. The media, and people like Ram, had already concluded that this was a crime by 'Muslim terrorists from across the border or their ready army of recruits within India. Within minutes of the blasts, a NDTV reporter was telling presenters in New Delhi that the Indian Mujahideen was likely behind the attacks. Who had concluded that and how? MISTRUST Even as my numbed mind half registered these fleeting facts, I grieved for Mumbai and its never-say-die people. My eyes kept returning to the message on my phone. It hurt to learn that ostensibly reasonable people living in the Gulf harboured such mistrust towards Indian Muslims. Is it fair to put Muslims in the dock every time something like this happens in Mumbai, or elsewhere in India? Why have no questions been raised about the possible involvement of the Abhinav Bharat and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) men for their alleged roles in attacks on Hyderabads Makkah Masjid, the Sufi shrine in Ajmer and the Samjhauta Express? Only last month, the Indian government announced the charge-sheeting of top RSS apparatchik Swami Aseemanand and four of his associates in these cases. Yet television pundits offered no theories about the possibility of Hindu groups executing these strikes to avenge those arrests. As for this humble hack, as often as I talk about Muslim grievances and concerns for what its worth, Ive also been one of the fiercest critics of my own kind. From confronting rising extremism to the corruption and ineptitude of 'Muslim leaders and our tendency to forever live in the past, I have covered it all, often ending up upsetting fellow travellers. And yes, I have also written ad nauseam condemning extremist violence attributed to Muslims in the strongest terms possible. From my scathing piece following the 7/7 London bombings to numerous others protesting the attacks targeting religious minorities and innocent Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Indeed, its not just me but eminent Islamic scholars and intellectuals, including those from Azhar Al Sharif, who have slammed violence targeting innocents as a grave sin against Islam and humanity. Shaikh Sudais, the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, went to the extent of saying that extremists and suicide bombers will all burn in hell. Every time something awful happens in India, the first thing police do is round up young Muslims. Faiz Usmani, a father of six, has become the first victim of this campaign. He wont be the last. And why should a community of 200 million hang its head in shame every time a bomb goes off? This mindset not just reveals an appalling ignorance of reality but betrays a patronising attitude that permeates the media and the intellectual establishment. This charade has gone on for so long that you have Muslim intellectuals and talking heads forever rushing to television studios to condemn whatever they are supposed to condemn. Its this mindset that makes Muslims strangers in their own land despite having been around for a thousand years. Muslims are loyal to this land as much as any Indian. Nobody has any right to lecture them on patriotism. They are no longer prepared to stand out there and take this nonsense every time someone runs amok. Why is it so hard to see that terror knows no religion? Indeed, if its any consolation, more Muslims have been killed, and continue to be killed daily, at the hands of so-called fellow believers in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We only end up advancing the terrorists agenda when we target a faith or community for the actions of some black sheep. When terror strikes, its not Hindus, Christians or Muslims but humanity that is the victim. Gulf News