The Pakistani-Indian rivalry in Kashmir is chalked up to so many things, including ethnicity, religion, and resource allocation.
However what few observers and pundits have called attention to is the clash between word and image.
Islam is an Abrahamic religion that places word above image, and cautions humanity against getting hypnotized and mesmerized by the visual mediums.
The other two Abrahamic religions also call attention to this juxtaposition, with both Judaism and Christianity cautioning against the alluring effects of visually stunning imagery.
Don’t believe me?
Don’t take my word for it?
Then go back and read the first two Ten Commandments, which clearly emphasize that making graven images is a more egregious sin even than murder or adultery.
The tension brewing in Kashmir is a tension between word and image, more than it is a tension between cultures, ethnicities, or societies.
Islam believes that imagery is always far inferior to word, which is why in most if not all mosques there are only letters written on the walls — no pictures, images or visages.
Personally, I believe that those who seek out the image above the word should be accepted as part of society.
Part of this personal notion might stem from the fact that I have lived in a culture dominated by Theravada Buddhism for a long time, which is a religion that idolizes the word while also offering up a host of iconography for all manner of worshippers.
The more time I spend in Theravada temples, the more Mosques seem barren and lifeless to me.
I am confident that while Islam is on the rise, it has more than met its match in Buddhism and Hinduism, religions and philosophies that pay heed to the power of the word while also acknowledging the power of the image.
Hey, the future of Islam is easily observable in 1st world Islamic countries, where followers of the prophet will superfluously go from Mosque to shopping mall.