Author M. A. Khan writes: I was born and brought up in a conservative Muslim society. After graduating in India, I moved to the West for furthering my education. Despite my conservative Muslim background, I grew up with a liberal outlook. In my school and university days, my closest friends were Hindus and Sikhs: I felt more comfortable with them as they were more liberal, easy going and humble with fewer religious scruples. I had wholly given up religious rituals by the time I completed my university studies: they just didn’t attract me.
When the 9/11 attacks occurred in the U.S., I had lived in a liberal society for over a decade. I had become consciously convinced that religious rituals—prayers, fasting, pilgrimage—were all meaningless.
I should be rewarded, I felt, for working hard, and intelligently, not for aping some wasteful rituals, which brings good to nobody. Non Muslims were my…
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