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My Message To ‘Cow Terrorists’ As A Muslim Indian

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IJMEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #ViolenceNoMore, a campaign by International Justice Mission and Youth Ki Awaaz to fight against daily violence faced by marginalised communities. Speak out against systemic violence by publishing a story here.

Lynchers, potential lynchers, aspiring lynchers, lynching organizations and their sister units are advised to maintain some control over their overtly friendly behaviour. I plead you to read this.

Though, I know, you’re far more intellectual to even comprehend this lowly language. Still, read. Others too are requested to abandon their opinions for a moment and read.

Beef and Muslims. This deadly combination has culminated into various deaths and lynches of the latter on various occasions.
It’s not that it didn’t exist before 2014. But sure, it has accelerated and even been legitimised sometimes post 2014.

Being a Muslim, it’s Harakiri for me to even write about this taboo. But after, the Bulandshahr violence, I’m pretty much aroused to clear some air on this issue.

Let’s address this issue statistically to set the ground first

  • 69% of cow-related violence has been reported in UP
  • Around 55% of the people attacked and 86% of those killed in gau-raksha hate violence are Muslims
  • In 23 attacks, the attackers were mobs or groups of people who belonged to Hindu groups, such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and local Gau Rakshak Samitis.
  • Muslims were the target of 51% of violence that revolved around on cow ‘protection’ issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed in 63 incidents.
  • Of the 63 attacks since 2010, 33 (52.4%) were based on rumours
  • 97% of beef-related violence took place after Modi government came to power
  • As many as 124 people were also injured in these attacks.
    (Source: IndiaSpend, Not WhatsApp University)

These statistics say it loud and clear, communal violence is widespread and is still spreading and engulfing the whole country. Time and time again, this issue has been used by people with vested interests to arouse communal tension.

Like one wise bigot said, ‘Slaughter a cow and throw carcass around a Temple, slaughter a pig and throw carcass around a Mosque and watch the world burn’. Now, cow-related violence is no more only a religious issue, but also a full-fledged and explicit excuse to flare up communal tensions. It has been discussed at length at every possible platform, but obviously, not to resolve the issue but to demonize beef eaters, enhance hatred towards them and contribute to their eventual lynching. All these discussions lack perspective, the perspective of a Muslim. How can one pass judgement on someone without actually knowing their intent and reasons to eat beef?

I grew up in a small town named Athagarh in Odisha. I was oblivious about Hindu-Muslims tensions prevailing everywhere. My life in Odisha was rather a very pleasant one. My friends were Hindus mostly and our neighbours were Hindus too. They always treated us like one of their own. They would celebrate Eid with us. Our families would celebrate Diwali together. Our Maghrib Adhaan was equally timed with their Aartis. They never complained about our Adhaans, instead embraced them.
Every Raksha Bandhan, they would come and tie rakhis to my hands and I’ll make some promises.

Every time I went to their house, I would offer pranam to Jagannath. Every Hindu in our neighbourhood would come to our house every Eid to savour delicious sewainya. On Rath Yatra, we would all go and take part in processions. My Hindu friends have even helped me with sneaking into the Jagannath temple where Muslims aren’t allowed. What I’ve learnt from my experience is that we have to respect each other to be with each other.

Beef-eating is nowhere mentioned in the Hadith or the Quran. The general perception among Hindus and Muslims is that beef plays a significant role in the Muslim diet, which is outrageously false. Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, the fourth Khalifa as per Sunni belief, has been quoted in Sharh Nahjul Balagha, as saying: ‘Do not make your stomach a graveyard of animals’.

Islam, instead of killing of animals always advocated for a more vegetarian diet. According to well known Islamic scholars, there is no Hadith available which confirms that the Prophet, in fact, ate beef. There are a number of authenticated statements of the Prophet, which do confirm that beef, ie cow’s meat, can cause illness, while the cow’s milk and fat can cure and heal.

Muslim countries relied on a non-vegetarian diet for the lack of options. In West Asia, there was very less availability of agricultural land. On the contrary, India has agricultural land in abundance. Non-vegetarian diet got popularized in India due to Muslim rulers, who themselves came from West Asia. Most Muslims in India eat beef due to economic compulsions. Mutton is highly popular among Muslims, but they’re priced double than beef. Both have somewhat similar taste and meat quantity extracted from a cow is significantly more than meat from a goat. It’s economical for Muslims to eat beef rather than spending more on mutton. Beef and mutton are easily substitutive. Even goats aren’t available all around the country. And if you’re thinking, cows are kidnapped before slaughtering, you’re wrong. Cows are supplied to slaughterhouses after their lactation period is over, and most cow owners are Hindus. When Slaughter Houses were banned in UP, the worst sufferers were cow owners, who had no idea about what to do with cows when they were past their lactating age.


The issue of cow slaughter is raked time to time for all the wrong reasons. The issue is raised by political parties, less for the welfare of cows, more to use this issue to demonise and segregate Muslims. The word ‘Cow Vigilantes’ is very flattering, media should use the word ‘Cow Terrorists’ instead because all they do is terrorising. Liberals flaunting beef eating as an act of defiance to the right wing does no good either, but increases hatred towards Muslims.

For Hindus, cows are sacred and they attach deep religious sentiments with them. My religion teaches me to respect that. Why can’t we stop eating beef as a mark of respect towards the Hindu fraternity? Why can’t we abandon a tradition, that was never our own? Beef eating isn’t a part of Muslim tradition. PERIOD.

And If my conscience does allow me to eat beef, I’ll eat beef and I’ve the fundamental right to eat it. Lynch mobs don’t have the corresponding right to lynch me. They can be mad at me, but they can’t intimidate me or kill me for my preferences. My preferences are my own and no lynch mob can interfere in that even if they have active political backing. If I’m smuggling beef illegally, go and report that to the police. You don’t have any right to take the law into your own hands. Respect is always mutual. You’ve to accept my freedom and I’ve to respect your feelings.

Our society is based on accepting and embracing differences in opinions. In the event of differences, violence is never a way out, understanding and respect is. Let’s work for a better world.

I hope, I don’t get lynched for my political incorrectness.

References: DailyPioneer, Indiaspend

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