“Everyone in my locality says that Muslims are spreading the Coronavirus,” with these words, our maid left the job abruptly at the start of the lockdown.
My mother was shocked. This was the closest experience we had in recent times of the whole Islamophobic reaction. It is chilling, yet the gravity of the incident is nothing compared to what some Muslims are facing in our country. Islamophobia is on a rise in India. There are growing incidences of Muslim community being targeted as a result of venomous Islamophobic campaign. Sane societies are astonished to see the violent side of Hinduism; until now, for the world, Hinduism was synonymous with spirituality. It has put the democratic and secular credentials of our country in doubt.
So what is Islamophobia? As per Gallup.com, it means“an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life”.
Simply to equate Islamophobia in India, it is racism plus ongoing violence against Muslims by Hindutva ideology groups. Let’s look at some examples of how it results in.
Mohammed Saleem, a daily wager who was helping his brother sell vegetables in Delhi’s Tajpur road during the lockdown, was abused and beaten up. Post confirming he is a Muslim, his abuser shouted, “Tum logo ne Jihad macha diya hai. (You guys are doing Jihad)“ The Delhi police have made an arrest in this incident.
At the time when our country is struggling with Coronavirus pandemic, Islamophobic hashtags like #CoronaJihad and alike appeared on social media. This is to spread misinformation, fear, and hatred that Muslims are intentionally spreading the virus. People are being advised, some by BJP lawmakers, to stay away from Muslims even calling it bioterrorism.
BJP, Hindutva outfits, and lapdog media is a deadly combination and more dangerous than a virus for our nation. These media channels are hotspots for spreading racism and Islamophobia. Recently, police registered cases against Zee News Sudhir Chaudhary, News 18’s Amish Devgan, and Republic Tv’s Arnab Goswamy for targeting Muslims.
Through an orchestrated campaign, every aspect of a Muslim’s life is being made controversial. As put by Hilal Ahmed in his book Siyasi Muslims, “In the past four years, we have been repeatedly told that Muslims’ eating habits are anti-Hindu/anti-national as they eat beet; that Muslims men don’t love, they make love -jihad with Hindu girls; the Muslims couples deliberately have sex to increase their community’s population to outnumber the Hindus; and that they offer namaz on roads to convert public lands into mosque territory! This propaganda is followed by actual violence against Muslims-lynching, molestation, and even rape.”
Now comes the critical question, what is the vaccine for this virus of hate?
To join the campaign against hate, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org