The Muslims-related discourse has taken a very dangerous turn

Image source: The Economist

If your news sources are not all Right-wing echo chambers, you must have noticed a very alarming trend all over the world in general and pertaining to India in particular.

Every day you must be coming across articles and opinion pieces telling you that the Muslim community in India is going through most serious existential crisis under the “Hindu nationalist” government headed by a “Hindu nationalist” Prime Minister.

They cannot name Narendra Modi without the prefix “Hindu nationalist” and they cannot talk about the BJP without the prefix “Hindu nationalist party”. As long as it is the usual political propaganda and posturing, although you may feel annoyed, you can ignore it.

But the discourse enters a dark realm when these articles, editorials and opinion pieces tell you that Muslims are being killed in India with impunity with the silent acknowledgement of the government and they are constantly being discriminated against. They are being killed for eating cow meat and in some neighborhoods, it is becoming difficult even to get houses. I just now searched for “muslims india” on Google News, and at the top these results showed up:

· Why Hindutva’s Dark Fantasy About India’s Muslims Could Become Real

· Zafar Agha on Indian Muslims in the times of Narendra Modi — The May 23 results will invariably lead to the community wondering if it is the end of the road for them in this country notwithstanding reassuring speeches made by the Prime Minister

· For India’s Muslims, palpable fear of what another Modi term brings

· What does Modi’s return to power mean for India’s Muslims? — After landslide victory India’s PM reaches out to Muslims, who fear they will continue to be target of Hindu hardliners.

· Narendra Modi’s victory worries Indian Muslims — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reelection has alarmed many Indian Muslims, who believe that their political interests will continue to be undermined by the Hindu nationalist politician. Faisal Fareed reports.

· Does Modi’s Re-Election Threaten India’s Muslims? — The re-election of India’s Hindu right-wing government could put minorities at risk.

· Being Muslim in New India is an inherently existential struggle, subsumed as community is under an emergent Hindu nation

· India’s Muslims quiver in the new dawn of an emboldened Narendra Modi

There is literally a flood of “Muslims are in grave danger in India” articles in English media. Just imagine how these headlines impact a young Muslim mind who might be looking for something positive in the world but instead, is constantly bombarded with these alarmist and mostly propagandist opinions.

This is pure incitement bordering to crime. These journalists, intellectuals and reporters are taking their frustration out through writing such articles simply because the government they wanted at the Center, didn’t come to be, and to rub salt to their wounds, the BJP government came with a greater majority than 2014.

In terms of geographic area India is the seventh largest country in the world and in terms of population, it is the second largest country just behind China. Currently India’s population is 1.36 billion. There are 150 million Muslims in the country, only second to Indonesia which has the largest number of Muslims in the world.

In such a big country with such a large population and with Hindus and Muslims being the biggest communities in the country, some sort of clashes are bound to happen, especially considering the fact that both Hindus and Muslims have lived an acrimonious coexistence in the past to the extent that a separate country was formed for all those Muslims who didn’t want to live with Hindus. Nearly 2 million people died during the riots between Hindus and Muslims in 1947 when Pakistan was formed. Still there are Muslim ghettos in India where people of other communities are scared to enter (even the writer has had such an experience).

So, yes, hostilities do raise their heads just like Whites end up killing Blacks and Blacks end up killing whites in the US and there are anti-Semitic hate crimes in other countries and there are also violent clashes between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims.

In big and densely populated countries violent clashes between different communities cannot be controlled. This should be unacceptable in any civilised country but right now, the reality is, even the first world countries cannot control such crimes and clashes. A white supremacist killed nearly 50 Muslims in New Zealand and as retaliation, an Islamic terror group killed more than 300 people in Sri Lanka.

Why it has taken a dangerous turn is that a certain section of our society, especially a section of people who call themselves liberal and secular (without actually understanding the meaning of both the terms) have taken it upon themselves to be the champions of Muslims, no matter what Muslims do.

News about an attack on a Muslim spreads like wildfire, but an attack on a Hindu is hush-hushed, ignored, or presented in such a manner that people cannot make out who attacked who. Multiple Hindus have been lynched or mobbed but these incidents are systematically ignored. Right in Delhi, a Hindu boy was slaughtered for marrying a Muslim girl. In another case, had there been a Muslim victim, the headline would have been “Muslim man beaten to death for objecting to his daughter being teased”, but since, the man was a Hindu and not a Muslim, the headline is: Delhi businessman stabbed to death for protesting daughter’s harassment. There is no problem in the second headline and every news publication should exercise restraint, but sadly, this restraint is blatantly missing when the victim is a Muslim. These are just two examples, you can find plenty of such lopsided examples every day in mainstream publications.

They are damaging the world in two ways: they continuously project Muslims as victims and provide legitimacy to their violent acts (for example, the attack in Sri Lanka) and they are also giving rise to a counterforce (for example, what happened in New Zealand). Muslims are constantly told that they are being hounded and killed and in the process, elicit aggression among Muslims. Many Islamic terror organizations quote highly biased mainstream media news reports to justify their terror attacks. Since there is aggression among Muslims, counter aggression begins to manifest in other communities because they feel that Muslim aggression is unfair.

Through constant victimhood stories, they are pitching the Muslim community against the rest of the world. If Muslims can be so assertive and aggressive about their place in the world, what stops other communities from following suit?

Take for example the current spate of articles that are constantly trying to convince you that Muslims are in grave danger in India and the current government is a Hindu nationalist party that wants to chase away all the Muslims or force them to live as second-class citizens.

What are they trying to achieve through such a sinister campaign? Have they been able to sway the Indian voters? The 2019 verdict gives you the answer. The Muslims of the country have voted for the BJP in big numbers.

So, politically, these people must have learned that, spreading such hateful propaganda, doesn’t benefit them. They may think that they will follow the same template year after year and eventually, the template may begin to pay some dividends, but they can see that all over the world, there is a tide against them and governments are forming that are antithetical to their beliefs.

Why is there an upswing in the right-wing ideology all over the world? Why anti-Muslim sentiments are taking roots? Why governments that are comparatively less sympathetic to Muslims as current governments are, gaining grounds?

It is because Muslims all over the world act like spoiled kids who want all the privileges and want everybody to adjust to their whims and fancies without acknowledging that other religions and cultures too have a right to thrive and prosper. When in minority they jump on the liberal and secular bandwagon of the left-liberals who treat them as kids who constantly need special attention.

When in majority, well, the others can exist, but they can only exist subservient to the rules and ways of the majority. No question asked. It is simply assumed. People will blame you that you are trying to provoke the Muslims if you want to follow your own ways in a Muslim country and as a result, either get persecuted legally, or get attacked in the street.

If that’s how Muslims want to live in their own countries, it’s their prerogative. The problem is, when they try to impose their ways on other people and when their aggression is portrayed as victimhood by the left-dominated media, some sort of retaliation is bound to happen, and it is natural. Every community wants to survive. Nobody likes being trodden upon and then forced to say that everything is fine.

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I don’t care much about being politically correct. Things are just right or wrong and yes, sometimes there are grey areas in this is why we write, don’t we?