The Global Social Network
Islamophobia is no longer extreme; the year 2017 saw it go mainstream in Europe, India, the United States and several other parts of the world.
Openly Islamophobic Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States in 2017. India's largest state of Uttar Pradesh elected rabidly anti-Muslim chief minister Yogi Adiyanath who was hand-picked by Muslim-hating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017. Neo-Nazis made significant electoral gains with their anti-Islam rhetoric in several European nations while Burma and Israel continued to get away with the murder of innocent Muslim civilians in 2017.
These alarming trends are reminiscent of the rise of Nazi Party led by Germany's Adolf Hitler who brought disaster to Europe and the rest of the world less than a century ago.
Trump's Muslim Ban:
The year of Islamophobia began in earnest on January 20, 2017 with the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump who called for "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States during his successful electoral campaign. Among the first executive orders he signed was a "Muslim Ban" from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Then came an avalanche of a large number of Islamophobic tweets and retweets from Trump's twitter account. Some recent Trump retweets were of tweets from Britain First's Jayda Fransen. These tweets and retweets were swiftly denounced by top British and Dutch officials. Trump did not apologize.
Trump developed a pattern of using terror attacks to tweet against Muslims while ignoring similar or worse terror attacks by others.
Trump closed the year with recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a recognition that prior US administrations had withheld pending negotiations and final settlement of the issues between Israelis and Palestinians.
Hindu Nazis in India:
Yogi Adiyanath, known for his highly inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, was hand-picked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to head India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
Yogi wants to "install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque”. Before his election, he said, “If one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police, we’ll kill 10 Muslims”. He endorsed the beef lynching of Indian Muslim Mohammad Akhlaque and demanded that the victim's family be charged with cow slaughter.
In an op ed titled "Hitler's Hindus: The Rise and Rise of India's Nazi-Loving Nationalists" published by leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, author Shrenik Rao has raised alarm bells about "large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis, who are digitally connected to neo-Nazi counterparts across the world".
Rao talks about Nagpur, a town he describes as the "epicenter of Hindu Nationalism", where he found ‘Hitler’s Den’ pool parlor "that shocked me on a round-India trip 10 years ago was no outlier. Admiration for Nazism – often reframed with a genocidal hatred for Muslims – is rampant in the Hindu nationalist camp, which has never been as mainstream as it is now".
Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for the Nazi leader, including his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".
Islamophobia in Europe:
Dutch expert Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia summed up the rise of Islamophobes in Europe well when he said: "The far right in Europe is more popular today than it was at any time in postwar history".
Alternative für Deutschland (AFD), a modern re-incarnation of Hitler's Nazi Party, stunned the world by becoming the third largest party in German Bundestag in 2017.
Last year, AFD's anti-Islam policies replaced its anti-EU focus with the slogan “Islam is not a part of Germany” emerging from the party’s spring 2017 conference.
In Austria, far-right Freedom Party candidate Sebastian Kurz was recently elected chancellor on the party's anti-Islam platform.
Earlier in 2017, the Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders became the second largest force in parliament.
The French National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen received nearly 34 percent of votes in the May 2017 presidential run-off that was won by Emmanuel Macron.
Neo-Nazis and Hindu Nazis on Social Media:
The advent and growth of online social media have enabled a large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis connected to neo-Nazi counterparts in Europe and America. This came to light a few years ago when the Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto against the "Islamization of Western Europe" was heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states. This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.
"It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical," Breivick wrote in his manifesto. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that "in the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue."
Indian Textbooks Praise Nazis:
Adulation for for Hitler has found its way into Indian textbooks to influence young impressionable minds. Here's how Rao describes it:
In 2004, when now-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, school textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board portrayed Hitler as a hero, and glorified fascism.
The tenth-grade social studies textbook had chapters entitled "Hitler, the Supremo," and "Internal Achievements of Nazism." The section on the "Ideology of Nazism" reads: "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government. He adopted the policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and advocated the supremacy of the German race." The tenth-grade social studies textbook, published by the state of Tamil Nadu in 2011 (with multiple revised editions until 2017) includes chapters glorifying Hitler, praising his "inspiring leadership," "achievements" and how the Nazis "glorified the German state" so, "to maintain a German race with Nordic elements, [Hitler] ordered the Jews to be persecuted."
Mein Kampf has also gone mainstream, becoming a "must-read" management strategy book for India’s business school students. Professors teaching strategy lecture about how a short, depressed man in prison made a goal of taking over the world and built a strategy to achieve it.
Modi and Trump:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has built his entire political career on the intense hatred of Muslims. US President Donald Trump built his successful presidential campaign on Islamophobia and xenophobia. That's what the two men have in common.
Just as white racists form the core of Trump's support base in America, the Modi phenomenon in India has been fueled by Hindu Nationalists whose leaders have praised Adolph Hitler for his hatred of Jews.
M.S. Golwalkar, a Hindu Nationalist who Mr. Modi has described as "worthy of worship" wrote the following about Muslims in his book "We":
"Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
"To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
The simultaneous rise of Neo Nazis in the West and the Hindu Nazis in India represents a very serious and growing threat to world peace. Their combined menace can lead to a devastating third world war with nuclear weapons if these trends are not halted and reversed soon. I hope good sense prevails among the voters in these countries to pull the world back from the brink of human catastrophe.
A Conversation With White Nationalist Jared Taylor on Race in America
Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World
Anders Breivik: Islamophobia in Europe and India
Hindutva: The Legacy of the British Raj
#Islamophobia, #casteism characterize #Hindu comics Amar Chitra Katha. #BJP #Modi #Hinduism
since its debut in 1967, ACK has also helped supply impressionable generations of middle-class children a vision of “immortal” Indian identity wedded to prejudiced norms. ACK’s writing and illustrative team (led by Pai as the primary “storyteller”) constructed a legendary past for India by tying masculinity, Hinduism, fair skin, and high caste to authority, excellence, and virtue. On top of that, his comics often erased non-Hindu subjects from India’s historic and religious fabric. Consequently, ACK reinforced many of the most problematic tenets of Hindu nationalism—tenets that partially drive the platform of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, currently under fire domestically and internationally for policies and rhetoric targeting religious minorities and lower castes.
Yet millions of children—myself included—revered “Uncle Pai” for creating a popular avenue to an Indian heritage, however limited. Like many other Indian diaspora kids, my mother brought her own collection when she immigrated to the United States as a 9-year-old in 1973. My family had built a library of some 90 issues by the time I began to read them, tattered from decades of swapping between cousins. When I was a boy growing up in upstate New York, my parents had no Indian friends or nearby relatives. We only spoke in English and ate burritos more often than dal bhat.
The heroes of ACK became my superheroes long before I discovered Spider-Man or the Flash. They also became my first window into a culture I barely knew. I didn’t care that the protagonists I was reading about were drawn with white skin. I was unaware of the broader, ongoing effort by Hindu nationalists to define a doctrine devaluing lower castes, women, tribal populations, and religious minorities. I didn’t understand how ideals of obedience to authority—something the comics taught—can feed systemic inequality. I was just reading about heroes who made me feel stronger than I was, and who would teach me, I believed, how to be Indian.
* * *
ACK defines Indian identity via stories—which naturally appealed to a bookish child like me who constantly escaped into the worlds of Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, and C.S. Lewis. Most histories in the comics feature virtuous Hindus who fight against evil rulers, an encroaching Muslim horde, or arrogant British imperialists. The religious stories are drawn from (usually Hindu) epics, sacred texts, and folktales, and they frequently weave the same gods and heroes among minor vignettes and massive story arcs. Though many ACK issues could stand alone, roughly 30 pages at a time the series constructed a limited and tonally consistent India sanitized through a distinctively Hindu lens.
While many scholars reject the notion of a single Hindu doctrine, they have some opponents. In 2008, Hindu nationalist students at Delhi University protested the inclusion of A.K. Ramanujan’s landmark essay “Three Hundred Ramayanas” in the history syllabus. The protestors alleged that it demeaned Hinduism to imply nonclassical versions of the epic were equally legitimate. Under a renewed wave of dissent in 2011, the university dropped the essay from the syllabus.
#Islamophobia rampant in #India’s school. #Muslim children being bullied while teachers turn a blind eye in #Modi’s India. #BJP #Hindutva
‘I hate Muslims’: A book uncovers the bullying faced by Muslim children in many Indian schools
Nazia Erum’s book tells of Muslim children being beaten up and called terrorists by their classmates and teachers who look the other way, or worse.
My neighbour Arifa, a forty-five-year-old art curator, is the mother of two boys, who studied in the Lotus Valley International School on the Noida-Greater Noida expressway. A major terrorist attack had occurred the night before. Saad, her ten-year-old younger son, was then in Class 5. In his classroom, the newspaper was lying on the teacher’s desk as the students waited for their English class to start. The teacher walked in, picked up the newspaper and read aloud the headlines about the attack to the class. “What is happening in the world!” she exclaimed with a sigh as she sat down.
Suddenly, one of the students called out Saad’s name loudly. “Saaad, yeh kya kar diya tumne? [What did you do, Saaad?]”
There was silence in the class. The words stuck in Saad’s throat. He felt all eyes on him, waiting for him to say something. He was hot and angry. But he couldn’t find the words to retaliate. The question settled uncomfortably in the classroom, filling the air with tension. Through the incident, the teacher did not bother to look up. “I kept waiting for my teacher to react and scold the classmate, but she didn’t react. She kept sitting there in front of us without saying a word. After a while she stood up and began the class. I was silent, I didn’t respond and kept sitting there. I didn’t really know what to do.”
Arifa says the unmistakable changes came in after the national election campaigns in 2014. “People just became very in-your-face with their feelings about Muslims. And this I noticed was being reflected in their children at school. Bullying had always existed, but it was different before, largely comprising childish rebukes and stupid, dumb things being said to each other in schools. This has changed now. When a Muslim student is bullied it is on pronounced religious lines. Now he is called Baghdadi, Bangladeshi, Pakistani or simply a terrorist. Everyone’s speech is borrowed from the language used in the news [channels].”
While such slurs have been used since the 1990s, the tone and intensity have changed, especially over the last five years. Earlier the remarks were innocuous and infrequent. Now they occur more often and are marked by hostility rather than humour. Not that humour justifies the taunts. It shows how deeply entrenched the association of a Muslim to terror is. The context is different now and possibly feeds on the changes – global terrorism in the name of Islam has increased dramatically over the last fifteen years with ISIL (or ISIS) alone responsible for 95% of deaths from claimed terrorist attacks.
At the same time, the past decade has seen a rise in Hindu right-wing sentiment within India and a slew of distorted narratives that portray Muslims as invaders, anti-national and a threat to national security. These took centre stage in the run-up to the polarising national elections of 2014. From my conversations with many others across the country, it seems this consciousness has now been handed down to the children of our country.
Arifa’s elder son, Raffat, was called a “terrorist” casually in a fight when he was seventeen years old in 2016.
Arifa was appalled and immediately contacted the mother of the name-caller through the class WhatsApp group. “But your kid also called my child names! He called him fat!” was all that the mother had to say.
#India's 'internet #Hindus' are in love with #Israel. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #NetanyahuInIndia - Israel News - http://Haaretz.com
Hindu nationalists incessantly tweet their support and admiration for Israel, an online force that helped push Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a landslide victory in 2014
Saudamini Jain Jan 15, 2018 4:14 PM
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903
In New Delhi, Anshul Saxena spends three to four hours a day on Israel.
The 26-year-old gathers information from right-wing websites, blogs, Wikipedia, the American Jewish Committee website and India-Israel friendship forums. He has set up alerts to be notified of any India-Israel news, and tries to tweet about Israel every day.
>> The Indian Jews at the Heart of the Netanyahu-Modi Love Affair
skip - Netanyahu arrival
Back in November, he announced a celebration party when he first heard that Netanyahu would be visiting. Sometimes, the tweets are about Israel in general and the lessons India can learn from it.
A few months earlier, in July, he wrote: “Israel revived its Hebrew, whose fate was similar to Sanskrit about 7 decades ago. India should learn from Israel, We can revive Sanskrit.”
skip - Hebrew/Sanskrit
>>Netanyahu's India agenda: Business, ceremonies and a little Bollywood
Other times, he’s inspired by the news. Last month, he wrote, comparing Jerusalem to the northern Indian city where a 16th-century mosque was demolished by right-wing Hindu mobs 25 years ago: “India should shift embassy from Tel Aviv to #Jerusalem. And also recognize that Temple Mount belongs to the only Jewish people. What Ayodhya Ram Mandir to Hindus, same Temple Mount to Jews.”
skip - Jerusalem/Adhoya
The goal is to convince Indians that Israel is their country’s best friend. Saxena has nearly 70,000 followers (and won about 5,000 new followers within six hours of Netanyahu’s arrival on Sunday.) He is one of the 1,861 accounts followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
His tweet about Hebrew inspiring a revival of Sanskrit has been retweeted 1,275 times and liked 1,982 times. The ones about Netanyahu have been retweeted a few hundred times.
Saxena drafts his tweets on a Word document – sometimes hundreds on a given theme. “The first thing I try is to make them informative and not controversial or humorous,” he says. Then he forwards them to his friends – his “core team” of 50 people. On a group chat, they write their views and choose hashtags.
Anshul Saxena at a pro-Israel event he organized on a south Delhi street corner, where he handed out local dishes to passersby, January 2018.Manu Misra
Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
“There are groups on Twitter, WhatsApp, social media .... Each person has 500 to 1,000 people, some are in 100 to 200 groups,” he says. “They’re all pro-Israeli as well. So ... it keeps getting forwarded and circulated on social media.”
In the summer of 2015, when Modi announced plans to visit Israel, tens of thousands of people (both Israelis and Indians – largely Hindus – in India and the diaspora) celebrated India-Israel brotherhood, and condemned the Palestinians, Pakistanis and Muslims in general. There were flags, quotes and memes. #IndiaWithIsrael trended a second time within a few days when India abstained from a July vote against Israel at the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR.
Over the next two years, Saxena campaigned for #WorstIranDeal (“Iran Nuclear Deal is not only Threat to our friend @Israel but for the whole World, he tweeted), and #IndiaAgainstPalestinianTerror (“I started it in the evening, but it failed, so I started again the next day, only then did it become successful”).
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903
A leading member of #Germany's anti-#Islam AfD has resigned after converting to Islam. #Islamophobia
A German politician who was a member of a controversial far-right party that believes "Islam is not a part of Germany" has resigned amid reports that he has converted to Islam.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported that Arthur Wagner left the Alternative for Germany (AfD), where he was a member in the eastern state of Brandenburg, citing personal reasons for his decision.
But speaking to Germany’s Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday, AfD spokesman Daniel Friese claimed that Wanger had converted to Islam and that the AfD had “no problem with that.”
The anti-immigration party received a surge in support in Germany's 2017 election, securing a record 12.6% of the vote and raising pressure on embattled Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been outspoken in her support for refugees and migrants settling in the country.
Starting out as a Eurosceptic party less than a decade ago, the AfD capitalized on popular discontent about Merkel's policy on refugees, particularly in her home state of Bavaria, using openly anti-Muslim rhetoric in its campaign material. The party won 94 seats in parliament, although two of those members have since left.
While widely perceived as anti-Muslim, AfD officials have argued that while they reject multiculturalism, they support freedom of religion.
Wagner, who was once a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), joined the AfD in 2015, as the party began ramping up its anti-Muslim rhetoric. A manifesto approved by the party a year later even called for banning the call to prayer and the full face veil in public.
The Russian-German politician was tight-lipped on the reasons for his reported conversion, telling national newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that the matter was “my private business” but insisted that the AfD had not pressured him to leave their ranks.
The AfD’s stances are on the fringes of German politics but polls show they have only increased their popularity since the September election, while Merkel's winning CDU has failed to assemble a majority coalition. Polling at 14 percent, the AfD are only four points adrift from the second biggest party in Germany—the Social Democrats, Politico reported.
The left wing party initially ruled out joining Merkel in a coalition government for another term but as other possibilities for a deal with non-AfD parties in parliament have been unsuccessful, the Social Democrats have voted to begin coalition talks again.
Anti #Muslim protest gets prayer room scrapped at #PeyongChang2018 Winter Olympics #Islamophobia
By and large, PyeongChang has gone out of its way to welcome the world for the 2018 Winter Olympics. But not everyone in the South Korean host city is feeling the Olympic spirit.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has announced that it will no longer go forward with plans to set up a mobile multi-faith prayer room for spectators in Gangneung, where all of the Games’ indoor events are taking place, following “strong opposition” from anti-Muslim protestors, according to Al Jazeera’s Haeyoon Kim and Faras Ghani.
“We sat down with them for talks, but in the end, we had to cancel the plans,” Gangneung city government tourism division chief Kang Suk-ho told Al Jazeera.
The KTO’s Kim Yeong-ju told Korea Exposé’s Ho Kyeong Jang that opposition to the prayer rooms was so strong that local officials “could no longer do their jobs.”
Much of the hostility has flowed from the PyeongChang Olympics Gangwon Citizens’ Islam Countermeasure Association, a relatively new group that pushed a petition against the prayer room via Google. The petition — which stoked fear about radical Islam in the South Korean province of Gangwon — has collected more than 56,000 digital signatures.
“The government has already spent too much of the taxpayers’ money on the Games, and we shouldn’t spend more building a prayer room,” Seo Ji-hyun, the director of operations at the Islam Countermeasure Association, told Al Jazeera. He also suggested that Muslims should refrain from prayer at the Olympic Games as they supposedly would while flying or driving.
Islamophobia is nothing new in South Korea, where Muslims comprise just 0.2 percent of an overall population of 51 million. The Citizens’ Association for a Proper Country, a civic group led by Jeong Hyeong-man, has advocated against halal-friendly establishments and warned against “the increase of Muslim terrorist bases in Korea.”
Muslim athletes in PyeongChang still have access to a cafeteria serving certified halal food. And all visitors to the Winter Games who adhere to the faith can count on vociferous support from the Korean Muslim Federation.
“This decision demonstrates that we, as a host country, lack thoughtful understanding,” Lee Ju-hwa, a KMF representative, told Al Jazeera in a statement, before adding, “Instead of claiming that the installation of a prayer room is preferential treatment given to a certain religion, we need to raise awareness that it was to consider others with different faith and beliefs.”
The move comes as another blow to the host country’s attempts to bolster its image as a “Muslim-friendly Korea.” According to the KTO, South Korea saw a 33-percent year-over-year increase in Muslim tourists between 2015 and 2016, and welcomed 1.7 million members of the faith as visitors in 2017.
Indian Children’s Book Lists Hitler as Leader ‘Who Will Inspire You’
By KAI SCHULTZMARCH 17, 2018
An Indian publisher came under fire this week for including Hitler in a children’s book about world leaders who have “devoted their lives for the betterment of their country and people.”
“Dedicated to the betterment of countries and people? Adolf Hitler? This description would bring tears of joy to the Nazis and their racist neo-Nazi heirs,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, said in a statement.
Published by the Pegasus imprint of India’s B. Jain Publishing Group, the book, called “Leaders” — but listed on the publisher’s website as “Great Leaders” — spotlights 11 leaders “who will inspire you,” according to a product description on the publisher’s website.
On the book’s cover, a stony-faced Hitler is featured alongside Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. Also included on the cover is Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has recently come under sharp criticism for refusing to acknowledge atrocities committed by the country’s military against the Rohingya ethnic group.
Earlier this week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is based in Los Angeles, called for the publisher to remove “Great Leaders” from circulation and its online store, where it is sold for about $2.
“Placing Hitler alongside truly great political and humanitarian leaders is an abomination that is made worse as it targets young people with little or no knowledge of world history and ethics,” Rabbi Cooper said in the statement.
Annshu Juneja, a publishing manager at the imprint, said by email that Hitler was featured because, like Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, “his leadership skills and speeches influenced masses.”
“We are not talking about his way of conduct or his views or whether he was a good leader or a bad leader but simply portraying how powerful he was as a leader,” he said.
The publisher had not previously received any complaints about the book, the email said, including from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In parts of Asia, atrocities committed in Nazi Germany are poorly understood and Hitler is sometimes glorified as a strong, effective leader.
In 2004, reports surfaced of high-school textbooks in the state of Gujarat, which was then led by Mr. Modi, that spoke glowingly of Nazism and fascism.
According to The Times of India, in a section called “Ideology of Nazism,” the textbook said Hitler had “lent dignity and prestige to the German government,” “made untiring efforts to make Germany self-reliant” and “instilled the spirit of adventure in the common people.” Only briefly does the book mention the extermination of millions of Jews and others by the end of World War II.
Dilip D’Souza, an Indian journalist, wrote in a 2012 editorial that when 25 mostly upper-middle-class students taught by his wife at a private French school in Mumbai were asked to name the historical figure they most admired, nine of them picked Hitler.
“ ‘And what about the millions he murdered?’ asked my wife. ‘Oh, yes, that was bad,’ said the kids. ‘But you know what, some of them were traitors.’ ”
The statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center said that “Great Leaders” had been sold this month at the Krithi International Book Fair in Kochi, a city with a long Jewish heritage. The 48-page book was originally published in 2016, according to the publisher’s website, and it was still available for sale online on Saturday. It is unclear who wrote it.
#Indian #Muslim: How I Got Over That Dark Geographic Shadow Called #Pakistan: “Musalman ke do hi sthaan, qabristan ya Pakistan” (A Muslim has only two choices of abode – graveyard or Pakistan). #BJP #Modi #Islamophobia
https://thewire.in/culture/how-i-got-over-that-dark-geographic-shad... … via @thewire_in
Pakistan became an enemy that came between my friends and me occasionally, and between my country and me often. My yearning for acceptance of my loyalty as an Indian was strong, even though it came at the cost of irrationally bashing ‘Pakistan’ for its cricket and its politics, and anything that kept me on ‘the side of my people’ was acceptable to me.
So, Pakistan, with which I had maintained a safe distance growing up, came close, uncomfortably close, when my husband had to travel to Pakistan for his journalistic pursuits. It was almost an irritation when my father had to go to the Pakistan High Commission to fetch my husband’s visa in his absence.
My work got me in touch with Pakistani academics and researchers, and that is when I began to know Pakistan as its people. I found a window into their research, courses, and universities, daily email exchange and communication grew, and very soon my Facebook profile could list at least a hundred ‘friends’ in Pakistan. In early 2017, as my son recovered from a major heart surgery at Jaypee Hospital, I learnt of a family who had traveled from Pakistan for their son’s surgery. Our children were in the same ICU, fighting bravely for life, and outside, their Indian and Pakistani mothers shared their grief and bonded over the pain that they were going through. After three months of tough fight, the Pakistani boy passed away, and I remember his inconsolable mother as she cried in disbelief at her misfortune and the futility of her struggle. The little hope and courage that I would gather every day to see my son for two minutes every morning in the ICU seemed ruptured, and I could feel her pain. I hugged her, as this was the only solace that I could offer to another mother, who happened to be a Pakistani.
A few days ago, I was at the Chaophraya Emerging Leaders’ Dialogue in Bangkok. A first of its kind in a nine-year-old Track Two dialogue between India and Pakistan, the dialogue brought together mid-career professionals who represented the next generation of leadership across industry and scholarship from both countries.
I can claim to know the ‘people’ side of Pakistan now, which is as humble, passionate, and desirous of amity as are the people in India. They are also progressive, articulate, and ambitious, as are my people.
I can appreciate them for what they are without the fear of being abused and demonised for this. I have come of age. But not all Indian Muslims who are subjected to verbal abuse and violent attacks and are repeatedly asked to ‘go to Pakistan’ will have the opportunity of mental healing. School-going Muslim children, who are derogatorily called ‘Pakistani’ by their classmates, will grow up as vulnerable and marginalised adults. No cricket enthusiast will ever be able to appreciate cricket for the spirit of the game, and no one will offer a hand of friendship.
So next time, when some Vinay Katiyar (founder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s youth wing, Bajrang Dal) asks Indian Muslims to go to Pakistan, we should be able to tell him: I belong to India, it is my homeland, and Pakistanis are friends.
Rape as a political tool in India
The brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim minority group is not just about gender violence.
Mariya Salim by Mariya Salim
The gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir is a chilling reminder of how sexual assault is used as a tool to instil fear among those belonging to the minority communities in India.
There have been many Indians, especially on social media platforms, who have repeatedly claimed that one must look at this rape as a gender violence crime. But to turn a blind eye to the events that took place before and after her murder and to her belonging to the Bakarwal nomadic minority would be grossly unfair.
The official investigation has already shown that there is a hate crime element to the rape and murder - in other words, the victim being attacked by her murderers had a lot to do with her being a Muslim Bakarwal.
The charge sheet reads:
In the course of investigation, it transpired that [one of the accused] was against the settlement of Bakarwals in Rasana Kootah, and Dhamyal area, and always kept on motivating the members of his community of the area not to provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance…
[Two of the accused] were also against the settlement of Bakarwals in Rasana, Kootah and Dhamyal area who had already discussed this issue [...] to Chalk out a strategy for dislodging the Bakarwals from the area. They were blaming the Bakarwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them...
This apart during investigation it transpired that a particular community had a general impression that the Bakarwals indulge in cow slaughter and drug trafficking and that their children were turning into drug addicts...
Thus during investigation it has become abundantly clear that the accused had a reason to act against the Bakarwal Community and hence the conspiracy ultimately resulting into the gruesome rape and brutal murder …"
One could easily see in these lines elements of the demonising stereotypes that have provoked attacks on minorities across India in recent years. In 2017 alone, accusations of cow slaughter (forbidden in most Indian states) against minority communities resulted in dozens of mob lynching and 11 deaths.
Furthermore, tensions between the Hindu majority and minorities have also resulted in communal violence in the past in which women and girls have been specifically targeted, as was the case in Gujarat in 2002 and Uttar Pradesh in 2013.
In this sense, it is difficult to see the sexual assault and murder in Kathua only in the framework of gender violence. Unfortunately, we live at a time when rape has become a political tool to instil fear among minority groups in India.
#India is a ‘republic of fear’. #Modi's guru Savarkar writes that the #rape of #Muslim women is justifiable and that not to do so when the occasion permits is not virtuous or chivalrous, but cowardly. #Islamophobia #AsifaBano #Kashmir
India is a ‘republic of fear’. The UK must keep the pressure on Modi
The Indian PM is in Britain. Let’s hold him to account for the horrific rapes committed in the name of Hindu nationalism
The writings of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the revered icon of the Hindu right make Hindutva ideology and the notion of a Hindu nation crystal clear. In the context of rape, for example, he writes that the rape of Muslim women is justifiable and that not to do so when the occasion permits is not virtuous or chivalrous, but cowardly.
Such writings legitimised the rapes and murders of Muslim women in Gujarat in 2002, and the recent Kathua child-rape case. As feminist academic Tanika Sarkar wrote about Gujarat, “the pattern of cruelty suggests three things: One that a women’s body was a site of almost inexhaustible violence, with infinitely plural and innovative forms of torture. Second, their sexual and reproductive organs were attacked with a special savagery. Third, their children born and unborn shared the attacks and were killed before their eyes.”
It would be wrong however to see these cases as simply part of the violence against women which has been endemic in India. In Kathua, in Jammu and Kashmir state, an eight-year-old Muslim girl was abducted, drugged and brutally gang-raped and murdered in a Hindu temple by a group of men. According to the charge sheet of those arrested, it was planned and executed in order to terrorise the nomadic Muslim Bakarwal community to which she belonged and drive them out of the region. The attempt to lodge the charge sheet against the accused at a local court was followed by violent protests in their defence by a pro-Modi Hindu rightwing outfit, the Hindu Ekta Manch. Two BJP ministers attended the protests and urged the crowd to obstruct the prosecution of the accused.
Why India's rape crisis is getting worse under Narendra Modi
An 8-year-old Muslim girl was locked in a Hindu shrine, drugged, gang-raped for several days and bludgeoned to death with a stone.
As if the January killing in northern India weren't horrifying enough, lawyers and right-wing Hindus this month marched in defense of her assailants. Prime Minister Narendra Modi waited several days before condemning the crime, which was reported by police this month, then accused his critics of politicizing the issue.
The case has provoked nationwide outrage not seen since 2012, when a 23-year-old physiotherapist was gang-raped and killed on a bus in New Delhi. That crime prompted calls for tougher laws to address the nearly 39,000 sexual assaults that occur in this country every year.
But more than five years later, the number of rapes reported to police is rising. And the attack on the girl is just one of a series of recent cases that suggest India's religious and political divisions — which are widening under Modi's Hindu nationalist government — are making the crisis worse.
Who is the victim?
Eight-year-old Asifa was a member of a nomadic Muslim community that takes its sheep and goats to graze during the winter in a part of India's Jammu and Kashmir state that is dominated by Hindus, India's predominant religion.
Tensions had been building for years over whether the nomads, known as Bakarwals, should have grazing rights. Jammu and Kashmir is India's only majority-Muslim state, its northern end home to a long-running separatist insurgency.
According to authorities, Sanji Ram, a retired bureaucrat, hatched a conspiracy to kill the girl in an effort to drive the nomads from the area. One day in January, when Asifa went to bring home the family's horses, Ram's nephew abducted her and locked her in the temple, where Ram is the caretaker.
Sedated with local drugs, she was raped repeatedly — including by Ram's son, who was summoned from 300 miles away to "satisfy his lust" — before being bashed in the head with a 2-pound stone and dumped in a forest, where her body lay for three days, police said. Two local police officers accepted nearly $5,000 in bribes from Ram to destroy evidence, according to police.
A backdrop of communal violence
The case received little attention until the police report became public this month, its grisly details and motive for the crime adding to the atrocities suffered by Muslims under Modi's government.
Hindu extremists have been accused of killing Muslims whom they falsely accused of possessing beef, which is anathema to orthodox Hindus. Others have claimed a plot by Muslims to overtake the country — which is 80% Hindu — by forcibly converting Hindu brides to Islam, a practice they dub "love jihad."
In this case, a newly formed right-wing group called Hindu Ekta Manch, or Forum for Hindu Unity, organized rallies in defense of the eight men arrested in the Asifa case, arguing they had been framed. Some demonstrators waved the tricolor Indian flag. Among the participants were two state officials with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, who later were forced to resign.
Last week, when police attempted to submit charges against the men — who pleaded not guilty — the courthouse was blocked by a group of lawyers who said the investigation was harassing Hindus. Misinformation on right-wing social media channels contended that Asifa hadn't been raped, prompting state police to issue a statement over the weekend saying that the facts of the case were "established beyond doubt."
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, one of India's foremost public intellectuals, wrote that the public responses suggested that the country's moral compass had been destroyed and that "state, law, civil society, now understand only a sectarian language."