2017: The Year Islamophobia Went Mainstream

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."

Summary:

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.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis

A Conversation With White Nationalist Jared Taylor on Race in America

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Modi and Trump

Anders Breivik: Islamophobia in Europe and India

Hindu Nationalism Goes Global

Hindutva: The Legacy of the British Raj

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#Islamophobia, #casteism characterize #Hindu comics Amar Chitra Katha. #BJP #Modi #Hinduism

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/12/the-comics-that-redefined-hinduism/539838/

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.

Riaz Haq said…
#Islamophobia rampant in #India’s school. #Muslim children being bullied while teachers turn a blind eye in #Modi’s India. #BJP #Hindutva

https://scroll.in/article/864056/i-hate-muslims-this-book-uncovers-the-bullying-faced-by-muslim-children-in-many-indian-schools

‘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.
Riaz Haq said…
Modi govt exports beef worth Rs.113 crores to Pakistan

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/india-exports-beef-worth-rs-113-crores-to-pakistan/

As per the government data by Ministry of Commerce (Government of India), India has exported huge quantity of buffalo meat to neighbouring countries in South Asia. The Government of India data further shows that India has exported Rs.113.10 crores of Beef (Buffalo) to Pakistan.

According to United States Department of Agriculture data, India became number 1 in Beef export replacing Brazil. The latest data from 2016 show India and Brazil tied on top — with both countries accounting for just under 20% each of the world’s total beef exports. They, along with Australia and New Zealand, are the world’s largest beef exporting countries, as per the US data.

It needs to be mentioned here that India does not export officially export the meat of cows and the beef export here means buffalo meat.

The large chunk of India’s buffalo meat exports are to Asian countries — 11 of the top 15 destinations for buffalo meat by value in 2015-16 were in Asia and 3 in Africa (Algeria, Egypt, and Angola). Russia was the 15th destination — at No. 15 in the list of the top 15.

Vietnam is the largest market for India’s buffalo meat worth 13,125 crore in 2015-2016 followed by Malaysia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Iraq stands fourth for India’s buffalo meet worth 767 crore.

It may be noted that Vietnam does not consume all the buffalo meat and bulk of its import from India make way to China.A grey market has developed in recent times, with Chinese traders reportedly using Vietnam’s Haiphong port to bring in Indian buffalo meat loaded on small vessels.

As per the Ministry of Commerce and Industry report, India exported 11, 92,327 tonnes worth 23,646 crores of buffalo meat from April-February 2016-17.

India’s beef export is attractive in the world due to its lower prices, along with the proximity to key consuming markets in Southeast Asia and West Asia,

It is really paradoxical that on the one hand the BJP government is pushing hard for a complete ban on beef including buffalo pan India and on the other hand, the government does not hesitate to export beef even to an ‘enemy’ country like Pakistan.

https://www.facebook.com/IronyOfindiaOfficial/photos/a.877444905611999.1073741826.157200500969780/1699589750064173/?type=3&theater
Riaz Haq said…
#India's 'internet #Hindus' are in love with #Israel. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #NetanyahuInIndia - Israel News - http://Haaretz.com

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903


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
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“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
Riaz Haq said…
A leading member of #Germany's anti-#Islam AfD has resigned after converting to Islam. #Islamophobia

http://www.newsweek.com/anti-islam-party-politician-resigns-converts-islam-789238

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.
Riaz Haq said…
Anti #Muslim protest gets prayer room scrapped at #PeyongChang2018 Winter Olympics #Islamophobia

https://sports.yahoo.com/anti-muslim-protests-pyeongchang-get-winter-olympics-prayer-room-scrapped-141802474.html

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.

Riaz Haq said…
By rewriting history, #Hindu nationalists lay claim to #India. #Modi has appointed committee of #Hindutva "scholars" to change #India's national identity to one based on #Hindu religion. #Islamophobia #Pakistan http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/india-modi-culture … via @SpecialReports

By RUPAM JAIN and TOM LASSETER Filed March 6, 2018, 11 a.m. GMT

NEW DELHI - During the first week of January last year, a group of Indian scholars gathered in a white bungalow on a leafy boulevard in central New Delhi. The focus of their discussion: how to rewrite the history of the nation.

The government of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi had quietly appointed the committee of scholars about six months earlier. Details of its existence are reported here for the first time.

Minutes of the meeting, reviewed by Reuters, and interviews with committee members set out its aims: to use evidence such as archaeological finds and DNA to prove that today’s Hindus are directly descended from the land’s first inhabitants many thousands of years ago, and make the case that ancient Hindu scriptures are fact not myth.

Interviews with members of the 14-person committee and ministers in Modi’s government suggest the ambitions of Hindu nationalists extend beyond holding political power in this nation of 1.3 billion people - a kaleidoscope of religions. They want ultimately to shape the national identity to match their religious views, that India is a nation of and for Hindus.

In doing so, they are challenging a more multicultural narrative that has dominated since the time of British rule, that modern-day India is a tapestry born of migrations, invasions and conversions. That view is rooted in demographic fact. While the majority of Indians are Hindus, Muslims and people of other faiths account for some 240 million, or a fifth, of the populace.

The committee’s chairman, K.N. Dikshit, told Reuters, “I have been asked to present a report that will help the government rewrite certain aspects of ancient history.” The committee’s creator, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, confirmed in an interview that the group’s work was part of larger plans to revise India’s history.

For India’s Muslims, who have pointed to incidents of religious violence and discrimination since Modi took office in 2014, the development is ominous. The head of Muslim party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Asaduddin Owaisi, said his people had “never felt so marginalised in the independent history of India.”

“The government,” he said, “wants Muslims to live in India as second-class citizens.”

Modi did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

INTO THE CLASSROOM

Helping to drive the debate over Indian history is an ideological, nationalist Hindu group called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). It helped sweep Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to power in 2014 and now counts among its members the ministers in charge of agriculture, highways and internal security.

The RSS asserts that ancestors of all people of Indian origin - including 172 million Muslims - were Hindu and that they must accept their common ancestry as part of Bharat Mata, or Mother India. Modi has been a member of the RSS since childhood. An official biography of Culture Minister Sharma says he too has been a “dedicated follower” of the RSS for many years.

Referring to the emblematic colour of the Hindu nationalist movement, RSS spokesman Manmohan Vaidya told Reuters that “the true colour of Indian history is saffron and to bring about cultural changes we have to rewrite history.”
Riaz Haq said…
Indian Children’s Book Lists Hitler as Leader ‘Who Will Inspire You’
By KAI SCHULTZMARCH 17, 2018

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/world/asia/india-hitler-childrens-book.html

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.
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump Organization real estate partner in #India accused of 'large-scale fraud' #realestate

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/379078-complaint-filed-against-trump-organizations-real-estate-partner

The Trump Organization's real estate partner in India is being accused of at least $147 million in fraud.

Two global investment companies last month filed a criminal complaint with New Delhi police against IREO, accusing the company of engaging in "large-scale fraud," The Washington Post reported.

The complaint said the company was "illegally siphoning off" at least $147 million of investor money and alleges the number could actually approach $200 million.

The real estate investment company had worked with the Trump Organization on a project in India, according to the Post.

The two companies that filed the complaint against IREO include the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and Axon Partners. The companies invested about $300 million total in IREO, according to the Post.

The criminal complaint does not mention IREO's partnership with the Trump Organization, according to the newspaper.

IREO's managing director, Lalit Goyal, wrote in a March 13 letter to the company's investors that "as far as the allegation of fraud, diversion and misappropriation of funds is concerned, that is false, baseless and devoid of any merit."

In the letter, he also called the legal proceedings a "needless and unwarranted distraction," adding that they would result in "significant damage and harm to IREO."

Goyal did not comment directly to the Post regarding the complaint.

Donald Trump Jr. has, in the past, praised IREO as "truly a fantastic group." Goyal said in an interview with the Post in 2017 that IREO thought Trump Jr. would be "the ideal partner."

The Trump Organization and IREO had first discussed working together on a commercial real estate tower around 2013, according to the Post, but that deal didn't end up happening.

In 2016, the two groups signed a licensing agreement regarding a luxury office building.

Goyal offered praise for Trump Jr., saying he was "very focused on what the commercial building should be."

"The shape of the glass, what customers like. He was very businesslike," Goyal said in the 2017 interview.

Trump Jr. took a trip to India last month to promote Trump-branded developments in a number of Indian cities. The visit drew some scrutiny after buyers of certain apartments were offered “a conversation and dinner” with Trump Jr. for a fee of $38,000.

Trump Jr. did not promote IREO on the trip, only briefly mentioning the real estate partner in a CNBC interview.
Riaz Haq said…
#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-shadow-called-pakistan … 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.
Riaz Haq said…
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


https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/rape-political-tool-india-180419091411624.html


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.
Riaz Haq said…
#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
Amrit Wilson
The Indian PM is in Britain. Let’s hold him to account for the horrific rapes committed in the name of Hindu nationalism

https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/18/india-republic-fear-narendra-modi-britain?__twitter_impression=true

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.

https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/18/india-republic-fear-narendra-modi-britain?__twitter_impression=true
Riaz Haq said…
Why India's rape crisis is getting worse under Narendra Modi
Shashank Bengali


http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-rape-2018-story.html


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."
Riaz Haq said…
Savarkar’s Sanction to Use Rape as Political Weapon
Sangh Parivar’s silent support to accused in Kathua case derives from their icon Savarkar’s exhortation.

https://www.newsclick.in/savarkars-sanction-use-rape-political-weapon


Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, in one of his books Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History clearly explains why raping of Muslim women is justifiable and not to do so when the occasion permits is not virtuous or chivalrous but cowardly. (See Chapter VIII of the online edition made available by Mumbai-based Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak)

Savarkar explains at length that Hindus in the past had suffered from a ‘suicidal’ (para 452) sense of virtuousness and chivalry in showing mercy towards Muslim women by letting them off easily. He gives examples (para 450) of such famous figures as Chhatrapati Shivaji who reportedly let off the daughter in law of Muslim governor of Kalyan, and Peshwa Chimaji Apte who similarly allowed the wife of Portuguese governor of Bassein to leave unscathed.

In passionate tones Savarkar argues that since Muslim oppressors had been punishing Hindu women, the same treatment should be meted out to vanquished Muslim women by Hindu victors.

“Once they are haunted with this dreadful apprehension that the Muslim women too, stand in the same predicament in case the Hindus win, the future Muslim conquerors will never dare to think of such molestation of Hindu women,” he writes (para 451).

He argues that had Hindus adopted this policy of ravishing Muslim women from earlier times, their condition would have been far better than today:

“Suppose if from the earliest Muslim invasions of India, the Hindus also, whenever they were victors on the battlefields, had decided to pay the Muslim fair sex in the same coin or punished them in some other ways, i.e., by conversion even with force, and then absorbed them in their fold, then? Then with this horrible apprehension at their heart they would have desisted from their evil designs against any Hindu lady.” (para 455)

Apart from the erroneous notion which “every Hindu seems to have been made to suck, along with his mother's milk” (para 429-430) that religious tolerance is a virtue, Savarkar also identifies the “foolish notion” among Hindus that to have “any sort of relations with a Muslim woman meant their own conversion to Islam” (para 453) as the reason for avoiding raping them. He writes that this notion restrained Hindu men from punishing “Muslim feminine class” (para 454).

In case somebody starts feeling sympathetic towards Muslim women, Savarkar takes us on an unsubstantiated ride through all the wrongs that Muslim women have committed which include enticing Hindu girls and sending them to “Muslim centers in masjids and mosques” and generally supporting Muslim men in their violence against Hindus.

This is the kind of stuff RSS and its fronts have been propagating over the years and Veer Savarkar remains a much admired hero among Sangh parivar followers. It has inspired Hindu rioters to commit horrendous atrocities on Muslim women in Gujarat (2002) and Muzaffarnagar (2013), and many others.

So, for the rapists and murderers of Kathua or Unnao, whatever be their psychological compulsions, the ethical and ideological sustenance is drawn from none other than Veer Savarkar. Small wonder that it becomes so difficult for the Sangh Parivar to condemn them or take action. Small wonder that the list of BJP/Sangh members committing crimes against women goes on extending.
Riaz Haq said…
“SAY NO TO RSS SAKHA IN AMU”, Writes AMUSU President (Maskoor Ahmad Usmani)

http://ironyofindia.com/say-no-to-rss-sakha-in-amu-writes-amusu-president/

1925 marks the birth year of the hateful and terror breading organization Rastriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, founded by Dr. K. B. Hegedwar and the coward V. D. Savarkar. The much exaggerated ‘veer’ Savarker was the same person who pleaded and begged to the British numerous times from jail for mercy and his release. Later, these fanatics shared by common ideology came under the banner of RSS. The tail of espionage and working hand in glove with the British is much known in the history of pre-independent India. From exchanging outfits and staging violence to spiting venom in public meetings there have been no stone unturned by the RSS to break down the social fabric of India.


It was on 30th January, 1947 (1948) when Ganghiji was gunned down by the Hindu fanatic and member of the RSS Nathu Ram Godse at Birla House, Delhi. Soon after the death of Gandhiji, in a letter to Golwaker dated 11th September, 1948 Sardar Patel the then home minister of India pointed out “Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.” What does this vindicates? And why was RSS so much happy that it had to distribute sweets after the killing of Gandhi?

In a letter dated 14th March, 1948, Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to Sardar Patel:

“I am told that RSS people have a plan of creating trouble. They have got a number of men dressed as Muslims and looking like Muslims who are to create trouble with the Hindus by attacking them and thus inciting the Hindus. Similarly there will be some Hindus among them who will attack Muslims and thus incite Muslims. The result of this kind of trouble amongst the Hindus and Muslims will be to create conflagration.”

Among RSS’s ideological forefathers the so called ‘Guru’ Golwalkar occupies a big space, in his book ‘Bunch Of Thoughts’ M. S. Golwalkar spits out venom in the following words:

“Even to this day there are so many who say, ‘now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all, they have no other place to go and they are bound to remain loyal’… It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriots overnight after the creation of Pakistan on the contrary, the Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country”

How the narrative for Indian Muslims having nexus with Pakistan has come to fore in contemporary times we need to look back of how virulent this notion was treatised by Golwalkar in his book, “…within the country there are so many Pakistans’… The conclusion is that, in practically every place, there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over transmitter…”

There are some serious questions that need to be answered; it is a deep travesty for our country that the heads of incumbent dispensation are members of the same traitor organization.

RSS, which was responsible for pre and post-independence rioting, conspiring and spreading communal hatred, paradoxically in contemporary India claims itself to be nationalist and seek others patriotism for the nation. After seventy years of Independence it is bemoaning to see that elected BJP MPs like Sakshi Maharaj demands to declare Nathu Ram Godse as a national patriot.
Riaz Haq said…
#Muslim beaten to death in #India for allegedly killing #cow http://po.st/b5A0Mo via @ChannelNewsAsia #Modi #beef #hindutva #Modi #BJP

A Muslim man accused of killing a cow was beaten to death by a mob in central India, police said on Sunday (May 20), the latest vigilante murder over the animal considered sacred by Hindus.

Siraj Khan, a 45-year-old tailor, was attacked in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh state on early Friday and died at the scene, local police official Arvind Tiwari told AFP.


Kahn's friend Shakeel Maqbool, who was also attacked, was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

As details of the violent assault emerged at the weekend 400 additional police were deployed to the district on late Saturday as inquiries widened, the Press Trust of India reported.

"We have arrested four people, and they have been sent to judicial custody. We are investigating what prompted the attack," Tiwari said.

He added that meat and a bull carcass was found at the scene, but did not elaborate as investigations were ongoing.

Hindus consider cows sacred and slaughtering the animals, or possessing or consuming beef, is banned in most Indian states.

Cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh carries a maximum seven-year jail term but many other parts of India impose life sentences for infringements.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to completely outlaw cow slaughter in India.

The right-wing Hindu BJP has been accused of turning a blind eye to a rising number of vigilante attacks in the name of cow protection.

Rights groups say Hindu mobs have been emboldened under the party, who stormed to power in 2014. Many of the victims are Muslims.

In two prominent cases last year, a dairy farmer was killed on a roadside for transporting cows and a Muslim teenager accused of carrying beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train.
Riaz Haq said…
#US govt report on #ReligiousFreedom says #Muslims, #minorities threatened in #India. #India doesn’t prosecute #cow vigilantes, notes #BJP’s role in violence. #Modi #Hindutva https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/us-govt-report-on-religious-freedom-says-india-doesnt-prosecute-cow-vigilantes-notes-bjps-role

The International Religious Freedom Report, 2017, says that BJP leaders, including Raman Singh and Adityanath, had been accused of making remarks that could be interpreted as condoning violence.
The United States government has claimed in an annual report that Indian authorities “frequently did not prosecute members of vigilante cow-protection groups who attacked alleged smugglers, consumers, or traders of beef, usually Muslims, despite an increase in attacks compared to previous years.”The International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, put together by the US State Department every year, was released by US’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.“Advancing liberty and religious freedom advances America’s interests. Where fundamental freedoms of religion, expression, press, and peaceful assembly are under attack, we find conflict, instability, and terrorism,” Pompeo said in his opening remarks at the time of releasing the report.“On the other hand, governments and societies that champion these freedoms are more secure, stable, and peaceful,” added Pompeo. The Secretary of State also said that he would host leaders from across the world at a conference on religious liberty over July 25 and 26.The yearly report took a critical view of certain leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and UP’s Yogi Adityanath, for making “public remarks that individuals could interpret as condoning violence.”“On April 2, Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister Raman Singh said anyone who killed a cow in his state would be hanged,” it mentions. The document also refers to then parliamentarian, and currently Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) chief minister, Yogi Adityanath for saying that “Mother Teresa had been on a mission to Christianize India.”The report further highlights that BJP leaders were tacitly backing people accused of carrying out mob-lynchings of Muslims, as it mentioned the September 2015 incident involving the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh.“In October 2017 media reported a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state legislator in Uttar Pradesh was working to help the 18 charged individuals out on bail secure employment and the family of one of the accused that died in jail would receive 800,000 rupees ($12,500),” it said.The report also notes, “Members of civil society and religious minorities stated that under the current government, religious minority communities felt increasingly vulnerable due to Hindu nationalist groups engaging in violence against non-Hindu individuals and their places of worship.”The religious liberty report also mentions the surge in attacks on Christians under the current government, noting that they had jumped from 348 in 2016 to 736 in 2017. The figures were taken from the Union of Catholic Asian News, as per the US report.

The report goes on to scrutinise the role of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Ministry of Home Affairs, noting that the government agencies had been accused of coming out with misleading reports on communal violence on several occasions.Dwelling on the sectarian violence in Kairana in 2013, the report says that the National Human Rights’ Commission’s (NHRC) claims that members of Muslims community were responsible for driving out Hindus from the affected areas had been disputed by human rights activists.“Human rights activists acting on behalf of the Muslim community in Kairana, such as Harsh Mander, disputed the NHRC’s findings that Hindus had been driven out by Muslim crime and called on the NHRC to withdraw and apologize for the report, which the human rights activists stated had been used to spread prejudice against the Muslim community,” it states.
Riaz Haq said…
Study: One in two #Indian #Muslims fears being falsely accused in #terrorism cases. #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia

https://theprint.in/governance/one-in-two-indian-muslims-fears-being-falsely-accused-in-terrorism-cases-finds-study/69295/

A survey by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti shows Adivasis are most afraid of being framed for Maoist activities, while Dalits are afraid of being falsely accused of petty thefts.

New Delhi: The sense of being discriminated against by police is strongest among Muslims, especially those in Bihar, said a study that seeks to analyse the perception about police along state and community lines.

The survey was carried out by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti, a research initiative of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), among 15,563 respondents across 22 states in June and July 2017.

“Among the total number of respondents, 26 per cent of Muslims were of the view that police discriminated on the basis of religion, while less than 18 per cent of Hindus and 16 per cent of Sikhs thought the same,” the report added.

The researchers also discovered that as many as 44 per cent of Indians were fearful of being beaten up by police, a finding reported by ThePrint Monday in the first of its series of reports on the study.

According to the survey, over 47 per cent of Muslims across the country said they feared being falsely accused of terrorist activities. Trying to explain the perception, the researchers cited the “large proportion” of Muslims in the country’s jails. This sentiment was said to be most widely prevalent in Telangana.

The percentage of Muslims in jails is higher than the community’s share in the population of India, a fact, critics said, that stems from an alleged “systemic bias” against them.

The 2011 census pegged the Muslim population at 14.23 per cent; and, in 2014, the government told Rajya Sabha that people from the community comprised 16.68 per cent of convicts and 21.05 per cent of undertrials.

What Adivasis and Dalits fear
The report suggested a similar fear among the Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) and the Scheduled Castes (Dalits). According to the survey, 27 per cent of the Adivasis said they feared being framed for anti-state Maoist activities, while 35 per cent of Dalits held a similar fear regarding petty thefts.

“Nearly two in every five… respondents said police falsely implicated members of backward castes such as Dalits in petty crimes including theft, robbery, dacoity,” the report said.

“One in four… was of the opinion that such a false implication of Adivasis and Muslims did occur,” it added.

The results of the survey also suggested a perception that caste-based discrimination among police personnel was most prevalent in Bihar, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

It said people were more likely to report class-based discriminatory attitudes of police, followed by gender- and caste-based discrimination.
Riaz Haq said…
A wave of #religious intolerance is hitting big business in #India. A wave of religious intolerance as India heads toward elections is emerging as a new risk for its top companies. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-01/online-bigotry-is-becoming-a-risk-for-india-s-biggest-companies via @bpolitics

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1013796775285555201

Over the past weeks, a telecom giant, the Indian lender led by Asia’s richest banker, and the local rival of Uber Technologies Inc. have been roiled by controversies linked to comments on Facebook and Twitter involving a minority community in the Hindu-dominated nation. All these started as social media posts, then gained a life of their own as people backed or vilified the comments, eventually forcing the companies to react to contain any damage.

Tensions on social media are mounting as the world’s largest democracy approaches elections early next year that will pit the Hindu nationalist beliefs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party against the main opposition, which often spotlights secularism and rising religious intolerance. Risk consultancy Kroll Inc. says it’s seeing an “exponential increase” in questions from corporate clients on how to manage the fallout from incidents on social media.

“It doesn’t just carry reputational and business risk, it can snowball into business continuity risks that can spread faster than a forest fire,” said Tarun Bhatia, a Mumbai-based managing director at Kroll. “Companies can’t choose their customers or control what they say. So it comes down to how companies manage these incidents, how quickly they react.”

Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s biggest telecommunications provider thanks to its 304 million subscribers, was tested on that recently. This is how it began: Around noon on June 18, Twitter user Pooja Singh complained about an Airtel customer service representative. An Airtel employee replied, promising to get back with more information, and signed off as “Shoaib.”

This is a recognizable Muslim name in a country currently riven by passionate teams of social media trolls, akin to the U.S. experience where political discourse often degenerates into hate-filled accusations.

“Dear Shohaib, as you’re a Muslim and I have no faith in your working ethics... requesting you to assign a Hindu representative for my request. Thanks,” Singh responded. Soon after, another Airtel rep named Gaganjot -- a clearly non-Muslim name -- promised to resolve Singh’s concern.

On the morning of June 20, Airtel published a statement on twitter refuting accusations that it gave in to Singh’s alleged discriminatory demand, something that had already attracted severe criticism of the carrier and threats to discontinue its services, including from opposition lawmakers. The statement said that both Shoaib and Gaganjot were just following established workflow processes that “got read as ‘bowing down to bigotry.”’

“Airtel has been resolute for 23 years” and “our training manuals will never carry instructions to pause and check one’s identity before serving a query,” the statement read. The company didn’t reply to an email from Bloomberg seeking further comment.
Riaz Haq said…
#America’s real #Muslim problem is #Islamophobia. It is time to recognize that the real Muslim threat in this country is to their well-being. And until we take their security seriously, none of us will be safe. #Trump #MuslimBan #Islam

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/07/americas-real-muslim-problem-is-islamophobia/

June 2018 was an especially bad month for the status of Muslims in America. First, we learned that a new study showed that many Americans view Muslims in the United States as insufficiently “American,” and almost 20 percent would deny Muslim citizens the right to vote. Then, the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s decision to institute a ban on immigrants, refugees and visa holders from five majority-Muslim countries in a 5-4 decision.

The synergy of these two pieces of information is critical because it reveals a common attitude that Muslims pose a threat to U.S. security whether they are U.S. citizens or not. And while these attitudes do break down heavily across party lines, it is noteworthy that the study of U.S. perceptions of Muslim Americans conducted by Dalia Mogahed and John Sides for the Voter Study Group indicated that even 12 percent of Democrats would consider denying Muslim citizens the right to vote. Their study also showed that 32 percent of Democrats favor targeting Muslims at U.S. airport screenings to ensure the safety of flights. That figure compares with 75 percent of Republicans.

Taken together the Supreme Court decision and the voter study reveal a mainstreaming of Islamophobia. Whether aimed at Syrian refugees or U.S. citizens, these attitudes, policies and practices underscore the reality that America really has a Muslim problem — a problem seeing Muslims as human beings deserving of dignity, human rights and respect.

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It should go without saying, but I’ll emphasize the point here, that the fears over threats posed by Muslims are simply not borne out by facts. At all.

White males pose the biggest threat to U.S. citizens, but no one is talking about taking away their right to vote. And as Margaret Sullivan reported for the Washington Post, 2017 was the deadliest year for civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria, with as many as 6,000 people killed in strikes conducted by the U.S.-led coalition — an increase of more than 200 percent over the previous year. That number is far worse if you add in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia and others.

While bigotry toward a wide range of groups has been normalized in the Trump era, there are particular features of the targeting of Muslims as security threats that are noteworthy.

As Moustafa Bayoumi, author of "How Does it Feel to Be a Problem," explained it to me, the key turning point was obviously the attacks of 9/11/2001. Since then, he said, there has “been a relentless drive to delegitimize Muslim American citizenship.” In addition, he pointed out that for many non-Muslim Americans, there is a tendency to think of a Muslim citizen as a Muslim first, rather than a fellow American, an attitude buttressed by the fact that “U.S. support for policies targeting Muslims has been substantial and consistent.”

But here’s the thing. Fear of Muslims was not simply a spontaneous response to the events of 9/11. The current attitude of suspicion, fear and intolerance of the Muslim community was purposefully orchestrated. A team of researchers that studied the roots of Islamophobia in the United Sates following 9/11, published as "Fear Inc.," identified seven charitable groups that provided $42.6 million to Islamophobic think tanks between 2001 and 2009.

Their research was further able to show a direct line from Islamophobic think tanks, like the Richard Mellon Scaife foundation, to media influencers and politicians.
Riaz Haq said…
Despicable #American #Media Coverage of #PakistanElections2018. US mainstream media has a voracious appetite for caricaturing, simplifying, and neatly categorizing non-Western people and life, especially #Muslims.
https://www.globalvillagespace.com/the-despicable-american-media-coverage-of-pakistan-elections/ via @GVS_News

There is a massive difference between a white American Anglo-Saxon Protestant’s galvanizing of white nationalism by inciting hate against minorities and the appeal to popular sovereignty by a political figure in a post-colonial society like Pakistan buried under the rubbles of neo-imperial power.


Take for instance an instructive example from the NY Times. After the elections, the title of an article on its twitter feed read as follows: “Is Imran Khan, a legendary cricket player and international sex symbol, about to become the leader of Pakistan, an Islamic republic with nuclear weapons?” And the editorial title read: “Nuclear-Armed Islamic Republic Gets Unpredictable New Leader.” These headlines and the commentaries that followed them toxically combine Islamophobia, Orientalist stereotyping, and copious expenditure of plain ignorance, verging on the bizarre.

They also smack of classic Orientalism: the insidious stereotyping of the East, the Orient, to establish the civilizational superiority of the West. Notice how the first title juxtaposes the image of the licentious brown body, unable to control its carnal desires, with that of the fanatic brown body, always on the precipice of violence. “A sex symbol with nuclear weapons:” how eerily analogous to 19th century Orientalist depictions of Muslims that sutured images of the sensually overflowing harem with that of the barbaric militant. Exoticization and dehumanization often go hand in hand.

Turning to Imran Khan, the newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister; it is true that in his younger years, he was an iconic and attractive cricketer with a massive global following among members of all genders. Yes, he did date multiple women and was widely admired and sought after, much like many other celebrities. But his dating life three to four decades ago is hardly even peripheral let alone central to his politics today. Yet, almost every Western, and sadly even many Indian commentaries on the Pakistani elections, have begun predictably, in the most hackneyed fashion, with a mention of Imran’s so-called “playboy” image and status during his long over cricketing years.

A far more important, ongoing, and relevant aspect of his non-political biography is his role as a leading philanthropist in Pakistan who established the biggest Cancer Hospital in the country in 1994, the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital named after Khan’s mother who died of cancer, where a remarkable 70% patients have received free treatment for almost twenty-five years. He also established a leading university in rural Punjab, Namal University, where underprivileged students receive Bradford University degrees. These philanthropic achievements, a lot more central to Khan’s popularity among the Pakistani masses than his “sex appeal,” receive passing if any mention in the Western media. And the descriptor “unpredictable leader” for Khan is essentially a code word for a brown leader who is not an American stooge, like most of his predecessors.

Returning to the NY Times title: pause also at the phrase “an Islamic republic with nuclear weapons.” NY Times must remind its readers that we are talking about an “Islamic republic” lest they forget that this conversation is about the “Muslim other;” all other possible features and descriptions of a complicated country like Pakistan stand colonized by and reduced to its “Islamic-ness.” I wonder how often the Times has described Israel as a “Jewish state with nuclear weapons”?
Riaz Haq said…
‘A battle between #Hindutva and #Hinduism is coming’. "The key question is: how do we keep our (RSS) organization intact if we (abandon #caste system) and move towards an egalitarian #Hindu society?" #India #Modi #BJP #Dalit

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/a-battle-between-hindutva-and-hinduism-is-coming-walter-andersen-rss-5301109/lite/?__twitter_impression=true

Walter Andersen is, perhaps, the only scholar to have observed, or studied, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nearly five decades. In intellectual circles, it is normally believed that as an organisation, the RSS is impervious and impenetrable.
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What is the RSS view of Modi’s economics, especially foreign economic policy, demonetisation and GST?

The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism. Modi is more open to FDI and foreign trade than the RSS would like. His demonetisation and GST directly hurt groups that are the original base of the organisations: the small traders. The RSS, of course, did not pass a resolution against demonetisation or GST. That is now how it works. But it sought to influence how these policies would be implemented – to ease the burden on small traders.

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Let us finally return to the relationship of the RSS and Muslims. Your book says that Golwalkar repeatedly used the term “ek hazaar saal ki ghulami” (one thousand years of servitude). Your also say that Deoras changed that, and in 1979, opened the RSS to Muslims. Narendra Modi has often used the term “barah sau saal ki ghulami” (twelve hundred years of servitude), which is more in the Golwalkar vein than in the Deoras mold. At any rate, the implication of the Golwalkar and Modi statements is that India’s colonisation began with the arrival of Muslim rulers either in the 8th century in Sindh or the 11th century in Delhi. This militates against the historian’s argument that it is the British who started colonising India in 1757. The Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal era was not a period of colonisation. However offensive Babur or Aurangzeb were, the other Mughal kings Indianised themselves, even married into Rajputs, and developed commitments to India. The British did not Indianise themselves. They were the real colonisers. How can one justify the term Mughal colonialism?

I don’t think many RSS activists, or even prachaaraks, would disagree with the distinction you are making between the British and Mughals. When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian.

But despite that ideological development, PM Modi returned to the Golwalkar understanding.

There is clearly a generic problem, here. Even those RSS ideologues, who want Muslims to enter the RSS, would like them to accept India’s “historic culture”.

But India’s “historic culture” — the arts, the languages, the everyday manners, the poetry, the architecture, the music — have a lot of Muslim contributions.

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But that implies that Urdu, which was widely spoken in North India, is not an Indian language, which is so hard to accept. Urdu was not born in the Middle East.

Yes.

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Let us now turn to the recent lynchings. Your book says that the higher echelons of the RSS and BJP don’t approve of lynchings. But how does one align your claim with the following: ministers in Modi government have expressed sympathy for lynchers, even garlanded those convicted of lynching (though out on bail), but the Prime Minister has not taken them to task. Indeed, though the Prime Minister has spoken against lynchings, his most forceful denunciations came when Dalits were hit. When Muslims are attacked by lynch mobs, he, at best, makes perfunctory remarks, if at all.

I haven’t thought clearly about the Muslim-Dalit distinction you are drawing, nor does the book talk about it. I will think more systematically about it.

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