By Syed Ali Mujtaba
India’s former Foreign Secretary M K Rasgotra (1982-85), speaking at the seventh Non Aligned summit held in New Delhi in March 1983, had said; ‘the world has become so interconnected that if you touch a flower here, you may disturb the stars.’
As a school boy, I heard these words on the black and white TV at my sister’s home in New Delhi. His words still keeps ringing into my years and now some 37 years after, when I watch the Corona – Tabligue Jamat link debate, on my Sony HD TV his words becomes prophetic.
This is because the way Islamofobia, communalism and hate mongering against Islam and Muslims is being telecast on the Indian TV sets under state patronage; it definitely has ‘disturbed the stars.’
My concerns are not unfounded because there are two worrying statements coming from two prominent individuals one from the GCC and other from the UAE combing make 11 countries in the gulf region.
These statements even though are coming from individuals and not from state heads is a source of worry to the eight million of Indian expatriates earning their livelihood in the oil rich gulf region. It is also a cause of concern to the families in India who are living on tax free remittances coming from the Gulf region.
The first statement is made by a scholar from Saudi Arabia Mr. Abidi Zahrani who has proposed that Hindus involved in spreading hatred and committing crimes against the Muslims should be sent back to India from GCC countries.
GCC means Gulf Cooperation Council which is a group of six countries in the Persian Gulf region: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are its members.
In a tweet Mr Zahrani said; “Gulf States host millions of Hindus, some of whom are infected with COVID-19 and are treated free of charge regardless of their faith while fascist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu terrorist gangs while following the Hindutva agenda are committing crimes against its own Muslim citizens.”
Mr Abidi Zahrani further said; “I propose to the respected followers of Islam to list out all the Hindus who are working in the GCC region and spreading hate against Islam, Muslims or our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to track them and initiate the process to send them back to India.
If this is not music for the Indian ruling elite then the second statement that comes from Princess Hend Al Qassimi, a member of the royal family of United Arab Emirates is poignantly haunting. Princess Qassimi said, though the ruling family of UAE is “friends with Indians”, but hate Islam hate Muslims campaign is “not welcome”.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of seven independent city-states: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ra’s al-Khaimah. Around 3.3 million Indians are living in the UAE and they constitute roughly 30 per cent of the country’s population.
Princess Qassimi while responding to a series of “Islamophobic posts” on the micro blog Twitter said anyone who is “openly racist and discriminatory in the UAE will be fined and made to leave” immediately.
The UAE royalty was responding to twitter posts of a Hindu Indian living in UAE targeting Muslims over the March congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi. He allegedly used abusive language against the Tablighis, calling them “radical Islamist terrorists”. This micro blogger in his earlier tweet had said, all Islamic organizations “should be kept on vigilant watch or barred” as they only spread violence and unrest.
Taking a note of such unsavory tweets, the UAE royal princess slammed the micro blogger and giving stern warning that such kind of people “will not go unnoticed.”’ “All employees are paid to work, no one comes for free. You make your bread and butter from this land which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed,” she wrote.
According to our government sources, a total of 3,336 Indians tested positive for Covid-19 infection, majority being in the Gulf region. There are 2,061 Indians who have been tested positive residing in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Most of them are getting free treatment in their respective countries.
India as a matter of policy has decided not to bring back its stranded citizens from these countries. The Indian official sources say that Prime Minister Modi had discussions with leaders of the Gulf countries about the welfare of Indians in the Gulf region.
However, the official sources did not divulge upon did what the leaders of the region had told to the Indian Prime Minister. It is on record that the United Arab Emirates has warned of possible action against countries refusing to allow their citizens to return.
Well the other side of the story is always sacrificed in the Indian media and what is heard is what is being told in this country. It is not true that hate Muslim, hate Islam campaign that is on full throttle scale drummed up in the Indian media is not getting noticed.
TN Ninan, Chairman of Business Standard and a well regard journalist, has boldly said that marginalization of Muslims has become a ‘jan-andolan’ in India.
This statement is somewhat true. Abusing Muslims and denigrating Islam has become the pet theme of the large section of Indian media. This narrative has a cascading impact on the world wide Indians who live on the staple diet and feed on Indian media.
Among them there are many who are living in the so called Islamic countries. Swayed by the tone tenor of Indian media’s diatribe against Muslims and Islam they essay their mind on the social media sites, little knowing what damage they are doing to the fellow expatriates living in the gulf region.
The epic center of the hate mongering is in India. This is because some Indians have labelled the faith of Corona virus to Islam and Muslims are treated as terrorists fighting the Corona Jihad
India’s ruling elite that’s currently gleefully watching the rants of the wounded civilization on their television sets, are taking solace that they are winning the battle in the ‘clash of civilization.’ Little they realize that India rests in the soft belly of the Islam arch, can only survive like a tongue between the jowls.
To cut the story short, the alarming voices have started ringing the bells. The seed of hatred sown in the country in the garb of fight against COVID-19 under the watchful eyes of the current ruling elite will have to be redeemed long after this unseen virus goes into oblivion.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org