Is Islamophobia in India isolating it from its closest Gulf partners?

Royals lashing out at Indians, and OIC urges Modi to halt Muslim hate in Hindustan

Abu Dhabi: Former External Affairs Minister Late Sushma Swaraj addresses at the inaugural session of the 46th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on March 1, 2019. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

(RAHNUMA) In a major embarrassment to Indians among its economic partners the world’s Muslim majority states, the human rights body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged the Government of India to do more to criminalize, punish and halt violence against Muslims in the country, particularly during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

In the statement, the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), an expert human rights body with the OIC, condemned a “vicious” campaign in India against Muslims being accused of spreading the coronavirus.

“#OIC-IPHRC condemns the unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity,” it said on Twitter.

In India, the coronavirus has killed 543 people while a total 17,615 have been infected by the virus.

However, the COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated Islamophobic attacks and country’s largest minority, Muslims — who account for over 14% of country’s 1.3 billion population — have been attacked and accused of spreading the disease.

The OIC rights body called on New Delhi to protect the country’s nearly 200 million Muslims from Islamophobic campaigns.

Anti-Muslim violence and condemnation has further mounted due to anti-Muslim media coverage rife in the country.

“#OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int’l [international] HR law,” the IPHRC statement added.

In March 2019, late External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had addressed the 46th session of Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the invite of the UAE, and others, despite Pakistani protests, and boycott.

This was seen as a major set back to Pakistan’s influence in the OIC, which isolated India from the organization since its inception over fifty years ago. It was also the first time India had been invited to address the OIC meeting.

So welcome was this foreign policy victory of India over Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi even spoke over telephone with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and thanked him for the invitation extended to India to address the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Council as a Guest of Honour.

However, the recent developments in India are unfortunately proving to be somewhat embarrassing for Indians, especially after Indians were being called out by members of the UAE Royal Family for hate-speech, and were even told to ‘leave’ the UAE.

To make matters worse, the following day, a five year old anti-Arab and misogynist Tweet openly insulting Arab women by BJP MP Tejasvi Surya surfaced.

According to credible sources, the statement was not an Indian statement, rather repeated by the hate filled MP, who should ve banned from visiting Arab countries according to many on Arab social media. It was originally made by a Pakistani who according to unnamed sources, is accused of “most likely” being a “foreign intelligence asset”, working to divide India on communal grounds to undermine its global image of secularism, and “ultimately justify support for the Khalistan movement”.

These claims are merely allegations, and while they sound reasonable, cannot be independently verified.

The BJP MP’s disgusting Tweet of the Pakistani hate speech claimed, “95% Arab women have never had an orgasm in the last few hundred years! Every mother has produced kids as act of sex and not love..”.

The statement has caused a major uproar in the Gulf, particularly in Kuwait, where people are calling for the MP to be sacked by the Indian Government.

In a clear sign of going into
urgent damage control, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor Tweeted, “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.”

NRI remittance to India from GCC countries in 2016 alone amounted to nearly 50% of the total remittance, at a whopping $36 billion USD, with UAE and Saudi Arabia at nearly $25 billion USD on their own.

Abu Dhabi: Former External Affairs Minister Late Sushma Swaraj addresses at the inaugural session of the 46th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on March 1, 2019. (Photo: IANS/MEA)
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