Johannesburg – The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended their spokesperson and expelled another member of their party. This comes after derogatory remarks were made against Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) and his family.
These comments follow a long line of Islamophobic events that have occurred in India since the BJP came into power in 2014. What we are seeing is a steady democratic decline and an increase in state-sanctioned Islamophobia, said Dr. Ahmed Haroon Jazbhay, Executive Member, Media Review Network. The events that have been carried out under the BJP are similar to what is being carried out by Israel in Palestine.
“We see the similarities between Zionism and Hindutva ideology. We’ve seen many incidents. We’ve seen lynching, burning of homes, the hijab incident. We’ve seen a litany of Islamophobic incidents in India. These insults should not come as a surprise but what has been warming is the global outrage on the part of Muslim countries especially those in the Gulf. While I have some certain reservations about their outrage, in any case, it is quite welcomed, and we must ensure that we build upon this to reverse these genocidal strategies on the part of the BJP government in India.”
The BJP uses its power to encourage Islamophobia
Before 2014 there were cases of Islamophobia in India. However, as Jazbhay pointed out, it was never with the blessing of the state. That has changed and the BJP has given people the freedom to do as they like in an effort to stay in power.
“India considers itself the world’s largest democracy, and prior to the election of the BJP they were. There was a high level of harmony but now we’ve seen the BJP using this sort of Hindu nationalism as a strategy to really ensure that it eradicates Islam and Muslims from India and to ensure that it stays in power for as long as is possible.”
Countries need to take a strong economical stance against India
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has slammed India for the derogatory comments. They have even urged the United Nations to take necessary measures to ensure Muslims’ rights are protected. Kuwait and others have even removed Indian products from their stores. Further economic actions must be taken until India are willing to revisit their policies on Islam, said Jazbhay.
“There are 12 million Indian workers in the Middle East. They send billions of dollars in remittances back to India every year. This must be used as leverage. To put pressure on India to reverse its genocidal policies. These policies are state-sanctioned. They are not just the utterances of foot soldiers, of workers, or spokespersons for the Indian regime.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE plan to invest heavily in India’s economy. These plans must be cancelled or used as leverage to show India that these actions will no longer be tolerated.
They [Saudi Arabia and UAE] plan to invest somewhere in the region of $100 billion in India’s economy over a number of years. These countries must threaten to cancel these plans unless we see a reversal of these policies. The main point is to hit India’s pocket hard. We’ve seen certain countries remove Indian goods from their shelves, but these are just temporary measures. We know that this will go back to normal afterwards.”
Muslim leaders have been loyal to their pocket more than the Ummah
Jazbhay has little faith in the Muslim leaders to do what needs to be done. Time and time again they have proven that money comes before anything else but for change is to occur it must be different.
“Muslim leaders do not have a good track record of, unfortunately, being principled on the matter of Muslims. The Ummah (Muslim community) plays second fiddle to the protection of their thrones, protection of their bank accounts. I’m doubtful that many leaders will carry on with their threats given that India is a cash cow. It has 1.3 billion people. This investment must be contingent upon the reversal of Islamophobia. Just because it’s not being said by state, by leaders, spokespersons of political parties of the BJP, does not mean it won’t continue to happen. It must ensure that there are programs put in place in India to ensure this reversal.”
While many countries may decide to go back on their words and statements, it is up to the citizens of those countries to continue to apply pressure to their governments.
“It’s up to us as normal folk, the media analyst, the Muslim Ummah to ensure that we hold our respective governments accountable. To ensure that they maintain the pressure on the Indian government to reverse its policies.”
The only hope for change is to put economic pressure on India and speak out against them until they change their policies and introduce beneficial programs. This incident cannot go unpunished as the last few incidents have. If pressure is not applied now, things will only get worse as time goes on.