What broke the camels’ back? What made the elite and educated from the traditional friendly Gulf Arabs to express their anger and discomfort at the rising Islamophobia in India. What made them tweet their dissent and anger against Indian expatriates living in their countries and Indians at home generating extreme hatred against Muslims and their religion.
These are not ordinary members of the Arab society they hold important positions and represent the government and commerce of their country and the region.
Shaikha Hend al Qassimi is not only a member of the ruling family but also a highly educated lady who holds a master’s in Information, Science, and Technology from Manchester University. She has been brought up like many of her compatriots in a secular ambience. The UAE is home to millions of Indian Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Parsees, who live. in close association off work.
Noora Al Ghurair is from one of the three topmost business families of the UAE. Educated and cultured she is actively involved in the family business managing company affairs. Al Ghurairs’ have several business interests from food to banking and employees a huge mix of people from all over the world.
From Kuwait, A young lawyer, Mejbal Al Sharik, director of International Human Rights tagged PM Modi demanding severe punishment to Tejasvi Surya, an MP from his BJP party representing Karnataka for his despicable and disgraceful racial and sexual tweet on Arab women( it was 2015 tweet). He is also preparing to file suit in International Human Rights Courts on violence against Muslims in India. And has appealed for more information and pictorial evidence to help the case. A religious scholar from Saudi Arabia has denounced the growing violence against Muslims.
The OIC, Organisation of the Islamic Conference has called upon the Indian government to check the increasing Islamophobia and asked the prime minister to take action to prevent the rise in crimes against Muslims.
And the response of our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has been astonishingly mild. An ambiguous appeal,
“COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour before striking……..we should work on this together.”
It is like prescribing aspirin to a cancer patient. The prime minister has to be more specific in his pronouncements. If the damage to India’s image as a bastion of democracy, plurality, and equality is to be withheld globally. Even Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pawan Kapoor was late. Hate tweets from UAE are not something happened overnight. Since Shaheen bagh, JNU, Jamia Millia and Aligarh demos against CAA the right-wing trolls living in UAE have been tweeting foul and abusively against the demonstrators.
The United Arab Emirates had a few months back honored Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi with the country’s highest civilian award, ‘The Order of Zayed,’ amidst big fanfare, which not only surprised millions of Indian Muslims but also caused them anxiety as Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat genocide of Muslims is deeply etched in their psyche. And the fact that late Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of the newly formed federation of the United Arab Emirates, was a leader of extraordinary vision, courage, compassion, who worked endlessly for the unity of Arab people and for global peace and brotherhood.
The growing Islamophobia and hate campaigns against the 230 million Muslims of India is not new to the world or the Arab world, especially the six Gulf Arab countries of the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman. India has cordial and close social and commercial links with these countries formerly known as the Trucial States or Sheikdoms. An estimated seven to eight million Indian work and live in the six states and are reported to be remitting an estimated 35 billion dollars to the Indian exchequer. The gruesome Delhi pogrom, following Delhi elections that killed hundreds of Muslims and destroyed their property worth millions.The anti -CAA protests by students at Jamia Millia, JNU, Aligarh University, and Shaheen Bagh and the brutal Delhi police action on protesting students were in the notice of the GCC government and people. But it was by international norms considered a political issue and an internal matter of India.
However, the COVID -19 pandemic, the nationwide lockdown announced at a short notice by prime minister Narendra Modi on March 24th, was an unfortunate coincidence in which the Tableegi Jamat found itself. It was a judgemental error, a gross lack of farsight on the part of the Jamat leadership, for which it must be condemned. But terming the annual congregation in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi and subsequent stranding of the hundreds of the delegates due to the lockdown as ‘Corona Jihad’ is unacceptable. It reflects on the mindset of the far-right and their mouth organ, TV Channels, and newspapers.
The Jamat thus became a cause celebre for the fresh, venomous and vigorous outpour of hatred against the Indian Muslims by the rabid right-wing Hindu outfits holding them responsible for the spread and subsequent events related to tracing the Tableeghi meet attendees, quarantining them, medical check-ups, etc.
It is here that the Bhakts hate and dislike for the Muslims and their faith spilled overseas reaching their counterparts who took the baton and went to spew abuse and hatred while fat-catting on Dirhams, Dinars, and Riyals. The question is, how far will the sober among us remain silent.