Middle East Scholars Raise Concern: Lynching and Rise of Hindutva in India

The number of statements coming from scholars and academics in Arab world are on the rise, specially on social media and other channels as hate-crimes and extremism against Muslims in India and Kashmir see a rise.

Several international speakers spoke on the spiraling situation at a webinar on Tuesday –a first in which middle-easterners also participated and showed concerns.

British House of Lords Member Lord Nazir Ahmed, British Member of Parliament Khalid Mehmood, Member of Turkish Prime Minister’s Advisory Board for Human Rights Dr Hamit Ersoy, Vice President to Egyptian National Constitutional Committee Dr. Kamal Helbawi, Professor Dr Halil Tokar of Istanbul University and Professor Dr Farhan Mujahid Chak from Qatar University were some of the key speakers.

The Pakistani Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also spoke. She called upon the Muslim world to shed its dependence on the Western world and adopt a united stance on critical issues like Kashmir and Palestine in order to emerge as a respected global force.

Some independent observers say the call is significant and comes as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on Monday said the question of Kashmir was of utmost importance for Muslim Ummah. The 57-member Muslim nation’s body has called upon its member states to raise the dispute in their bilateral engagements with India — the Arab world has historical links with the sub-continent going back centuries, and maintains substantial economic interests on bilateral basis.

Oil is one of them. Indians form the second largest expat community in USA, UK and GCC with one of the largest annual remittances back home for decades.

Renowned scholar and social activist Noam Chomsky, Saudi Arabia’s Almaeena brothers, and award-winning journalist Aijaz Zaka Syed, as well as energy analyst Rashid Husain Syed have also been highlighting the spiraling situation.

Speaking to DesPardes, Khaled Almaeena said, “I think its not the Muslim only but any humanist and peace loving person would be horrified at the barbaric acts of the RSS and the ruling party in India.

Lynching in India

According to him, a no response by PM Modi is encouraging violence against Muslims, “asking for their blood to be strewn on the streets and using the media to further incite violence”.

“Such hate has never been witnessed in any country in the last 50 years. We have to contain it”.

“The hope lies in secular Hindus also who know that these policies will damage their country and lead it into chaos, darkness and destruction”, said Khaled Almaeena who’s a Saudi political and media analyst and former Editor of the Arab News and the Saudi Gazette.

Two other Saudi scholars and an Egyptian professional earlier shared concerns with us and pointed out world silence on the crisis.

“I am wondering why western media and so called human rights organizations are not covering these atrocities. It shows that racism is prevalent in most large western media organizations and human rights groups”, commented a Saudi academic who’s also an energy expert.

The speakers’ views at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) think tank in Islamabad –which organized the webinar, dovetail outcries by renowned writer/novelist and human rights activist Arundhati Roy who shun rise of Hindutva and annexation of the Himalayan Valley by India. “The situation [for Muslims in India] is approaching Genocidal”, she wrote in April.

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Turkish Professor Dr Hamit Ersoy highlighted the fact that India, the US and Israel are jointly working against the Muslim world and deliberately painting Muslim freedom struggles against foreign occupation as terrorism. They are doing this to justify their continued occupation and oppression and to caste Muslims in a negative light as extremists and terrorists.

British lawmaker Lord Nazir Ahmed stated that India is no longer a secular country whose political system is controlled by Hindutva extremist ideology that does not provide equal opportunities to its minorities. He appreciated the Arab countries for beginning to see the true extremist Indian reality, which was hidden under the facade of secular democracy for a long time. He said India is using its intelligence agency RAW to destabilize Pakistan.

Member of British Parliament Khalid Mehmood called upon the Kashmiris to shed their mutual differences and forge their ranks worldwide to put greater pressure on world powers. He said the Indian government has been brazenly violating the Geneva Convention and urged Muslim countries to take the issue to International Criminal Court (ICC). He also called upon the OIC to consider putting economic sanctions on India for violating human rights of Muslims and Kashmiris.

Dr Farhan Mujahid Chak of Qatar University complemented Dr Ersoy’s argument by urging the Muslim scholars to look for indigenous and innovative solutions for resolving their important issues.

In his view, Muslims should look at the ultimate state model of Madina, their holy book Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) for inspiration and developing a perfect, peaceful and stable political system instead of looking at the major powers, who are exploiting them on the false pretexts of secularism and democracy, for solutions and help. He said the BJP’s rise in Indian politics is rooted in its philosophy of hatred, which was evident even in 1992 when the demolition of Babri Mosque brought them to power. He pointed out that 76 per cent of all hate crimes in India are committed against Muslims.

Dr Kamal Helbawi stressed the peaceful, progressive and moderate spirit of Islam and stated that Muslims are being deliberately painted by India as terrorists in order to hide its atrocities against the Muslims and also to justify its aggressive behavior towards neighboring Muslim countries. He also stressed that both Kashmir and Palestine deserve equal attention and support from Muslims around the world in their struggle for liberation.

Dr Halil Tokar pointed out that Indian BJP’s ideological core is RSS, which has an extremist philosophy based on hatred towards other religions, identical to the one followed by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. He reminded the international audience that Prime Minister Modi was responsible for the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. The BJP and RSS want to wipe out minorities, including Muslims and Christians, from India by the end of 2021. He said that the molestation of Muslim women and setting fire to Holy Quran are actions that deserve the attention of the entire Muslim world.

A former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and former think tank head Khan Hasham Bin Saddique blamed Islamophobia in the West for the situation, calling it as a trickle down effect. “The Hindutva ideology and extremism” are also permeating Indian Diaspora worldwide and in the Middle East”, he says. Listen…

The Executive President IPS, Mr. Khalid Rahman who chaired the webinar, reminded the international audience that India did not exist in its current form before 1947 and 60 per cent of its territory consisted of provinces while 40 per cent consisted of princely states that were ruled by the British. He underlined the fact that British introduced the policy of divide and rule in this region, which earlier was a thriving economy, stable polity and a diverse and rich society, under centuries of Muslim rule.

He emphasized that Muslims have contributed to the economy, society, culture, architecture, and habits in a profound and constructive manner through good governance before the British introduced divide and rule policy. He concluded by recommending that Muslims must learn from their costly mistakes and dependence over other powers and raise awareness, improve education, spread information, pursue engagement and active lobbying to influence the world in pursuit of their collective interests and to resolve common issues.

An Indian professional in Riyadh who weeks back organized a social gathering of more than 200 hundred Indian expats on the situation back home took a forlorn view of the recent developments, and concerns raised, saying “there is no moral change…only tactical maneuvering”.

The webinar which was moderated by strategic affairs analyst Syed Muhammad Ali, a Senior Research Fellow at the think tank, earlier told DesPardes the region appears to be ground zero of a new world order.

Another webinar of Muslim scholars and speakers is being held on Friday, sources say.

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