A special Ramadān Mubārak to all Muslims in India. 140 million sisters and brothers that we entrust to the wise hands of Allāh swt, so that He may guide and support them to withstand the persecution orchestrated by the Rāṣṭrīya Svayamsevak Saṅgh (RSS), the “national volunteer organization” referring to the Hindutva ideology. Yes, the ideology of Prime Minister Narenda Modi and of his “Indian people’s party”, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is RSS political arm. On the other hand, Muslims in India are not victims of the Hindutva only, but also of the evil of extremism within the Ummah itself, which is the other side of the persecution by RSS and Modi’s BJP.
A PERSECUTION THAT COMES FROM FAR
The hardships affecting Muslims in India date back well before Modi’s appearance on the scene. Hindus have always harbored resentment toward the Islamic conquest of India, a resentment that has accumulated over the centuries, finding support in the British colonial government, whose policies were aimed at dividing and weakening the Indian Ummah.
This logic inspired the notorious “partition”, which created a state ‒ today’s India ‒ where Muslims were a minority in the midst of a polytheistic and tāghūt multitude, more and more overbearing and full of itself for having achieved the independence. It is in this context that RSS began to take hold in society, while the right to self-determination of Kashmiri Muslims ‒ the majority of the local population ‒ was denied, and is still denied nowadays.
Despite poverty, discrimination, and injustice, the life of Indian Muslims went on anyway, without being annihilated by the adverse circumstances. Indeed, they have multiplied from the demographic point of view, for the pleasure of Allah swt, forming new families and progressing on an educational and social level, notwithstanding the fact that even the ancient caste system penalizes them.
The “resistance” of Muslims is so intolerable for RSS militants that they have decided to implement an openly Islamophobic strategy, based on ungrounded allegations, repeated provocations as well as attacks in various parts of the country. Muslims have been blamed for the ensuing clashes, although there have been much more dead among Muslims than Hindus, while to be destroyed have been mosques, and not temples.
The seizure of power by Modi’s BJP has made the persecution of Muslims the official policy of the Indian institutions for the past decade. An example of this is a controversial ruling by the Supreme Court in favor of Hindu extremists, over a dispute concerning a piece of land where previously a very ancient mosque was located, before being destroyed by RSS militants. That land belongs to Muslims by right, and it is not true that the mosque was built after destroying a temple. However, the judge, not by chance, believed the lies of RSS.
And what about the citizenship law? Why to exclude the Muslims of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan from the possibility of receiving the Indian citizenship if persecuted in the aforementioned countries, while this possibility is granted to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jainists, and so on? A sensational case of deliberate discrimination.
As for the so-called “love jihād“, the allegation that Muslim men are targeting Hindu women to convert them with methods such as seduction, sentimental deception, kidnappings, and forced marriages, has served to justify the escalation of Islamophobic campaign across the country. Under the pretext of the “love jihād“, special laws have even been introduced in some states, with the aim of countering the growth of the Muslim women who spontaneously and sincerely revert to Islām: a phenomenon of which RSS has an enormous fear, to the point of launching the “revenge love jihād“, which targets Muslim women to convert them to Hinduism.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PERSECUTION
At the same time, it should be noted that the “love jihād” allegation is not entirely ungrounded. The forced conversion of women is in fact a practice of which men have often been guilty, regardless of religion, country, and historical era. This is typical of radical proselytism, which in India is increasingly widespread and influential, although “love jihād” according to Islām is to be considered a major sin that grievously violates sharīʿa. On this subject, Allāh swt has been very clear, stating that “there is no compulsion in religion” (Sūrah “Al Baqara”, 2:256). So, why to disobey him?
The answer begins in neighboring Pakistan, the outpost of the disobedient par excellence, the usual Shaytān, where “love jihād” is particularly common. From Pakistan, this practice has spread to India through the networks of extremism active between the two countries, instigating the reaction of RSS and BJP, which have not lost the opportunity to further worsen the social and political climate against Muslims.
The same pattern can be applied to terrorism. The massacre carried out in Mumbai by a gang of young Indian Muslims fallen into the trap of armed “misguidance”, obviously with the Pakistani complicity, was a bloody springboard for the Hindutva’s anti-Islamic agenda throughout India. While in Kashmir, the tampering of the liberation cause by extremist groups, always backed by Pakistan, was instrumental in allowing Modi to impose the state of emergency, thus crushing the life and dignity of the many Muslim sisters and brothers living in the region.
And the proliferation of militants and preachers like Zakir Naik (#Ban_Zakir_Naik), manipulators of minds and hearts, as well as of the “influencers” of the armed “misguidance”, who fuel the spirit of revenge on social media in search of new recruits: they all say that they are fighting RSS and the Hindutva, but they are just playing their game. Don’t they realize it?
The equation is very simple: the more extremism you have, shaitanically conveyed in the name of Islām, the greater is the repression in the name of the Hindutva. A vicious circle whose consequences are being paid by Indian Muslims.
THE PROHIBITION OF WEARING THE ḤIJĀB
The last chapter of the double persecution against Indian Muslims is about the ban on the ḥijāb for Muslim female students. This hateful and unjust measure was introduced in a public school in Karnataka. The example was followed by other schools, and the BJP-led government then decided to issue an official provision banning the use of the ḥijāb in all the schools across the state. This is a dangerous precedent, even more so because it has been legally endorsed by the Supreme Court of Karnataka, which was featuring among its judges also a woman who claims to be a Muslim… The motivation for this verdict, issued following the complaint of Muslim female students, is unbelievable, as it argues that the ḥijāb is not an essential component of Islām and that, therefore, it can be prohibited in classrooms.
If the Supreme Court of Delhi were to uphold such a verdict, it would give the green light to the ban on the ḥijāb throughout the whole India. For whose benefit? Of the two opposing extremisms of course.
The radical proselytism and armed “misguidance” within the Ummah have instrumentalized the ḥijāb, exploiting it as the spearhead of their propaganda also in India, and it was thus easy for the Hindutva to make the garment pass as an extremist symbol, especially its full-face variants (niqāb and burqaʿ), eventually succeeding in promoting its ban.
The refusal of many young female students to attend their respective schools in order not to suffer the humiliation of not wearing the ḥijāb, can seriously jeopardize their growth in the education sector and subsequently in the labor one: an evil outcome which is instead seen as an achievement by both RSS-BJP and those within the Ummah who argue that Muslim women should not be allowed neither to study nor to work (but to blow up themselves and other people, yes… they are allowed to).
There are many alleged Muslims of this kind in India and, in conjunction with the ḥijāb ban, they have not lost the opportunity to relaunch their deceptive discourse on social media: “Modi’s India is persecuting you: to defend yourselves, join us”. This is, in short, the substance of their message to Muslim female students. But beware, don’t not listen to them!
The battle over the ḥijāb is meant to last for a long time, and can assume gigantic proportions if Modi, for electoral purposes and personal consent, should opt for a wider crackdown. For its part, the Indian Ummah must be prepared to face the situation, first of all by ensuring the right to education for Muslim female students: this is an authentic “love jihād” requiring the effort of mosques, universities, schools, families, and associations active on a local level.
The “resistance” then needs to go on in the wake of the major demonstrations that took place all over India, and must not be left in the hands of radical proselytism and armed “misguidance”. Facing two fires, in order to extinguish the first is necessary to fight the second as well.