India is again facing a chorus of criticism from the Muslim world recently. Its senior official’s offensive comments about the Prophet Mohammed reflects the prevailing Hindu nationalism and Islamophobia in India. Surprisingly, when all Muslim countries collectively condemn the comments, pull Indian products off shelves and boycott Indian goods, the response of the Maldives is so weak and feeble. Throughout India’s bloody history against Muslims, including violent repression of Muslims in Kashmir, discrimination against Muslim students, and anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, no like other Muslim countries, Maldives has never solemnly protest the atrocities against Muslims in India. The government’s condoning of atrocities against Muslim in India hurts all Maldivian Muslims.
India’s rising Islamophobia
Rising Islamophobia is not something new in India but it is something BJP government is committed to pursue hatred against the minorities specifically the Muslims. Muslims living in India are facing difficulties, because hate speech and violence has become a culture and India is being transformed into an extremist state. Top leadership of BJP is silent over Islamophobia remarks by BJP leaders same as they remains silent on Hindu extremism against other minorities. Right-wing Hindu radical leaders have openly exhorted Hindus to take up arms and spoken about genocide of Muslims. They raised the baseless conspiracy called “love jihad”, accusing Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage. Vigilante Hindu mobs lynched suspected Muslim cow smugglers and demanded a boycott of business owned by the community. On social media, Muslim women haven been put up for sale in fake online auctions. To preserve the supremacy of Hinduism, schools in Karnataka state stipulates that Muslim girls wearing hijab are forbidden to enter schools or classrooms.
This month, BJP government released the findings of the National Family Health Survey. The data shows that the Muslim fertility rate has registered the sharpest decline over the past 20 years as compared to that of other religious groups, including Hindus. This data also exposes the lies popularly peddled by Hindutva propaganda that the Muslim population in India will exceed that of the majority Hindus and that Muslims have more kids than Hindus. The false fear-mongering about Muslims outstripping Hindus in the country is part of the right-wing Hindutva propaganda to keep the pot of Muslim hate politics boiling.
MDP government: a quite accomplice
In 2019, Indian government revoked the special status of Muslim-majority Kashimir by scrapping Article 370 in its own constitution, stripping the region of its autonomy, despite UN resolutions. Organization for Islamic Cooperation issued a statement criticizing India for continuing restrictions in the area, however, Speaker Nasheed distanced Maldives from the statement, backing Delhi’s stand on Article 370. “It is an internal matter of India. I don’t think OIC counties should be commenting on human rights in India,” he said.
In 2020, Maldives again came out in defence of India at the OIC meet and called out Pakistan’s ‘rising Islamophobia’ propaganda against India. In June this year, Maldives parliament rejects motion that sought condemnation of BJP leader’s remarks on Prophet. And Home Minister Imran Abdulla said that it is not his responsibility to express views on insults against Prophet Mohammad.
As a Muslim country, we turn a blind eye to the suffering Muslims in other counties. It is our silence that has helped India victimize our Muslim brothers. We must stand by Muslim countries and strongly condemn the atrocities of right-wing mobs against Indian Muslims, not in the future but now.