India – Not a country for Islamophobia

      Comments Off on India – Not a country for Islamophobia
Spread the love

Response to No country for Islamophobia | 

This article counters ‘establishing’ a narrative that Islamophobia is alive in India, let’s review its validity.

While some have given currency to the idea that ‘Islamophobia’ is what is causing the turmoil and a wave of intolerance in India, a majority of Indians and Indian Muslims find themselves aghast when they hear Islamophobia in India, what’s that?

The Islamophobia narrative is American in nature and its aggressive organized avatar is traced to the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979.  Indeed, there was not much talk about terrorism ascribed to Islam prior to that date.

Opportunists have always found ways to make money; there was money in turning the ugly Iran hostage situation into a broader issue, and they cultivated that it into Islam against the West.  Instead of mitigating conflicts between Iran and United States, they aggravated it, and Iran certainly piqued it further with their short-sighted rhetoric.  It was a major foreign policy blunder of America, and one of the shameful outcomes was painting Islam as a villain of the West.

No matter what the conflict was, hijacking a plane or pushing a senior citizen off a cruise liner into the ocean, or the Israel-Palestine conflict, the opportunists sold it as Islamic terrorism to substantiate their line of thinking.

When you start hearing the problems of the day slapped onto Islam and repeated again and again, you develop a phobia for Islam or anything associated with it, and this is an American narrative.

That is not an acceptable narrative in India. Islam is not a new entrant to India for Hindus and others to ‘develop’ fear of it; it’s assimilated well enough to be a part of the norm of the society which the article has articulated well.

Men like Subramanian Swamy, whose claims have been challenged time and again, learn the Islamophobia narrative from American opportunists, and make aggressive attempts to slap it on India.  Should we give validity to their claims?

Not Islamophobia, but ‘Communalism’ is the Indian narrative, a word that describes tensions between two communities, in particular the Hindus and Muslims, and between Hindus and Christians and it is two way street at times. The brunt of those riots is usually borne largely by the minorities, that is the case with minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, America or Brazil.

The good news is that an overwhelming majority of Indians, regardless of their faith or caste will continue to be moderates who care about fellow beings, and focus on taking care of their families.  They (Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others) do not hate others who differ from them, they don’t have the bloody time for that,  and as such Islamophobia narrative will not take root in India, unless some opportunists push for it.
Mohammad Imran writes, “Islamophobia defines Muslims as the “Other” and to be feared. This portrays Hindus as peaceful and Muslims as violent.” We are all peaceful with a few among us who are not, so, “ we should give currency to the word “Communal” which reflects the situation, and is understood by all in India.” Islamophobia is not the word applicable in Indian context and we must not use it.

Indian Muslims have done exceptionally well to ward off the Al-Aqaeda and reject the ISIS; it has given a big sense of relief to all Indians that “Our Muslims are with us.” Some two Lakh Imams have condemned terrorism and condemned ISIS.  Good leaders of India brag about Indian Muslims for taking a stand against the extremists from abroad.

While some rejoice (a % from all groups) tearing India apart, let’s focus on putting India together, but never ever deny the problems we face.

The Hindus, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others must be equally concerned when a few among us try to disturb the social equilibrium of the country. Instead of pointing fingers at the other, we must learn to take the responsibility to fix the problems, while sincerely acknowledging them and getting out of the denial mode.  If you and I can show the courage to use the words “We Indians” and not “them Muslims’ or “them Hindus” or “they are the problem” we would have taken the right step to restore India’s pluralistic ethos.

Should we give currency to the word “Islamophobia” in India? I think not, it is not a wise thing to do, and I appreciate the article for boldly challenging the attempts to establish Islamophobia in India.

The article, “No country for Islamophobia” was published in the Indian Express at

# # #

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism,human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at for his writings at and several blogs listed there |

Spread the love