Several Muslim countries, including Pakistan, on Sunday took strong exception to the derogatory remarks made against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by two officials of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Pakistani leadership condemned in the strongest terms, the Islamophobic remarks by the two spokespersons of India’s ruling party. Elsewhere, Qatar, Kuwait and Iran summoned the Indian envoys to register their protests and demanded apology from New Delhi. The BJP on Sunday suspended its spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal from the party’s membership over their Islamophobic remarks. However, Pakistan and other Islamic countries said that it was not enough. Islamophobia is getting more acceptable and popular in India with each passing year. Understanding the antecedents and manifestations of a form of contemporary resurgent majoritarian Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva, is critical to understanding how and why the figure of “the Muslim” and the religion of Islam are seen as a threat to the nation in a country where Hindus account for nearly 80% of the population. Islamophobia is multifaceted, extensive, deeply ingrained, and dangerously ascendant in India, particularly as it affects underprivileged Muslim populations in economically depressed or politically divided areas. Muslims in India must cope with racial prejudices, demonstrate patriotism, endure escalating physical and symbolic violence, and continue to be perceived as latent Pakistani stooges or likely non-citizen migrants or refugees. What Muslims face in India, and in Kashmir in the name of India, is egregious human rights violations and escalating violence; this is exacerbated both by the use of technology, such as surveillance and large-scale data registers, restrictions on Internet use, social media hate, and newer “non-lethal crowd control” style weaponry, and by developing infrastructures, such as detention camps or enacting legislation, to enable this.
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