From the Viewsroom

Muslim-bashing amidst Covid-19

Poornima Joshi | Updated on April 08, 2020 Published on April 08, 2020

Covid has magnified our fears. Hating Muslims is no palliative

The tendency to assert our sense of self as being superior by way of race, skin colour, caste, religion et al is universal as is the associated propensity to run down or detest others on these very grounds. Fear, life insecurity and anxiety are known to magnify these traits and the psychology around superiority of race, culture, region forms the basis of ideology and identity politics. So we have the regional chauvinists, the parties based on caste identity and the strongest and fastest growing political tribe of those who believe in Hindutva, cultural nationalism and the concept of a Hindu nation.

A similarly reactionary trend among the Muslims has simultaneously resulted in the growth of such outfits as the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. However, Muslims have by and large supported political parties which do not expressly identify as Hindu or any other religious identity. But socio-culturally, the Muslims, not unlike the Hindus and the Sikhs, too have their various religious and sectarian groups. Some are extremist like the Tabliqi Jamaat which has been guilty of the serious crime of organising mass religious gatherings in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and India during the Covid-19 pandemic and infected thousands of people across the world. The functionaries of the Jamaat naturally deserve the strictest punishment and censure.

But what is equally deplorable is the wave of Islamophobia that has followed. Did we similarly condemn all Mazhabi Sikhs when the Dera Sachcha Sauda head Ram Rahim was found guilty of raping minors and murder? Are all the followers of Asa Ram Bapu similarly targeted and maligned? The sins of suspect religious sects are usually not visited upon entire communities, so why are the Muslims being singled out? Toxic social media feeds, relentless TV propaganda and politicians are responsible. Targeting the common Muslims has almost become a national sport. Our collective insecurities may have been enhanced by the corona spread but hating Muslims is hardly the palliative for it.

Published on April 08, 2020

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