In this podcast, Yasser Louati is shedding light on how nazi ideology has inspired the BJP in power and how the collapse of Indian democracy did not happen overnight. Md Asif Khan, an Anti Islamophobia Activist came on the show to describe the ongoing persecution of religious minorities in India especially Muslims, their lynchings, the violence of “mob cows”, the poisonous conspiracy theories like “Muslim coronajihad” and the responsibility of Indian media.
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Yasser Louati (host), Asif Khan (guest)
Yasser Louati 00:00
You’re listening to Le breakdown. This is Yasser Louati speaking. This podcast is offered to you by the CJL. Committee for justice and liberties. We are an independent human rights and civil liberties organization, thanks to our donors. If you too would like to support our investigative reporting, political education and mobilization work, you can make a donation on CJ L.ONG. Welcome to Le Breakdown. This is your host Yasser Louati coming to you straight from the Paris south side Banlieue. Thanks again for joining us and welcome to our new listeners and viewers from wherever they are and I thank you if you have been listening to this podcast from the beginning, and you know who you are. This new episode will focus on India. And the country has been making headlines for years in terms of the rise of the fascist government of Modi, the anti muslim violence that has been running amok. throughout the country. We have seen horrendous videos of lynchings and mob violence. We heard worrysome discourses coming from the Indian political elites. And many questions have been left unanswered in terms of how this violence has become so normalized in Indian society, how Muslims are coping with it. And why is it that the country we call the “largest democracy in the world”, a secular democracy has allowed such violence to become so mainstream? For this episode are welcome Asif Khan, who is a filmmaker and activist based in India. He has been documenting Islamophobia for years in India, and he will give us his expertise on the topic. And of course, you are welcome to comment in the in the in the comment section to answer to ask questions, of course, and hopefully, hopefully things will get better for minorities in India. Asif, welcome to “Le Breakdown”.
Asif Khan 02:09
Thank you very much brother Yasser for inviting me on your podcast.
Yasser Louati 02:13
Well, I thank you for honoring me with your presence and to teach us with, through your expertise. I know the situation is quite difficult, and I really commend your courage to come forward and to speak publicly over what’s happening in your country. My first question is really a candid one for an uninformed or not necessarily informed audience. What is going on in India? I mean, like this is not the India we often hear about. We know there was sectarian violence and huas been sectarian violence since the partition with Pakistan, but to us since the 2002 Gujarat massacre, we tended to forget India when it came to sectarian violence. Please educators over what’s happening in your country.
Asif Khan 03:02
Our country right now going to second wave of Coronavirus pandemic. As you know India has more than 400,000 deaths due to Coronavirus and hundreds of 1000s of cases every day emerging in India right now. People are suffering due to lack of medical facilities left and other issues but for Indian Muslim, we are suffering from the terminal virus as well actually. We have been facing discrimination, fascism and Islamophobia and physical violence, especially in the last seven years since Narenda Modi became Prime Minister of India in 2014. last two weeks, India has seen more than 10 incidents of Islamophobia, where few Muslims have been lynched by a mob or they were attacked in the nearby counties Elaine’s or Mr. Tag been demolished by a local administration in North India. So it is like every episode in the morning you wake up, you open your mobile phone, you read news, and you will get news that some incident happens somewhere in India, where a Muslim either has been killed by more or in extrajudicial killing, or police torture, or is just beaten up by the mob and far right wing extremists. Who just accuse some random Muslim of getting a meat of cow or steeling cattles, and just this becomes very normal. The violence against the Muslims has become very normal actually.
Yasser Louati 04:49
well. You spoke about these cow mobs. Tell us about that. And how is it that only today Hindus, If I’m correct, of course it probably this has been happening for a long time. Why is it that now that we have we see the rise of these mobs by trolling communities and attacking Muslims on the accusation of either consuming meat or stealing cattles,.
Asif Khan 05:15
Actually, it’s their core belief of hindutva ideology and those people who believe in the right wing Hindu nationalism. They believe that cow is sacred to them. And they believe that for the sake of the political agenda, actually, they do not care about cows. If you come here in India, you will see there are hundreds of cows which are abundant by their owners, they do not have grass cleared, they do not have shelter to live, they do not have water to drink. There just sit here and there on the street and on the roads and they die due to the lack of food, but just to fulfill their political agenda, they claim that cows are sacred to them. It is equal to the goddess today and it is prohibited to kill a cow. Unfortunately, you know, in India, there are some places like South India or north eastern India, Northeastern India, well, business, Liberal government has allowed people to consume flesh of cow they can eat with legal permission. But in North India, where BJP has a stronghold, North India, BJP is a ruling party in many different states. They play with sentiments of the Hindu majority. So there are already laws which exist in India, which do not allow killing of cow. But instead of using those laws, what’s happening right now, since last seven years, at least…there are many vigilante groups in India, which are associated with the right wing Hindu ideology. And those extremists help form a mob lynching groups. So wherever they see Muslim driver is transporting cattle say in his truck or whatever, because they stopping the lynching and the kill him, the assaulting. And if they see there any cases of Muslim getting meat they suspect him, and on just the suspicion, suspicion, suspicion of being a consumer of beef, they just lynching. And unfortunately, society has, I mean, majority society has done nothing to stop this lynching. They have normalized it. the police also complicit into it, the government help government help support of those who are doing such kind of violence. So I guess when tourists come to India, they are also allowed to eat, you know, beef. So, as you’re saying, and if I’m correct, if I heard you correctly, that, you know, there is a belief that cows are sacred, but that belief is only enforced to attack Muslims, and those cows are oftentimes abandoned in the streets and die from lack of shelter, and lack of food. My next question, I see if and this actually raises even more questions about this BJP, so to us. Some of us remember Indira Moody’s rule in the bloody Gujarat massacre of 2002 that had left on nearly 1000 people dead. Hindu mobs attacked Muslims in the trains and train stations. And we saw that it turned out that Modi was actually blacklisted on the international media and even his so called international community. Now we see this openly racist politician who follows an ideology of a Hindu nationalism through a party called the BJP. Could you explain to us what are the core beliefs of Hindu nationalism, the core beliefs of the BJP? And again, if you could, you know enlighten us in terms of what made the rise of such an openly fascist govern a political party to become you know, to which no the highest positions of the government have to explain the background of the BJP? Yes.
So BJP is just a political wing of a large organization organization is called RSS the full form of RSS Rashtriya swayamsevak. Some abbreviation is RSS Popular by that name only. So RSS is a fascist organization, which was founded in 1925. And those, those of you who founded this organization, they were big fan of the fascist and Nazi leaders of the euro, like Mussolini in their books, which were written in in 1940s or 1930s. They have eulogized Hitler, and they have praised him for whatever she has done in the Nazi Germany. So they do their inspiration for Nazi Germany, like how it has killed millions of Jews, just to protect the racial supremacy, Aryan supremacy in Germany, and they have said, Ms. Cole Walcott was his name, he was supreme of the RSS, Ms. Cole Walker, he has written in his books, whatever Hitler has done in Germany should be done in India as well. And the Muslim of this country are the enemy of the Hindus. So, if they do not surrender to the Hindu supremacy, they do not adopt to the culture of Hinduism, then they should be treated as second class citizen in this country, they should not have any right in this land, not he wants you to get right. So, this is this is a 90 year project. They do not become fascist overnight. It has been happening since 1925. Fortunately, when the secular so called secular parties were in power after 1947. India got independence in 1947. When British left the country, the Congress Party has been coming to the power and Congress claimed to be a secular party. But this secular Labour Party has done nothing to stop this new non surprising and total fascism. The ideology driving in the fascism is also known as in the war in India, Hindus work so they have done nothing to stop this ideology. And slowly, slowly, they become mainstream, they started spreading their propaganda in Indian society. They have their own branches, and they have millions of followers across the country. And they have a political will always existed. The BJP current Party, which was started in 1980, or will before then there was a Johnson party political wing of RSS, RSS is the main organization. They have different political, they have different wing type. BJP is their political means they have a student wing as well. They have their own, like private militia as well. So they have different kinds of beings. And they use all kinds of things, just to spread the fascism in India.
Yasser Louati 12:57
So my question as if it might, excuse me for interrupting you? How come Indian society could not resist this rise of fascism for decades? What were the main factors that facilitated the rise of the BJP, and for their ideology, to become so widespread, they could seek electoral positions.
Asif Khan 13:21
I think the reason behind that is the prejudices of this existence in Indian society since decades. This is the main reason because India has seen partition in 1947. On the line of religious identity, there was a Muslim majority Pakistan, and then Hindu majority India came into existence. And since then, the hatred was in the mind and heart of the people against each other. So those of you who are in the politics, who are active in the politics, they have tried their best to use that anti muslim hatred to remain in power. So if you make a minority community, a permanent enemy of the majority, then it’s very easy to get the award sexually. But like I said, in nine since 1947 1984, for decades, they will not in the power, the right wing, Hindu extremist will not empower action. But they started rising, I would say since 1985 1986. They claim there was the most 400 year old mosque in North India, there is a small town called Iota. So those people who were belong to ideology of Hindus was the claim that this mosque stood on the birthplace of Lord Rama and there was a Hindu temple existed there are some Muslim invaders destroyed Temple in 16th century and constructed a mosque opponent. So this is our place, and we will reclaim it a little better was going on in court for many years. But in the form of in 1992, since December in 1982. They’re destroyed the mosque in broad daylight. And that was a turning point of politics. The majority Hindu society has accepted them, they never got punished. There were cases against them legal cases, those people who were involved in demolition, but they never got punished, or responsible, they were rewarded by the public, actually, they become hero in the eyes of the public. So
Yasser Louati 15:46
as if so if there was some sense of sympathy, let’s say in the broader Indian public opinion, how the other political parties, civil society, the world of Indian culture, which we know is a it’s it’s a huge sector of Indian society, and highly influential all across the globe. How did those sectors of Indian society react to those events, what they’re also sympathy, silence, or outright, no, like no rejection over those events of those events,
Asif Khan 16:22
I would say, silence. I did not see the huge outrage from the Indian majority society against such kind of atrocities. And the so called liberal secular society has normalized those fascist, instead of punishing them, when they weren’t committing such kind of previous crimes, instead of punishing them, instead of ostracizing them from the society, they were given a space in the society, then their act has been legitimized. See, if you if they had put a bet on them that time, I mean, government, government did not put any kind of bail on those who have been who were responsible for such kind of atrocities and violence, they will not get arrested.
They were roaming free, they were propagating their ideology of hatred, and they were contesting election. So when you when you allow someone who has been accused of committing such kind of crime, and you allow him to contest election, it means you are giving him legitimacy, yes, you are normalizing him in a civil society. So this process started from there. And I would blame the liberal secular of this country who have been really ruling this country for decades. And they have normalized the process. So they they they give them a space in Parliament, also, they do not have a majority, but is still there become the face of opposition in India. So they have enjoyed that kind of privilege. And they were given the space in the media, they were given a space in the society, in the parliament in political discourse. And that’s how they started their journey. So I would blame everyone, including media, including liberal secular government, who were in power, everything were in their hands to punish those people. They did nothing.
And I would generally blame the society, the majority in the society of the India, who have not taken any action or who have not, who haven’t done anything, to boycott these people, I will give you an just a small example. In 2019, there was a practice attaining utility, we have seen what happened two years before in Christchurch, 50 people have been killed in a mosque. So we have seen how New Zealand is society responded appropriately. There were a flood of solidarity, their civil society, people were showing solidarity with Muslims, and they were visiting mosque, I have never seen such kind of solidarity in India. So people are either silent, or they’re complicit in the crisis.
Yasser Louati 19:07
This is really scary, as if when you say that, when the secular parties were in power, they allow the evaluated opposition to be this fascist movement, and gave no platform to Muslims on the one hand, but also remained quiet as these crimes were being committed. This is quite a scary scenario you gave us as if when you see that even secular parties somehow, just you know, express their sympathy through silence. And if you allow me, I can also draw parallels where Islamophobia is also a problem in many other countries. I’m speaking to you from France, the Laboratory of Islamophobia. And we see the same things happening, that you allow Muslims to be portrayed as the enemy within.
So called members of mainstream politics remain Quiet as we see the rise, or the resurrection of the historic firewall in France, which has, by the way, a specific history of collaborating with the Nazis of legitimizing the deportation extermination of Jews. Nevertheless, the rise of this far wide, which was made possible by, you know, the left the Socialist Party, sometimes even coexisted, you know, quiet, you know, happily next to one another in the National Assembly, if I may say, but what made things even worse for French Muslims is that the racist ideology of the far right was also expressed by the left, again, the Socialist Party, the Communist Party to some extent, and we see that, you know, Islamophobia has become a point of convergence for the whole political spectrum in France. When it comes to India, it tends to look the same. So, are you saying that there is no opposition, or not any more any opposition towards this, you know, fascist government of Modi? Or are there reasons to build something with other components of India’s political landscape or civil society.
Asif Khan 21:19
Minister were never in poverty in India. It was a Communist Party, which was in power, of course, Communist Party, were allied with them sometimes for some time, but they are not powerful were popular in India. And the Indian left is different from Chinese left or other Communist Party, actually, because of demographic and Indian politics, they have a different aspect, actually, those who can vote in power for decades for centuries, I would say the liberal centrist and they have very much, you know, they were comfortable with the right wing.
So, if I look into the past right now, and I see whatever happened in the India in past three decades, so for decades, I came to the conclusion that they were happily coexisted the fastest. Like I said, Narendra Modi was chief minister in 2002, when Muslim genocide taken place in Gujarat, Chief Minister in India is a parent to Governor, a governor of the state in the United States of America. In 2014, in 2004, there were Congress Party in the power in center. They remain in the power for 10 years. During the same period, Narendra Modi was banned from Prime nine Modi was banned by United States. Yes, they have been visa he couldn’t travel America for I think for eight or 10 years. The same Liberal government which was ruling India at that time has done nothing to punish them.
So when they were in power, it was their duty to initiate an investigation, I guess, it was their duty to put him or anyone else who was responsible for the Muslim corner to put him on the trial and give the justice to the Muslim they have done nothing. And the 2002 was not the first incident. There were many incident happened in the decades of 1980 and 1990. And the liberals were in the power that time. So they have done nothing to punish the actual culprits. So, when you when first incident happens, and you do not punish the culprits, then they gain more confidence, they think, okay, we can get away with everything, we can do any kind of crime, and we will not be punished. That’s how we wish to be here.
Yasser Louati 23:55
So as if we just mean like what you’re describing is already made, like honestly scary. And for many of us, like we knew that we know India was ruled by a fascist, and that Indian democracy was being was being is being buried before our our eyes. Now, having said that, it does not we need honestly to dig further and have an idea of what Islamophobia looks like for Indian Muslims on a day to day basis, or the promoter is only in politics, when usually it’s not the case. If racism is expressed from political parties, it must it must mean that there are means of conveying the same ideology through pop culture through other politicians who obviously tend to be in opposition on some subjects but agree with them, when it comes to Islamophobia. And if you are immediate an Indian listening today, what does it feel like to be Indian and Muslim and To live under such a government in terms of discrimination, mob violence, demonization, dehumanization, and lack of safety, etc, please, you know, tell the world what Indian Muslims are experiencing on a day to day basis?
Asif Khan 25:14
Well, I feel like it’s a crime to be an Muslim in India. Because you don’t need to commit a crime to get criminal in India, just because you are Muslim, you will be in jail, anytime you there is no certain 80 there are many cases in India still going on? Well, you know, sane Muslim activists diverse today, they were professional Muslim, they have been accused of spreading terrorism in India and they were incarcerated by the law enforcement agencies and the government, they had to spend 10 years 15 years two decades in jail and they had to fight very long legal battle to prove their innocence. So, there is no guarantee if you are a Muslim in India, you will see a safe future for yourself. Because at one side as I had explained, there is a more which can accuse you of getting married or having a baby or or just a beard on your face or if you are wearing a skullcap you can become the victim of violence, then there is a there is a policy.
I will I will repeat this. On one side you have a mobile modem, which can link to you just for having a religious identity. If you’re wearing a skullcap you have a beard on your face, you look like a Muslim, they may accuse you of consuming beef or cognate. And they can lynching. On other hand, we have police and the government, they will come to you they will accuse you of being a terrorist. They will incarcerate you and you will be languishing in jail for decades, it would be very hard for you or your family to prove your innocence. And by the time you will come out of jail. It would be like you have already wasted your one decades 10 decades or three decades. You have spent 25 years in jail for doing nothing you do one in jail just because you are Muslims and how Islamophobia is being promoted in the country. I will give you a sample like the last one we sample of not past seven days. The pradesh is the most populous state in India, it had more than 200 million lives in in single state. In last one week, three incidents happen in their district, one Muslim who was a male seller. He was attacked by a group of Hindu vigilance. They accused him of carrying Talmud the curtain and brutally beaten him up and video went viral on social media. I do not know if the culprits have been arrested or not yet. But one incident happened where a Muslim made traitors what brutally assaulted by Hindu como second incident happened.
Another Muslim traders who were accused of counsel uttering by police, so police had booked him for house lottery. They reached to his house at midnight 1am around 1am family of the victim has led the first beam of torture to him and then threw him down from the rooftop. Because of that, he died during the treatment in hospital recently, just two days back. police’s randomly picked up six Muslims on the acquisition of cow slaughtering, taken them to custody and torture them inside custody for whole night. Six Muslim have been tortured by police for whole night. And in the morning, early morning, police told them you are innocent. Now go back to your home. So now you can imagine the situation of a storm three incident just within one week. And how the politics politicians the media have played a role into it I will explain those politician who belong to the Modi Modi’s party, BJP How often is Pew when Mr. Mr. Muslim, they go to media and they give statements in television media, electronic printed media and human interaction campaign very debut statement with Like they say the Muslims and Islam will be wiped out from the face of the earth.
They they talk like the Muslims are the enemy of India or they should go to Pakistan, the patriotism of the Muslims constantly being questioned in India. Muslims are being called international and betters just for the because they are Muslims. And media has played a great role like we have seen what Joseph Goebbels did in Nazi Germany. And we know the role of the Indian and we know the role of the Rwanda radio journalist in 1993, genocide. Indian media has been the segment doing the same in India for last seven years, I would say like recently, in last few years, when endemic has broken out in India.
They blame Muslim actor they blame Indian Muslim for the virus for Coronavirus in India. So, what Indian media did that time last year they they blamed Indian Muslim and say this is the cost per se of the Muslims to spread virus Coronavirus in India so that they can defend the northern Modi government and Muslims who are called korona bomb Muslims who are called Corona jihadi. So they say it’s a Jihad done by Indian Muslim in India and they are deliberately spreading the virus to infect the Hindu population of India. Innocent Muslim students even if they were a student, they were a student of the mother’s religious school. You understand it 500 Muslim students who are studying in a mother’s or some Indian media went there capture their photos and videos and to help populate it with the headline like 500 Cora bombs found in the mothers of some Muslim students are called Corona bombs. Corona jihadi and Muslim.
Yasser Louati 32:09
Acid excuse me for interrupting you again. You mean to tell me that a hoax was launched that Muslims are carrying Corona bombs, even though in India Modi was responsible for holding these mass rallies that work themselves massive, Corona or clusters? Is that what you’re telling me?
Asif Khan 32:33
Yes, as I’m narrating the story of festival broke out last year 2020. The massive rally and the election rallies and the Hindu congregation festival is taken place this year only during second wave of Corona pandemic. In first, in first away it was Muslim who was solely blamed by not only media, but the Indian politician who are close to non Modi and his party and his supporters. So they are one massive campaign against to the Muslim and because of that they have consequences on the ground. Many Muslim have been attacked, many Muslim were attacked, they were poor Muslim, they were selling vegetables and they were food vendors.
This the right wing, Hindu, those who are who writes on social media and media. They have their head propagated a conspiracy theories that Muslims are deliberately mixing their saliva into vegetables, or they are spitting in fruits and food. So do not buy anything from the Muslim vendor Muslim shopkeepers. And because of that many Muslim or poor food vendors and vegetable vendors, they were attacked by the Hindu last few years. There were many cases where Muslim patients were denied medical assistance from the hospital when they reach out to the hospital, hospital or to them to have a negative report of COVID we cannot we cannot admit you or we cannot provide you any kind of medical assistant medical health. So this happened last year. And everyone played a role in civil society, politician, right wing politician. And of course media has played a great role as I have explained how they have systematically they run 24 seven anti muslim propaganda from their television studio.
Even recently, recently, just a few weeks ago, I think, on fourth of may or fifth of May, a member of parliament who belong to during Modi’s party BJP. He falsely accused Muslim employ of a call center actually a call center was set up in South India, which was supposed to help those people who need some kind of help regarding the availability of hospital beds or medicine or whatever. corner medicine or something like that. So he went there to the call center. And he randomly accused the 16 Muslim or 17, Muslim of being corruption. There, he said that the Muslim, he didn’t say did Muslim, but he clearly read out names to cherry pick the 70 names out of 200 employees, and read out those names in front of camera and said these 17 pupils are indulged in bed escape they are they are doing a scam here, who recruited them, what is their qualification, et cetera, et cetera. So he deliberately cherry pick the 17 names, whatever, after that. Those 17 names were being circulated in social media and worse, and in Facebook and Twitter, with a claim that these 17 terrorists are deliberately killing Hindu patients in India. They have been they were saved from their job, police detained them cautioned them for hours. After inquiry, they found Of course, not not guilty, they were found innocent but they lost their job. So you know, how systematic Islamophobia in this country
Yasser Louati 36:13
asked if I’m truly sorry to hear that. And once more we see that ideologies, they tend to make human beings incapable of thinking that you can spread a conspiracy theory in the midst of a pandemic, that Muslims are deliberately spitting on vegetables, and are themselves carrying Corona bombs to hurt the rest of the population. To me, I mean, we will, you know, conclude on that and on on where India is going, and how suicidal these ideologies are, I mean, like, I’m, I’m in Paris, and I know, I know exactly where this kind of racism leads a country to. I know, you touched on that as if, but I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask you to be more to speak more of the role of Indian media.
Do you have a tradition of? Or can I say, Great, courageous, you know, journalism that investigates and exposes the corruption the flaws of the government, or, as is the case in France, again, you know, I know my country better than the rest of the of the world, that most of the media belong to a tiny minority of billionaires, of course of No, no the wealthy and interior, those media always are used as propaganda platforms for the people in power.
Asif Khan 37:37
Actually, this situation is similar in India as well. You do not have Muslim representation in the media. Each and every media house is owned by a billionaire who are not who are close to the power and who are very close to her and Modi and editors or big journalists, so called Big journalists, they, they work on the behalf of the government, I would say there are very few exception. In the media fraternity, who can be called a real journalist. There are many journalists who dare to speak against the government, they lost their job. Now they do not have a job. What they are doing is they’re doing just independent journalism right now. Like they have open their own YouTube channel. So they are doing independent journalism, citizen journalism. There are few news websites in India. we criticize the government.
But as far as mainstream media is concerned, especially in television, media, and the newspaper, they are completely propaganda machine of the government, they do not care about the truth, they do not care about the evidence, what they do, just like WhatsApp, if government has sent them a WhatsApp forward, like you need to publish this statement, they will publish their statement if that’s what they do. And as far as the Islamophobia is concerned, as I have explained, Indian media every day, you open any channel, whether it’s English channel or Hindi new channel, they will debate about something which is related to the Muslim and they won’t debate anything positive.
The purpose of the debate is demonizing an entire community, dehumanization of the Muslims and how to normalize the happiness in the society. So like for example, there is a there is a theory again a conspiracy theory in India, which was started by the right wing Hindu nationalist, they accused Muslims of doing low jihad. What is love jihad, I would explain for Western audience. They claim that Muslim have Muslim men especially, they have a concept in Islam religion, that the lower Hindu Women that trap them into their love. They married with them and convert them into Islam. And then this is how they increase their population.
This is how they they humiliate Hindus by tapping their women in the low. So, they have given it a name of low Jihad and slow in the initial stage, it was started by right wing posterior perspiration, those who believe in the conspiracy theory, it was started by right wing propaganda in their own psyche like Facebook, Whatsapp, then it become a top of the national media, national media also started debating on such issues, whether it exists or not. And then they reach out on the conclusion that it exists, then it become a talk of the politician has already shared who belong to the BJP. They started talking about it in the election campaign, it became a topic in the election campaign.
And recently, BJP government in different states has introduced a bill against law grps, like Nuremberg laws in Germany, where they introduced the Nuremberg who like you cannot marry a Jew cannot marry a German. So, this is what they are doing here. If the founder, interfaith couple were men is a Muslim and girl is Hindu, they will falsely accuse him of being Jihad and he will be punished, he will descend to the chair. So, any random topic, which which is, which is coined by fringe element, this is how they may make it, man is history. Yeah. Yes, from frame to mainstream, this is the journey, and it cannot be completed without the contribution of Indian media, Indian media played great.
Yasser Louati 41:51
Sounds. This sounds very, very familiar. In France, and other Western countries. They only care about Western women when it comes to Muslim men. But when I give you an example, in France, for example, a study showed that 15% that’s one 5% of French Muslim women have either experienced rape or attempted rape. And nobody cares about that, even that, when women are so scared of pressing charges, that less than 5% do take it to take the matter to court. But then you will it will comes at times of campaigns, and they will accuse Muslim men, oftentimes of luring white women, as if they were some kind of trophy. And this is what you see the hypocrisy of nationalist governments, that they use their own people as a justification for further racism.
We also see it in France, for example, with the homeless, so you have the far whites, when they see that the French government or when they see that, you know, for example, a population of immigrant descent have subsidies from the government that will call that out and say, we should care first about our own low income families and our own homeless. The problem is, at the same time, they promote a liberal agenda, which will make the working class even more poor, and they advocate for less of a welfare state, which will make the homeless even more even even poorer, and more vulnerable.
And I this is again, an example that shows how racism when it permeates a society, similar mechanisms are consistently used to justify the supremacy of one group over the West and to scapegoat a minority as the source of our country’s ills. But speaking on that, the domination of one group over the rest of the majority population over the rest, our other communities coping the six, the Catholics, the Buddhist for example, are they also victims of that same violence?
Asif Khan 44:03
Yes, of course, other minority also suffers due to the majoritarian politics in India, like six they have been suffering, they also face a tape ratio, a tape on them because of their religious identity. And recently, if you have heard about some former former education, if you read something about it, a former education has been going on in Delhi, New Delhi national capital city of India for last six months, and the majority of the protesters are six. So they have some kind of brutality like and that is I said, a propaganda head campaign against them. They were labeled as terrorists khalistani or extremist by the media and the support of the right wing government.
And as far as Christians concerned in India, they also face attacked by the right wing there they are often being accused of Converting and spreading missionary and they are accused of converting Hindus into Christianity. So their churches are being accused on a regular basis. Their churches are being attacked on a regular basis. They are there they pray every Sunday or I don’t actually remember the day but whenever they pray, their prayer get disturbed, they were attacked. And this is they are not isolated cases.
There are many cases of attack on churches on the Christian people and on sick as well. But the difference between that tape on Muslim and Christian is different from the sick actually, the found the those who believe in the Hindu supremacy, they believe that Muslims and Christians are outsider, they do not belong to this land. They Muslim and Christians are considered as the enemy of the Hindus.
Sikh was the religion sic was founded in the mainland India. So, in case of Sikhism, the tribe appropriated although significant as opposed appointed military, they say sick or not Hindus, we are different, we have different religious philosophy, we are different, we are not a part of Hinduism. For those people who who propagate Hindu supremacy, they claim that Sikhism is a part of Hindu society f6 or Hindu is what they have their own political agenda for the for the history, they just want to include the population of the Hindu country they like there are tribals in India, who do not come into the fold of Hindu religion. But the RSS had been trying very hard to spread Hinduism in tribal areas when they went out to tribals and asked them to declare their religion as Hindu. If a government come for sensors or for counting the number of tribals and when government asked them their religion, RSS telling Google that please do not tell your tribals tell them your religion is Hindu. So, this is how the that tried to the number of Hindu in the country just for their political gain. Recently, if you have heard about citizenship Amendment Act, yes, India,
Yasser Louati 47:19
yeah, tell us about it.
Asif Khan 47:21
Yes, yes. Yes. So, recently, just two days ago, the Union Government of India has asked those non Muslim refugees who came from Pakistan or Bangladesh or Afghanistan to apply for Indian citizenship. So, what they are doing is they are given citizenship to the Hindus from the Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. And on other hand, they are doubting the citizenship of Indian Muslim who have been living here for centuries. They are asking Indian Muslims through religion, what will happen in insert in such cases that Indian Muslim failed to prove their citizenship, they will be declared foreigner and they will be put into the detention centers.
Yasser Louati 48:08
So, if Hindu supremacy is targeting specifically Muslims and Christians, because they are portrayed as a foreign entity or foreign entities, if they are trying to appropriate the city or religion and the latter are resisting and saying No, we are not Hindus, do you see any attempts successful or not of building solidarity between these communities
Asif Khan 48:35
actually Muslim and six have good relation with each other not only in India, but outside India as well. So, yes, I see the good relation good bonding between Muslims and six. And there are many sixth group who are protesting along with Muslim against the citizenship Amendment Act in the late 2019 and early 2020. There are support organization in western countries as well whether Canada or the United States, they always support Muslim cause. So, yes, I can say as far as most Muslim and Sikh are concerned, they have good bonding good relation. Christian, unfortunately, they are not very much active in the politics. So, Christian, you will not see Christian voices on political platform in India, they are less than 2%. And okay, they are not very vocal about it.
Yasser Louati 49:35
We are getting close to the end of this podcast and again and I really admire your courage as if for speaking so openly about what’s going on in your country. My question now is in relation to the Indian diaspora abroad, what is the responsibility of the Indian diaspora around the world? What is your message to them whether they are in The US in Canada, in the UK, in Malaysia, Singapore, and of course on the African continent.
Asif Khan 50:08
My message to Indian diaspora, whether they are Muslim, or non Muslim, what we believe in secularism and human rights, my message for them is that you need to speak out more and more, you are not living in a hostile environment, you have more freedom, you are living in proper democracy, at least those countries allow you to express your views and your you have freedom of speech there.
So please use your privilege. I’m your platform to spread awareness about the situation of India in western democracy and the international community. And please reach out to international media and narrate his story of the Indian Muslim first thing you need to do is and the second thing is very important, like as I explained the Indian in India, right wing Hindu organization have various stronghold, the right wing organization have a stronghold in western countries. Yes. In the United States, they have their own organization. And they are very powerful there. But what they do in us is they they use a mask of being minority and offers to them, they claim to be we are minority, we are Hindus, we are minority here. And so there’s support, for example, they support liberal politics in us, but in India, they support right wing politics.
Yasser Louati 51:33
Yes. So, yes, this
Asif Khan 51:34
kind of propaganda need to be busted international community has recently five organization which belonged to or affiliated to Hindu right wing politics in India have taken approximate $1 million in the name of COVID fund from the US government. And this kind of fund will be used to fill Islamophobia in India. So such kind of things need to be exposed, and it is the job of Indian diaspora, that they resist that kind of head head politics. And they expose head politics on wherever they live, whether live in Europe, or in America or Australia, it’s their duty to talk about such kind of politics and fascism. And it’s their duty to support those who are oppressed in India, whether it be Muslims or the creature nor the sick, or the talus, which are lower caste Hindus, it’s their duty to speak on behalf of them, because they do not have platform to express their thoughts. They do not have many houses where they convert the restaurant. So those people who have this kind of privilege should speak on behalf of them.
Yasser Louati 52:41
What you’re saying actually also applies to other diaspora around the world. I can speak for example of many members of the African diaspora of the Asian diaspora wherever they are. And oftentimes they would praise liberal politics, secularism, human rights, when they live as minorities, for example, in France, the UK, the US, Canada and or elsewhere. But when it comes to back home, they become staunch conservatives. And we see, I want to call this hypocrisy out because it does not help. You cannot seek equality when you live as a minority in a country. But when you are the majority group, let’s say between quotation marks back home, you see the supremacy of your group, as if to finish please tell us how you see India going, or where you see India going in the next five to 10 years.
Asif Khan 53:39
If I observe the current situation, of course, I’m not a fortune teller. Of course, that’s what would happen in future, but whatever the current situation is, India is not going the right direction definitely is going if the situation will be worse as far as I know. Because people do not care about the real issue, the real issue like their own, you know, they need bread, butter, they need shelter, tenant education, they need medical, ethical do not care about these things. Currently, full price in india is in Indian currency, it’s about 100 rupees per liter. And they do not care about it. Like it’s just the inflation is going high in India, and the price of food vegetables and the all basic Emirate is going high. And people do not care about it.
They care about communal politics. So even if they have some kind of you know that they are upset with the government right now that government is not providing them education. government didn’t help them during pandemic day Hello to someone near and dear to corner. But when election time will come, the same government will play a political, religious communal part.
Like something will happen like maybe Wars type situation between India, Pakistan, and some something may happen in Kashmir. And like, as I said, the issue of the temple and the mosque in India, so, so majority of India votes on these topics, if they see that Muslims are being oppressed Muslims are in pain, they will happily vote for the majoritarian politics, because they are happy Muslim in pain, so they are happy.
Yasser Louati 55:29
This is again, again a case of divide and conquer and using identity politics, to avoid the criticism and actually scrutiny of corruption, incompetence and mismanagement of public funds. And, and India is not alone, we see it happening elsewhere in the Western world, the same Western world that lectures, the rest of the world on the human rights and civil liberties. As if, hon, thank you, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us on this platform.
Asif Khan 56:04
Thank you so much, brother, Yasser, for allowing me to speak on your platform, I hope the people from India and outside India would learn more about Indian politics and the situation of India and international community, especially those who care about human rights, who Western countries will pay some attention to the India and will, will exploit whatever happened here.
Yasser Louati 56:28
Thank you so much. Now, I’m really grateful for your time as if and please, you are welcome any time to come on this platform to share your experiences and to if you need to make a call, you get my coordinates and you can contact me. And this applies to any individual around the world who wants to speak of human rights, civil liberties and struggles for social justice.
The Indian case, again shows us that Islamophobia is not only a Muslim problem is always a national problem, because that racism allows governments to conceal their incompetence to conceal their corruption and to play the card or call Islam or diversion. You do not speak of your failure ism, you use a minority to divert public opinion and keep them busy with identity politics.
Yes, the Modi government, as racist as it is, and as much as we can call it out for its, you know, ideology of Hindu supremacy did not bring any good to the Indian people. It has invaded India, more than ever, it has applied racist policies. And the Indians unfortunately, who voted for Modi and vote for him again and support him are either dying from COVID because of his mismanagement of the pandemic and are getting poorer by the day as a public funds are being mismanaged.
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