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Hindu Mobs, anti-Muslim Boycotts: In Modi’s India, the Echoes of 1930s Germany Are Growing Louder

Chakar The Great

Apr 25, 2018
United Kingdom
Modi is talking to world leaders about the threat of Islamist radicalization. But the real threat to India comes from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own party.

Taking part in the nine-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit just over a week ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced a familiar concern in the region following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan: the heightened risk of Islamist fundamentalism.

In his speech, delivered virtually, he urged the members, which include China, Russia and central Asian countries, to join forces to fight "radicalization and extremism."

Religious fundamentalism, he noted, had historically been a barrier to development in Central Asia, and urged member countries to promote "rational thinking" as a counter to radicalization.

The creation of a potentially new haven of jihadi terror in Asia is a legitimate cause of concern for countries in the region with disaffected Muslim youths and ongoing insurgencies, such as in Mindanao and Kashmir. The governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have for long been dreading the return of the thousands of young men who left those countries to join ISIS in Syria.

Modi could breathe easy on this front, though. Much to the surprise of international security analysts, Indian Muslims have historically stayed away from global jihad movements. Neither were Indian Muslims drawn to the mujahideen resistance in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s nor to the subsequent al-Qaida-Taliban "emirate." They proved equally impervious to the toxic appeal of ISIS.

Muslims offer prayers and break their fast on the first day of Ramadan this year at the Jama Mosque in New Delhi, India, with attendance constricted by the deadly COVID wave sweeping the countryCredit: AP Photo/Manish Swarup
The 100-odd Indians who joined ISIS — of the nearly 200 million Muslims in the country — accounted for less than 1 percent of the estimated 40,000 foreign fighters of the "caliphate."

But, for Modi, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) uses Muslims as the electoral bogeyman to consolidate a culturally diverse and caste-riven Hindu vote base against a common "other," it makes sense to bang on about Muslim "radicalization" all the same, as a means of Hindu mobilization.

In reality, the radicalization of the majority is a much bigger threat confronting India than minority extremism.

Lynching of Muslims by Hindu mobs have become so normalized that they rarely make news anymore. New laws against beef and interfaith love – termed "love jihad" by Modi’s party – now allow Hindu vigilante groups to attack Muslims with impunity. A pliant civil administration and police force mostly look away, if they’re not actively collaborating with the vigilantes.

Ever since Modi’s thumping re-election in 2019, he has doubled down on the Hindu majoritarian project of remaking India’s secular republic as a Hindu state, and arm’s-length vigilante groups allied with the ruling party’s Hindu-first world view play a significant role in asserting the new order.

Atrocious hate crimes and speeches by these fundamentalist groups offer a daily reminder to the Muslims of the new social hierarchy in a changing India, where Muslims can at best hope to be second-class citizens.

It’s the new normal in the "New India," a term that Modi’s supporters use as shorthand for a golden era under an efficient and muscular Hindu leader who is ending corruption, bringing prosperity and showing Muslims their place in the Hindu-majority country.

When Modi bid for national power in 2014, he ran on a campaign of inclusive growth, with the slogan of "development for all." But overseeing an economy that has progressively worsened under him, Modi has returned to his core competence of divisive politics to maintain support in the face of the death and destruction as a result of his poor handling of COVID.

The core messaging that emanates these days from Hindu supremacists is that development is not possible for all because Muslims, who constitute 14 percent of the population, are eating up the fruits of progress that should accrue to the Hindus, who account for 80 percent. Quite literally. Recently, the chief minister of India’s biggest state, Uttar Pradesh, which has a population the size of Brazil, triggered a controversy when he blamed Muslims for cornering the government-subsidized food meant for all.



Aug 22, 2019
United States
Good article.

Economic boycott in India of Muslims is in full swing.

Some examples from my friends and relatives all over India:
- RWA of their colony wants to change the garbage collector because he is a Muslim and might be a security risk. Never mind that this guy was the garbage collector for the past 30 years.
- Company's cafeteria was contracted to a Muslim. Employees forced the company to breach the contract and kick him out because they were afraid he would serve meat (even though the contract was that only vegetarian food to be served)
- Govt office employees actively boycotting a Muslim shop outside the office. Boycott initiated through WhatsApp of course.


Nov 25, 2012
boycott paves way for a parallel economy. indian muslims will now have no choice to move ghettos and make a parallel state within a state.

Novus ordu seclorum

May 30, 2021
Salaam to my ancient Abrahamic Sharif cousins. We do not agree on everything but respect to the people who fight for righteous cause. Haven't seen an article like this from any Arab country.

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