Mob Lynchings in India: A Warning for the Rest of Us.
Published by CJ Werleman Independent, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project that seeks to expose and end Western injustices against Muslims. Please SUPPORT his fight against injustice by clicking here.
A slew of polling data shows that discrimination towards Muslims in Western countries is reaching a level of hatred not seen since the Nazis whipped up a continent of Europeans into a state of homicidal anti-Semitism.
This week the United Kingdom’s Home Office published a report showing that more than 80,000 hate crimes were reported in the UK during the 12 months to March of this year, representing an increase of 30% over the previous year, and the largest-year-to-year increase in the five years such data has been recorded.
The anti-immigrant sentiment stirred up by the Brexit vote, alongside recent ISIS inspired or orchestrated attacks in London and Manchester have been blamed for the alarming increase in race motivated attacks against minorities.
In other words, Muslims are increasingly seen as the prime target for hate filled rage.
Not helping matters, of course, is the growing success of opportunistic political entrepreneurs on the far right, and the normalization of those who peddle anti-Muslim hate via their books, podcasts, and social media accounts.
The question on the minds of Muslim citizens of Western countries is how much worse will it get before it gets better? It’s a question that inevitably leads to dark places, and one that Trump and his allies are only too willing to answer with threats of Nazi-era database registries and Second World War-era civilian internment camps.
It’s a question often answered by imagining the policies of segregation, marginalization, and humiliation mete out by the Israeli state upon its Palestinian Israeli citizens.
But if these nightmarish promises and realities weren’t bad enough, there is a place that fills Muslim hearts and minds with utmost fear and dread. To this end, Muslims living in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere shudder to think things might become as bad for them as they are for Muslims living in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India.
A recent report has shone a light into the severity and gravity of hate motivated violence against Muslims in India over the course of the past decade.
In the years 2010 to 2017, Muslims were the targets of 51% of terrorism attacks, and comprised 86% of terrorism related fatalities.
While many of these attacks and fatalities are related to bovine issues, there is a tendency to dismiss these attacks as typical of intra-communal violence, the legacy of “ancient rivalries.” But as many as 97% of these attacks have taken place in the years since Modi’s government came to power in 2014, while more than 50% of these attacks took place in states governed by the far right political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to the authors of the report.
Mob lynching, attacks carried out by anti-Muslim vigilante groups, and gang rape now characterize the reality for India’s 130 million Muslims.
The authors of the report observe that while there is a clear history of mob violence in India, particularly in pastoral communities, bovine related mob-lynching murders is a new phenomena, and characterized by the following characteristics: “the victims are largely Muslims, the proximate causes often based on rumors, built upon the prejudices against a community.”
The fact that 97% of these kinds of attacks have occurred only in the last 3 years underscores this reality.
At the root of this new threat against Indian Muslims is a “culture of impunity,” one whereby the ultra-nationalist government of Modi and BJP has either turned a blind eye to the rising violence, or, worse, given its tacit endorsement.
“Not a single instance of strong condemnation by government institutions has been witnessed in these cases. On the contrary, such incidences have at times been followed by shows of strength and statements of encouragement for the perpetrators,” writes Sandipan Baksi, a journalist with News Laundry.
This, as Baksi observes, has normalized violence against Muslims, and has created a perception among Indians that violence against non-Hindus is acceptable, and moreover, has “implied a mainstreaming, in fact, glorification, of, what till very recently was considered, the fringe,” adding that the “erstwhile fringe is now encouraged to follow suit everywhere thus, perpetuating itself to the extent that it creates an illusion of being normal and presents the danger of a real breakdown of social bonds between the majority and the minority.”
In the United States, President Trump performs the very same function. When a Muslim carries out an act of premeditated violence, Trump is quick to condemn the disparate beliefs and culture of 1.6 billion Muslims. When a racist or white nationalist carries terrorizes Muslims, Trump utters neither a word of condemnation for the attacker or solace for the families of the victims.
Trump was silent when a terrorist plowed his van into Muslims at a mosque in London. He was silent when an avowed “Trump loving conservative” murdered six Muslims at a mosque in Quebec City, and then silent again when a bomb was detonated a mosque in Wisconsin.
Trump’s refusal to offer even one word of condemnation for these attacks against Muslims amounts to tacit endorsement for terrorism against Muslim American citizens, and is very much in line with the “culture of impunity” Modi’s government has fostered against Muslims in India.
To this end, one must ask what horror next awaits Muslims in the West? Lynching and mob violence, like we see in India? While these questions lead only to dark places, they must be asked and answered in order to prevent our aspirational liberal societies sinking further into the unthinkable abyss.
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