Namaz, Islamophobia & More…

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 12, 2024 IST

Namaz, Islamophobia & More…

Sutanu Guru

Executive Director, C Voter Foundation

Even during the current “election season” when news about leaders joining other parties and alliances being formed dominate the news cycle, the controversy over Namaz on a public road in Delhi a few days ago managed to grab both attention and eyeballs. For the “liberal” and secular types, the manner in which the Delhi cop kicked Muslims who were “peacefully” doing Namaz on a road represents yet another example of how India under Narendra Modi is becoming more and more majoritarian and anti-Muslim by the day. On the other hand, the Hindutva types are insisting that the cop who kicked the Muslims is a hero because Namaz on the streets is no longer a matter of faith & devotion but a display of street power and political Islamism. Clipped, cropped and edited videos have become such a common weapon in these times of polarised ideological and identity warfare that even this created a storm of outrage.

In case you missed this, here is what happened. Last week, some Muslims were offering afternoon Namaz on the roads and that had resulted in traffic being disrupted. Some policemen, including the cp in the eye of the storm first tried to persuade the people to not block the roads as traffic is heavy in Delhi. The Muslims did not pay heed. Then the policemen attempted to push and shove the Muslims away from the main road. Once again, the Muslims defied this attempt and sat down to pray. As usual, videos were being taken of the fracas. Then the cop in question starts kicking a few Muslims offering Namaz who were blocking the road despite earlier attempts to move them. The incident became viral on social media, the cop was branded a monster and an anti-Muslim bigot and even the mainstream media started covering the “story”. There was a near riot like situation as Muslim mobs gathered in large numbers to show their outrage. It is lucky there was no full blown riot that day. Delhi Police announced that they have suspended the cop in question and initiated an enquiry.

But the controversy continues and has even reached the global media that gleefully peddles any story that puts India in a bad light. Even so called liberal Muslims have been saying that Islamophobia is now so rampant in India that even the police doesn’t hesitate to abuse and mistreat Muslims in full pubic view. Of course, there are counterpoints from the other end with folks saying Islamophobia is a hoax and that Islamists and Marxists have been gaining up since decades to propagate this myth and set a false narrative. They also say that Islamists have been so emboldened that they feel free to challenge the Indian State without any fear of consequences.

What actually is happening? And where to apportion blame? To begin with, the author is very clear that what the cop did to Muslims offering Namaz is unforgivable. Policemen are supposed to be trained to handle such situations in a sensitive manner. It doesn’t make any sense to use force against people who are not threatening to attack the police or public property. There could have been a better way to unblock the roads. Having said that, the author is also very clear that this behaviour of some Muslims to deliberately offer Namaz on public roads and disrupting traffic causing inconvenience to ordinary people is unacceptable. The author has been living in Delhi since 1988 and has seen a growing tendency amongst some Muslims to offer prayers on main roads even when other options are available. The author has been stuck and stranded personally on major roads many times and felt needlessly harassed. Now, if some liberal intellectuals decide and pass verdict that even the author is Islamophobic, there is no problem as the author doesn’t care.

The roots of this can be traced back to 2020 when mostly Muslims supported by some “liberals” backed a main road in Delhi for months to protest against the CAA. Nothing moved them as lakhs of Delhi citizens suffered. The Supreme Court took so long to pass a verdict saying causing inconvenience to citizens is not acceptable that there was no point. The Supreme Court failed yet again when farmers blocked Delhi in 2021. No wonder, people have got the message that bckin rads is now an acceptable thing.

The author doesn’t even want to go into the religious angle and to the debate over why Muslims can’t pray and offer Namaz on roads when processions of Hindu festivities also disrupt traffic by blocking roads. At the end of the day, that Namaz was not faith but a display of street power. Even though the cop behaved in an unforgivable way.

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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