Why India Is The Most Dangerous Place For Muslims During COVID-19 Pandemic? OpEd

India is seeing the worst communal violence following the fake news story and mischievously doctored video going viral across Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and WhatsApp.

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The beginning of March saw a gathering of thousands of Muslims across Asia at New Dehli. The congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat group at a mosque in the Nizamuddin neighborhood of New Delhi last month stirred a lot of anti-Muslim groups to blame the community for the spread of the virus in India.

Along with the pandemic, the country is also facing an infodemic with fake news spreading more rapidly than the virus itself.

A sample of the most widely shared fake news story include “Muslim Man Spitting on Fruits to Spread Corona,” “Muslims Denying Hindus Rations in Karachi,” “Muslim Worker in Restaurant Spitting in Food to Spread Coronavirus,” “Muslim Foreign Nationals with Coronavirus Hiding in Patna Mosque,” “Muslims Sneezing in Unison to Spread Corona,” “Muslim Spits on Policeman to Spread Coronavirus,” “Muslims Licking Utensils to Spread Corona,” and “Corona Infected Muslim Beats, Hindu Priest.” writes CJ Werleman for the Inside Arabia.

Inducing violence and hatred in the time of a pandemic is what they intend to do and are succeeding. While the whole country is looking for ways to cleanse the virus, these religious groups are getting their way with ethnic cleansing.

A combined mob of 22 Hindu extremists attacked a mosque in Belgavi, Karnataka and assaulted 3 Muslim men blaming them for the spread of the virus. The video shows the men pleading the mob to stop as they continue the hate speech and violence.

“You people [Muslims] are spreading the disease. Why are you coming to our village? Do you know how many have died?” asked a man shouting at the Muslim men.

Muslim humanitarian aid workers were assaulted while delivering food to the needy after being falsely accused of having links with the Muslim missionary group in Nizamuddin. In Arunachal, Muslim truck drivers were viciously beaten up by a group of Hindu extremists.

Last week, a video emerged of a police officer attacking a Muslim pedestrian in the street, while yelling, “You [expletive]. Because of you people [Muslims], coronavirus is spreading in this country.” writes Werleman.

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These are just a fraction of attacks against the minority community in the country. Islamophobic hashtags were used across all social media platforms with fake videos a man spitting on the police. Since March 28, tweets with the hashtag #CoronaJihad have appeared nearly 300,000 times and potentially seen by 165 million people on Twitter, according to data shared by TIME.

The discrimination got a tad bit stronger when doctors at a hospital in Rajasthan refused to deliver a pregnant woman’s baby because she was Muslim resulting in the death of the newborn hours later. A country that is fighting a virus that does not differentiate while infecting millions worldwide,  the world’s largest democracy is once again slipping into Islamophobic mindset and hatred.

By: CJ Werleman