The national and international events of the first two decades of the 21st century have exposed certain Indian Muslim traits. This exposure has come because of the definite pattern that followed those events. The emergence of social media helped in repeatedly refreshing the public memory. Social Media also helped in gathering the evidence of views of the community expressed publicly. This enhanced the retention and recall value in public memory.
The reaction of many Indian Muslims while supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, hoisting ISIS flags, raising the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and protesting against opening cinema hall in Mecca (Saudi Arab) have made even genuine liberals ponder about the problem with Muslims per se. The debate is flaring up whether Muslims have a problem with non-Muslims or themselves are the problem for the non-Muslims. This Muslim mindset is not driven by any economic issue and cannot be deciphered from a socio-political perspective alone. There is a need to include the psychological dimension also to decode their social behaviour. We need to observe the Indian Muslims traits more objectively. Practically, South Asian Muslims in general and India, Pakistan and Bangladeshi Muslims, in particular, have a similar mindset as they share a common history. A larger section of the Muslim masses, both educated and illiterate, have the following common personality attributes. These attributes are found among the sub-continental Muslims in general and do not include radicalized ones or political activists.
Believe In Universal Conspiracy Theories
The Muslims in India are more than keen to subscribe to conspiracy theories, particularly the ones which can be labelled as anti-Islam. The Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh are not any different as they all share a common history and follow the same firqas like Deobandi and Barelvi Sunni and Shia etc. Any incident or socio-political development which may adversely affect their community interests or point a finger at them will be quickly painted as a conspiracy of either RSS, VHP, Hindus, Jews or even Americans and the west. They have an inbuilt belief that the whole world is hell-bent committed to conspire against them. They will quickly come up with some conspiracy theory whenever they are at the disadvantageous side with some socio-economic or political event or in visible future likely to be blamed for some illegal or terrorist activity. Very often, these conspiracy theories are fueled to gain political dividends and interesting Muslim masses also enthusiastically subscribe to the same.
Numerous examples are reinforcing the prevailing practice of conspiracy theories among Indian Muslims. Godhra train burning incident was also called a conspiracy of VHP and RSS by many Muslim leaders and clerics. For Godhra train burning, a total of 31 Muslims have been convicted by Gujarat High Court and that is in concurrence with the trial court. Yet, Zakia Ahsan Jafri in her petition at the SC saying that Godhra train carnage was the conspiracy of VHP and BJP functionaries to target innocent Muslims (Outlook -15 April 2013). That is an unrelenting pursuit of conspiracy theories.
Batla House encounter was a police operation by a special cell team of Delhi Police, against a terrorist group Indian Mujahideen in which two terrorists were killed and several others were arrested. One Inspector M.C.Sharma became a martyr in the operation. Immediately after the encounter, several prominent Muslim leaders started fueling the conspiracy theory. In Delhi, around 4000 clerics assembled under the banner of Rashtriya Ulema Council and called Batla House encounter a conspiracy and demanded a judicial inquiry (India Today – 30 Jan 2009). Even after three years of the Batla House encounter, one Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni called the encounter fake and Sajid and Atif (the two youth killed in this encounter) were innocent and not terrorists. President of Muslim Political Council of India, Dr. Tasleem Rahmani and many other Muslim leaders expressed similar views (Milli Gazette – 15 Oct 2011). However, in March 2021 the Court convicted the terror accused and awarded the death sentence. So far no public apology has come for all those who had called the encounter a conspiracy.
For the Mumbai attack, the then Minority Affairs Minister Abdul Rahman Antuley called that an RSS conspiracy (Hindustan Times – 18 December 2008). It’s a different matter that a Pakistani citizen Azmal Kasab was arrested alive and he was proved to be vital proof that it was a Pakistan military supported operation. Later Kasab was convicted by the Court and executed.
Pulwama attack was a Pakistan sponsored terror attack by a suicide bomber in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred. Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed the responsibility. India intelligence and investigation agencies confirmed that it was a Pakistan supported terror act. Yet, the former Chief Minister of J&K Farookh Abdulla called it a conspiracy of the Prime Minister to win the election (Republic World – 13 April 2019).
The Muslim women in India have been subjected to the gross injustice of Triple Talaq for centuries. In the majority of Arab countries, Triple Talaq is banned. In India also, the government decided to make it an illegal and a punishable offence. The intent was only to ensure social security to the women and save them from the humiliation of Halala that in the majority of the cases follows when the Triple Talaq was given in the rage or on sudden provocation. The bill was passed in July 2019 and it was vehemently opposed by a section of Muslims, calling it a conspiracy against Muslims. Yasmin Farooqui, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board called it a conspiracy against Muslim women (Hindustan Times, 27 Feb 2018). 
Considering the growing number of police cases of forced religious conversions and associated murders led the U.P. Government to promulgate an Ordinance ‘The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020’. Though there was a clear trend of Muslims accused in such cases, yet the Ordinance did not specify any particular region as aggressor or victim. Yet, a Muslim journalist Rana Ayyub, well known for her politically and religiously biased views, called it a conspiracy against Muslims (Washington Post – 28 Nov 2020).
Covid-19 is the biggest crisis of the century and the world has still been struggling to deal with it. The vaccination drive is in full swing so that the maximum protection can be extended to the masses against this pandemic. However, many Indian Muslims are reluctant to take vaccines considering that as a conspiracy against them (German Broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) – 9 Jun 2021).
Recently, the New Zealand cricket team came to Pakistan for a tour. Due to terror threats in Pakistan and an earlier terror attack on the Srilankan team, this was the first Pakistani tour by any foreign cricket team after a long time. The minutes before the play, the New Zealand team cancelled the tour as they received intelligence inputs from various western countries about a likely terror attack on the New Zealand team. This happened despite the Pakistani Prime Minister trying hard to convince his New Zealand counterpart to give the highest level of security assurance. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid called the tour cancellation by the New Zealand team a conspiracy against Pakistan (Dawn, 17 Sep 2021). A large section of Pakistani media called it an Indian conspiracy.
The current NCB raid on the Cruise Ship case, in which NCB arrested Aryan Khan the son of cine artist Shahrukh Khan along with Arbaaz Khan and a few others for drug abuse charges, is also not exempted from conspiracy theories. Maharashtra Minorities Minister Nawab Malik called the raid fake and a conspiracy against Shahrukh Khan (Rediff News 6 Oct 2021). In reality, there are more non-Muslims arrested in that raid on Cruise.
Thus, the above examples and the sample of reactions calling the incidents conspiracies are just the tips of the iceberg. In reality, the community is a big producer as well as consumer of these conspiracy theories.
The bigger question before the non-Muslims comes that how to counter the conspiracy theories of the Muslims. If they go into myth-buster mode and discover the truth, then they will quickly play the victim card. Thus, a sensible approach will be to ask many probing questions related to their proposed conspiracy theory. This will lead them to give contradictory answers to different questions exposing the holes in their proposed conspiracy theory. This will effectively neutralise their conspiracy theory.
Playing Victim Card
After promoting the conspiracy theory to shift the blame elsewhere, many Indian Muslims smartly play the victim card. They position themselves as a victim because of their religious identity. Anyone playing the victim card is not just accidental or circumstantial but a personality attribute. In the case of Indian Muslims, it can be considered as a group personality attribute. Many psychologists are of the view that people do play the victim card for various reasons such as to control or influence the other people’s thoughts, actions and feelings to justify their abuse of others or the system, seeking undue attention or simply coping with an unfavourable situation. By playing the victim card, they try to manipulate others by blaming some individuals or organization or system while avoiding taking responsibility for their actions and try to gain sympathy for support or finding an escape route.
In the Match Fixing scandal of the year 2000, three Indian cricketers namely, Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja were accused as part of the scandal. However, only Azharuddin played the victim card saying that he was being targeted for being from a minority community. Interestingly, Azharuddin conveniently did not take responsibility as the captain or as a player. He also ignored the fact that he found a place in the team or was given captaincy on his merit and not because of his religion. The other two players Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja did not play any victim card.
When film artist Naseeruddin Shah participated in an event of the launch of a book of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, he was trolled at the Social Media Platform.
Fauzan Alavi, the spokesman for All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association had written that Indian Muslims won’t lose region by saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai as we have bigger battles and we must build educational institutes like Christians and improve our economic condition without waiting for charity. He further criticized some of the state governments policies of patronizing the seminaries with grants and clerics with salary, without making any improvement on the ground. He further advised, “It’s time for Indian Muslims to introspect and correct what needs to be corrected.” But, his candid approach did not go down very well within the community at large. A Muslim journalist Fatima Khan wrote, ‘Being a Muslim was never fun in India. State agencies have been misused to target the Muslim community (The Print 21 Jul 2019). She accused him of not realising the systematic discrimination and structured marginalization of Muslims. She further accused state agencies of randomly picking up the Muslim men and killing them. In the same article, she did not substantiate the accusation of misuse of state agencies also the innocence of those who were killed as a terrorist. She further avoided holding the Muslim community responsible to be in the socio-economic condition as it stands even after more than 7 decades of independence and more than a century after appeasement politics started since the partition of Bengal in 1905. She played a victim card.
Similarly, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, Delhi Minorities Commission former chairperson blamed Islamophobia without owning the irresponsible behaviour of the people in the Bed for Bribe scam during the Covid-19 crisis (Inter Press Services Agency, 7 Oct 2021).
To deal with the victim card being played by such Muslims should be dealt firmly without being emotionally blackmailed. First and foremost, we need to remember that they are neither interested in finding the solution nor they want to correct themselves. They have been playing the victim card to gain public sympathy and manipulate public opinion about themselves. It’s better to define a boundary for discussion and never compromise on the sanctity of the core issue during discussion. Keep on hitting the centre of gravity of the issue under focus. Instead of being in the state of emotional flux better stick to your own common sense and judgement. Confront them rather than be passive listeners. All this combine with rendering their tactic of playing victim card ineffective.
Showcase The Religious Rigidity
Ideally, faith, religion or spirituality should be a personal affair and does not call for unnecessary public attention. This should be universally applicable to everyone in the civilized world. But, Indian Muslims consider themselves as an exception to this golden rule with the mandate from the almighty. They will manifest their belief with a lot of fanfare and impose their belief on others even if they are not even remotely linked with the issue.
Among the Indian Muslim community, not only the clerics but also many others are not ready to give preference to community welfare in terms of education, healthcare and infrastructure development etc. They are more bothered about the personal matters of their other community members like what they should wear, eat, read, enjoy, play or even politically support. Many times, this is stretched to issues unrelated to Indian Muslims.
The unreasonable reaction of Indian Muslims on unrelated global issues dates back to 1919-20 when they called for Jihad against the British government and in support of Turkey which was defeated in World War-1. The issue was the potential threat of dismantling the Ottoman empire. India or Indian Muslims were nowhere related to the issue, yet they gave a call for Jihad under the banner of the Khilafat Movement. They also invited the Emir of Afghanistan to invade India and pledged their support, if he chose to do so. This was not an emotional appeal by a narrow section of the Indian Muslim community but a widespread violent mass movement. In Kerala, the Moplah Movement was an offshoot of this Khilafat Movement only.
Recently, the Saudi Arab government decided to open 10 cinema halls in the city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia. This was a purely administrative decision of the Saudi Arab government and well within their jurisdiction. However, many Muslims in Indian and Pakistan sharply reacted to this decision even though it was an internal matter of another country that also has an internal system to deal with their own religious matters. In India, many Muslim groups aggressively protested against the decision of the Saudi Arab government. Interestingly there are around 56 Islamic countries in the world, but such protests are nowhere reported except in South Asian countries namely India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Aggressive posturing and violence is an integral part of the manifestation of Islamic solidarity is a common trait of Indian Muslims. In France, a teacher ‘Samuel Paty’ was beheaded by a fanatic Jihadi Muslim simply because the teacher had shown a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad which Muslims considered as a blasphemous act (The Wire 18 Oct 2020). The French government reacted sharply against this incident and public events were organized for the public display of the same cartoon. Even the French President personally attended such events and severe restrictions were imposed on the protests against the cartoon. Well, no public in any other Islamic country publicly protested against this except the South Asian countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India, the Muslims took to the streets against French President Macron (RFI France, 1 Nov 2020). Similarly, in July-Aug 2012 in Assam, the riots took place between Bodos and illegal Bangladesh Muslim migrants. Thousands of miles away, the Muslim group in Mumbai made a violent protest at Azad Maidan in Mumbai, in support of the illegal Bangladeshi migrants. During the protest, the Amar Jawan Memorial, a symbol of national importance was vandalized (Hindustan Times 29 Aug 2012).
Their approach is not any different on social issues also. The well-organized network of clerics not only showcase the religious rigidity but also successfully enforce it on the common Muslims populace. These clerics instigate the common Muslims for not giving preference to community welfare in terms of healthcare, education and infrastructure etc.
Social reforms and extending the ambit of rights are part of the natural evolution of any society. But, for Indian Muslims, the network of clerics has made it taboo. When the government brought the bill to give justice to Muslim women by criminalizing the Triple Talaq, thousands of women obviously instigated by the fanatic clerics, staged a protest against the bill (Times of India, 16 Feb 2018).
Saving a Life can be considered as the most precious offering to God. But, the network of clerics dominating the Indian Muslim society does not think so. The renowned Muslim seminary Deoband has prohibited blood donation by Muslims declaring it a Haram or un-Islamic (Indian Express, 23 Nov 2010). Social healthcare is another casualty because of such Indian Muslims. Many Muslims in Bihar still believe that BJP’s vaccine will sterilise them and that is the reason for such Muslims in the villages of Bihar to shun Covid Jab (The Print 22 May 20121).
For the dresses of women also these clerics dictate their fatwa (decree) that what they should wear and what they should not. They have declared certain dresses like T-shirts and hair cut are Haram (un-Islamic and prohibited) for Muslim women (Mail of Islam).
Even social welfare measures for the girls are not exempted from the clutches of religious rigidity. A group of clerics ‘Jamiat Ulama – E – Hind’ gave a Fatwa (religious decree) declaring ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana as unlawful in Islam (Times of India, 30 March 2019).
Dealing with their religious rigidity beyond their personal space, the community and the government need to stand firm. The judiciary also needs to clearly demarcate the boundary of that personal space, so that the entire community does not become the hostage of the network of clerics and fanatics.
United, Aggressive And Violent posturing To Intimidate The Society
Since the dawn of the 20th century, the Indian Muslims presented a united face on the political front as it fetched them a rich political dividend. After the complete loss of residual Muslim power after the 1857 rebellion, a large section of the Muslim community cherished the desire to rule India again and restore the pristine glory of the Islamic rule of Muslim invaders. Since its inception in 1875, the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental School (now Aligarh Muslim University) was the platform for uniting the various Islamic sects in India. Pre-independence Muslim unity facilitated by the AMU paid them dividends as the creation of Pakistan but with massive bloodshed during partition. Post-independence, the Congress party helped in galvanizing the Muslim unity to capitalise it as a vote bank. With this aim, the Muslim unity was institutionalised with the formation of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPL). The AIMMM is an advisory group for Muslims to promote their political interests through tactical voting whereas the AIMPLB is mainly focused on the protection of Muslim Personal Law and Waqf related issues.
Thus, in effect AMU as an academic institution along with umbrella organizations like AIMMM and AIMPLB nurture the Muslim community seeking differential treatment in the socio-political domain. Combined with the power of the network of clerics across all Muslim sects, they become more aggressive and often resort to violent posturing with the intention to intimidate society at large. Whenever strong actions are taken their advocacy group will become active to propagate the conspiracy theories and play the victim card.
Prolonged appeasement politics and political patronage to the criminals have emboldened many Muslims to cross the red lines with overtly aggressive posturing and the manifestation of violent character. Before the general election of 2014, a Congress candidate from Saharanpur Imran Masood publicly announced in a meeting that they (Muslims) would cut Narendra Modi (then a Prime Ministerial candidate with Z+ security) into pieces (India Today, 28th March 2014).
An MLA of All India Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Akbaruddin Owaisi who is the brother of Asaduddin Owaisi the Member of Parliament, announced at a public rally in Adilabad that the 250 million Muslims of India needed only 15 minutes without the police to show one billion Hindus of India who is more powerful (Rediff News, 8 Jan 2013). His statement shows the audacity of the same Muslims to intimidate the society (non – Muslims) who talk about the Constitutional rights of the minority and play the victim card.
In 2012, some protesting Muslims vandalized the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial while protesting against riots in Assam Hindustan Times, 23 August 2012. Vandalizing a symbol of national importance, that too on the issue which had nothing to do with the protesting group (Muslims of Mumbai) or with the institution that memorial represented (Indian armed forces), was nothing but an intentional manifestation of their aggressive and violent social posturing.
In Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh a group of youths under the banner of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) take out a Tiranga Yatra on Republic Day 26th Jan 2018. A group of Muslims did not like their sloganeering with the Tri-Colour and open the fire on the procession killing a 16-year-old youth. Such reactions are again nothing less than an attempt to intimidate society through violent posturing.
To counter this approach of a section of Muslims, the Government the Judiciary and the Election Commission must firmly and decisively act against not only the accused but also their political patrons because this level of audacity is not possible without assured political support and political patronage to the criminals.
Test The Patience Of The Polity
Rampant external funding to promote fanaticism due to geopolitical situation in the region and under the protective wings of appeasement politics, the Muslim community started has more than brinkmanship to go around to test the Indian polity. They used the tools of the polity, secularism for defence and freedom of religion to shove their agenda. They use these tools as weapons according to their convenience.
There have been numerous judicial verdicts and executive orders prohibiting the usage of the loudspeaker at mosques and offering Namaz on the roads. But, every time and everywhere throughout the country, the community is hell-bent to violate the judicial verdict and executive orders (Times of India, 26 Jul 2019). Considering the risk of public violence often administrations also turn blind to their unlawful act of obstructing the public road and making noise with loudspeakers. Their challenge to the Indian polity is not limited to usage of the loudspeakers at mosques or obstructing the roads and railway lines for Namaz, but also a plan to run the parallel judicial system with Sharia Courts for Muslims in all Districts across the country.
Their attitude of testing the patience of Indian polity is very risky and ignoring the same for short term political windfall will be disastrous in the longer run. We should not forget the demand for partition of India and the violent situation after Direct Action day, due to weak political will to reign the rioters.
To counter this, the people of India should collectively rise to the occasion and pressurise all Constitutional institutions to firmly act against those who challenge the polity with such acts or threats to the polity. The external funding for adversely affecting the society or national threat must be appropriately tackled.
There is a liberal class in India that blindly support the Muslim community. They will flood the media and social media when Muslims want to play the victim card and will also maintain a conspicuous silence whenever they resort to aggressive posturing with violence or challenge the Indian polity. This particular class provides fodder to Muslim hypocrisy. For every Islamic terror act, they will recite their holy thesis that the terror has no religion. But, the same class prematurely coined the term saffron terror without even substantiating the evidence.
But, Muslims love Hindu liberals conditionally and together they hate the microscopic Muslim liberals unconditionally. Actually, Indian Muslims and liberals are trapped in a toxic relationship. This attitude of Muslims towards Hindu liberals is because the latter don’t question their narratives, and Hindu liberals value Muslims because they are their only support left in the society (The Print 28 Aug 2020).
A columnist Arshad Alam, while replying to a media article of Syed Shahabuddin in which the latter had said that the Muslims should not forget the carnage of Gujarat (Gujarat riots in 2002). The author, Arshad Alam questioned that in that case why the Muslims should forget Bhagalpur and why he did not mention the anti-Sikh riots in 1984? He authored the article with the title, ‘Hypocrisy in the name of secularism’ (Outlook, 27 Apr 2004). This article exposes the hypocrisy of a large section of Indian Muslims.
Well, the Muslims in India always plead for secularism and the freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution. However, the same people blatantly and shamelessly support the barbaric Islamic rule under the Taliban in Afghanistan. The President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Syed Sadatullah Husaini admiring the Taliban while wanting India to remain secular (East Coast Daily, 19 Aug 2021). This clearly shows the duplicity among such Muslims reinforcing the element of doubt in their patriotism, integrity and loyalty to India and the Constitution.
The above incidents and examples are not the mere aberrations of the Muslim community but the tip of the iceberg. Appeasement politics pursued for more than a century has already created enough challenges for us. Now, in the interest of the society and the nation, we as well as our Constitutional institutions must tread very carefully lest we face another Direct Action Day for another partition.
 ‘Taliban will set an example of Islamic Welfare State’:Jamaat-e-Islami Hind praises Taliban | DH Latest News, DH NEWS, Latest News, India, NEWS, Taliban, Afghanistan, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Syed Sadatullah Husaini (eastcoastdaily.in)