May 22, 2024

Nazrul Islam: Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has galvanized the far-right Hindu nationalists who are fanning the anti-Muslim rhetoric in India. The Hindutva followers believe that Israel and India share a common enemy: the Muslims. In a brief video released by Al Jazeera on X (formerly Twitter), Hindu supremacists are seen marching and making prayers at their religious sites in support of Israel. Likewise, a priest in India is seen appealing to Israel to allow his followers in India to join Israel because he believes that he and his followers have been fighting the same ‘diseases’ as Israel (Muslims) for the past 14,00 years.
Additionally, a popular Indian anchor can be seen stating that “Israel is a victim we are a victim too. Israel is fighting this war on behalf of all of us.” All these incidents of solidarity with Israel in India are not because of their close religious association with the Jews of Israel or much understanding of the promised land, but rather because they support all events that incite Islamophobia and anti-Muslim in their country and abroad.
The support for Israel, particularly by the far-right Hindu groups, analysts say, is less about echoing pro-Israeli sentiments and more anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim rhetoric in India. Endorsing anti-Muslim and Islamophobic rhetoric in India has been a practice for decades. This trend has been gaining momentum in India since the far-right Hindutva-led BJP government came into power in 2014 and abandoned the Nehruvian-inspired secular ideology of India. In the case of the Israel-Palestine issue, historically India has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian right to self-determination and a two-state solution to develop an independent Palestinian state. One of the reasons for this policy was India’s large Muslim population.
Since the BJP government came into power in 2014, it has taken strict measures to marginalise the minorities in India, especially Muslims such as through the Citizenship Amendment bill that grants speedy citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from the neighbouring countries and the oppression of Muslims in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOJK) through its illegal act of revocation of A370 and 35A. Both Israel and India are carrying out dehumanising land grabbing from Muslims. The Indian government is carrying out similar genocide in Occupied Kashmir as the Israeli government, which has become an open-air prison like Palestine. The Palestine and Kashmir causes are among the oldest agenda items on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Frequent violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions and grave neglect of the humanitarian crisis in IIOJK and Palestine have no justifications.
The war unleashed by Israel on Palestine raises grave concerns about the rise of Islamophobia in India and across the world. This calls for action by the international community, Muslim states and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to denounce such racist and prejudiced acts. Emerging relations between some Arab states with India demand that these Arab states exercise the leverage they have over India to urge New Delhi to dial down the hate against Muslims and refrain from taking measures that incite anti-Muslim and Islamophobic rhetoric in their countries.

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