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5 Ways Mosques Can Respond to Anti-Muslim Demonstrations

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This Friday and Saturday October 9th and 10th, 2015 the ridiculously named Global Rally for Humanity will take place outside mosques across America. Sadly, the Global Rally for Humanity is not a positive event designed to help uplift vulnerable or oppressed people like refugees; instead it’s a series of protests against Islam and Muslims.

You can learn more about the Global Rally for Humanity here:

One of the more alarming aspects of this event is the likelihood that the protesters will be heavily armed. The people behind these protests are actively encouraging their supporters to show up with assault rifles, guns and other weapons in an “open carry” style.

Insha’Allah, this article will help mosque leadership and attendees prepare for these protests by working with their neighbors, local law enforcement and interacting with the media as needed.

We hope that this guide will also help minimize the negative impact that these protests will likely have on mosque services like Jummah prayers and weekend Islamic schools.

STEP 1 – Prepare your community:

Mosque leaders have a duty to prepare for and inform the general attendance about any potentially dangerous events in a timely manner.

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The first step is to gather as much information about the demonstration and its organizers as soon as possible.

The second step is bringing the local Muslim community’s leaders together to unify and coordinate the community’s response. This meeting should include the mosque’s leadership, advocacy organizations and other leading groups unique to that community.

Next the mosque should review its safety and evacuation plans with its members. The focus should be on helping the attendees understand exactly how to safely enter and exit the facility during the event while the protesters are present.

(NOTE: These plans may have to be modified and should be reviewed by law enforcement. See step 2)

Mosques should have clearly identified and well known communication channels including in-person announcements from known mosque leaders, the mosque’s website and its official social media accounts.

If possible the mosque should address the situation with the congregation well before the protest actually happens. Also, any services, programming, lectures or khutbahs taking place during the protest should be shortened so that congregation can be reminded of the mosque’s safety and evacuation plans.

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The last step is to guide and empower the congregation in how they respond. Attendees should be instructed to avoid any direct engagement or confrontation with the protesters during the event.

Members of the congregation can and should help document the protesters, their messages and any abuse or damage that may be responsible for. They can do this by taking photos and video recording of the protest on their electronic devices as they enter and leave the mosque.

Again it is best to avoid direct interaction with protesters when possible. This will help the community maintain the moral high ground because they will be behaving in a dignified manner.

(NOTE: This can be very challenging as protesters are becoming more and more emboldened and inflammatory. Recently, protesters at other anti-Muslim events have destroyed Qur’ans, used offensive language and imagery, dressed up as and/or created effigies of “terrorists” and mocked Prophet Muhammad. They employ all these tactics to illicit a confrontation with mosque attendees in an attempt to further smear Islam and Muslims.)

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STEP 2 – Contact law enforcement:

Notify your local law enforcement agencies as soon as you are aware of the situation. Give them any information you can about the protest.

INCLUDE: The event’s name, the organizers’ names, and related websites. Include any history your institution has with the organizers. Document and share any concerning comments, letters and hate messages from the organizers or found on the event’s websites and social media.

Have a designated emergency contact person who will lead all communication with law enforcement. Make sure that law enforcement knows who the emergency contact person is as well as who the other members of your leadership team are.

Provide law enforcement with a schedule of your congregational prayers, classes, meetings and any other times when you expect peeks in attendance. Do this for the day before, the day of and the day after the protest.

Report any threats, violent incidents, hateful comments (letters, emails, voicemail and social media posts) vandalism and/or suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.

Ask that your local law enforcement agency increase patrols in the area. Their visible presence in the days before the event will help set a peaceful tone and will reassure your congregation. Specifically request an increased visible presence the day before the protest and of course an adequate presence during the event.

Lastly, make sure that law enforcement know your property lines and who your neighbors are. Also ask that they consider any potential safety concerns regarding the roads and routes used to access the masjid property.

STEP 3 – Talk to your neighbors:

Contact all your neighbors who might be affected by the influx of protesters. Let them know about the demonstration and its potential impact on them. Inform them that you are working with law enforcement to ensure everyone’s safety. Ask your neighbors if they have any ideas or concerns about dealing with the demonstration.

Reach out to your social justice and interfaith partners. Develop and circulate a sign-on statement of values that emphasis how it is wrong to target entire ethnic or religious groups. Ask people of good will to come to the mosque and stand in solidarity with the community during the protest.

Consider offering refreshments to the protesters. If it’s hot outside offer them cold bottles of water. If it is cold have coffee and donuts. Stick to refreshments from major and well known name brands. Make sure you set up any refreshments near the protesting group and have signs with positive messages on them. Let the protesters know that the refreshments are free and provided by the Muslim community.

STEP 4 – Work with the media:

Prior to the event, document everything reported in the news about the demonstration. Based on this documentation decide if the situation requires that your team issues a pre-event statement.

Gather Mosque leadership, media relations experts and advocacy organizations for a meeting to review the community’s talking points and message strategy for this specific event.

Remind community members, the mosques’ staff and volunteers to refer all requests for comment to the designated spokesperson or media relations team.

Talking points should be crafted to maintain the moral high ground:

  • Articulate your message without making disparaging comments about the demonstration or its organizers.
  • Talking points should focus on the impact that the event will have on community with a special focus on women and children.
  • Emphasize the positive things taking place inside the mosque rather than the demonstration outside.
  • Consider including the mosque’s history like how long its been a member of the larger community.
  • Highlight any signature service programs that the community does regularly.
  • Make sure your interfaith allies and non-Muslim supporters have the opportunity to speak to the media.
  • Make sure you thank and express your confidence in your neighbors.
  • Conclude your remarks by inviting people to visit and get to know their local Muslim community.
  • Fact check all talking points for accuracy.

STEP 5 – Compile a post event report:

Ask what was done correctly and what could have been done better.

Analyze logistical issues including; how safe the traffic routes where, the location of the protesters any impact that had, law enforcement overall performance, the media coverage and how well your response team functioned.

Gather statistics on how many protesters showed up, how many counter protesters were there, how many community members attended the mosque and compared that to how many people would have normally attended the mosque if there wasn’t a protest.

Create a list of people who made outstanding efforts. Publicly acknowledge your team with thank you letters and/or awards. Focus your congregation’s afternoon on your interfaith allies support, law enforcement’s good work and the efforts of influential community members and volunteers.

Conclude your report with analysis of any defining moments during the protest. Use this report to refine and improve the mosque’s safety measures for the future.

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Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations.Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Amel

    October 5, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    Excellent advice…however, it is really a shame that such an article has to be written in the first place. I wonder how Americans would react to groups of armed Muslims making their own protests at places of worship. I don’t see how this can be acceptable in any society that considers itself modern and enlightened.

    • Avatar

      Rodwan

      October 5, 2015 at 6:04 PM

      May Allah bless you Amel. My thoughts indeed!

  2. Avatar

    Syeda Zainab

    October 5, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    Thanks for this timely article Mr. Galloway! Proactive measures are always better than reactive. The ongoing Islamophobia in America has become a real issue and must be addressed. Community and individual action is needed on a national level. There’s an upcoming conference for this purpose. Interested persons should check out
    TMOAmerica.org

  3. Avatar

    Khalil Ebb

    October 6, 2015 at 4:45 AM

    Jazaka Allah Khair. This is a great guide for masjid staff and others who may be new to organizing and activism. I’d add, though, that we need a political primer could also be useful when preparing for these events. Given the political nature of these events, they require a political response.

    Given that these racist protests are a part of the rising white populist rhetoric and violence masaajid should be hosting programs to understand this. Given the historical importance of the Black struggle in combating white supremacy, masaajid could screen movies such as PBS’s “Eyes on the Prize” documentary or “The Black Power Mix Tape.” They could also host presentations by Black Lives Matter organizers, and possibly fund raise for their work. Or they could host book clubs/discussions. I’d recommend Good Muslim, Bad Muslim by M Mamdani, or W Sales’ From Civil Rights to Black Liberation.

    Further, the press talking points should include a political perspective. Here are a few suggestions:
    > These racist protests are a result of US foreign policy’s continued support for Israeli apartheid, and the indiscriminate bombing of Muslims across the world. The bombing of the hospital in Afghanistan earlier this week is one example. In both the media and in US foreign policy, Muslim lives are considered cheap and worthless.
    > These protests are modern day lynch mobs. They are part of the same atmosphere being created by the rhetoric of Donald Trump, and the systematic racist murder of Black people in this country by both police and vigilantes.
    > We want to encourage Muslims to act in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the struggle by undocumented immigrants to be recognized and treated as human.
    > [following Amel’s point above] If Muslims organized outside churches or Synagogues, and suggested that people bring arms we would be called terrorists. This is a racist double standard.

  4. Avatar

    Ahsan

    October 6, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Salam!
    Agree with everything.
    I advise banners within the mosque property that can be seen from the road/public space so that passers-by can see them.
    Their content should contain positive messages common to both the sayings of Esa a.s. (Jesus Christ) from the four canonical gospels and the Quran+Prophet Muhammad.
    That should illuminate to the general public how we’re not some pariah religion as being portrayed by misinformed quarters.
    W.salam.

  5. Pingback: » How Interfaith Activists Will Counter This Week's Anti-Muslim Rallies

  6. Avatar

    Hue

    October 7, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    We should be ready for possible hater rallies in general. However, we have been publicizing this hater group of humanity better than they have.

  7. Pingback: How Interfaith Activists Will Counter This Week’s Anti-Muslim Rallies | PopularResistance.Org

  8. Avatar

    Shahid, PhD; Houston

    October 7, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    As a Muslims, we should welcome these rallies of humanity. We should support these activities initiated by our opponents. It is God’s sent opportunity to talk to our neighbors, coworkers and people we know about the commons in all religions about human society needs, love of each other, concerns of everybody needs, pain and sufferings of our children, mothers, fathers, elders and all those whose human needs that are defined by their religions. I will never forget my neighbors Mr and Mrs Switzers who knocked at my door the morning of weekend after 9/11 and assured us to protect my family in need of any mishap created by any hate monger in front of your home, even they offered to buy groceries for us. Other neighbors did the same. That’s the showing of humanity.
    Humane needs and attitudes are not ingrained in you at your birth but taught and learned through parents, families, neighbors and finally through religious teachers if they don’t inculcate hate mongering ideas in societies of their own desires. In a multicultural environment, your spiritual/worldly education along your surroundings play a vital role to mould/build your human character as you interact with different people of varied thoughts to learn a common goal oriented future for humanity as a whole. This I learnt in Pakistan growing in a poor family and polished by my fellow Americans around me for the last 33 years. I am a proud Muslim American and love humanity at large just like those who wants to demonstrate in front me over and over again to teach me more that I don’t know. Thanks a lot to reminding me that I did’t learn earlier. Let’s learn and teach each other that we don’t know today.

  9. Pingback: How Interfaith Activists Will Counter This Week’s Anti-Muslim Rallies | ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ)

    • Avatar

      Fred

      December 26, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      The persecution of minorities is disgusting. Unfortunately it happens everywhere almost like xenophobia. Muslims ARE victims in “The Christian West” of abuse, spitting, destruction of mosques etc etc – this is terrible. But what about the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries? Hardly a day goes by without news about persecution in Pakistan involving murder and now in Brunei, Christians cannot openly celebrate Christmas. I think Muslims here in the West have an easier time. Comparisons are odious but….What do you think?

  10. Avatar

    Aafia

    October 16, 2015 at 5:15 PM

    Masha Allah,Excellent advice.

    Islamophobia is not only about ignorance and fear. Some people purposefully nurture it and use it as a political strategy. Tariq Ramadan recommended a book,The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims.If anyone would like to read about this book,here it is:http://islamhashtag.com/islamophobia-in-america/

    • Avatar

      francis Ayala

      November 14, 2015 at 7:23 PM

      Gee. I never heard anything about incidents at that rally. But, I sure heard a lot about Paris, a month later. Do you think there might be a basis for Islamophobia?
      Someone has said recently that Islamophobia has become a rational fear that one should take precautions with, like buckling your safety belt before getting into your car. This is because of the writings directly from the Quran that Isis, Taliban, Boko Harem, Wahhabi’s, etc.. love to follow.
      Try to understand that a few Muslims being called names, some spray graffiti on Mosques, an unflattering cartoon of the prophet is a whole different thing than explosives being tossed at your children because they are white and Christian, or other non Muslim.
      There are many accounts now of various cultures murdered by Muslims. It’s Muslims blowing up beautiful Buddhist relics, and causing hell on earth for so many people. This isn’t the fault of the common Muslim, but do you know how self centered your complaining sounds? The truth is, most people don’t care about other people’s religion in the West–We have every kind of religion here. You brought that paranoia from your culture, where a particular belief system is a big issue, and projected it on to Westerners. Believe me, no one here has thought of the word, “Crusader” since they existed long ago. Everyone was surprised to hear the word when Muslims began saying it on the news–Apparently, the Quran has kept the word and the history alive. Not good. And we here we stand scratching our heads, and wondering why it appears in this modern age? We had moved on from the subject centuries ago.

      • Avatar

        Z. Adams

        November 16, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        Interesting. It’s always easier for aggressors to “move on” from an incident. But what really needs to be focussed on here is not what the mainstream is discussing. What are the facts, all the victims you mentioned of ISIS are Muslims. If Isis really were Muslims, why would they primarily targets Muslims while destroying the name of Islam in the process? Who are the main victims of Isis and Al Qaseeda? Muslims. All of the victims of Boko Haram in Africa? Muslims. This shows that there is more than meets the eye. 90% of so called “Islamic extremism” victimized Muslims, the Muslim world, and the Muslim religion. What we need to start trying to find out is: WHO BENEFITS???

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Civil Rights

Podcast: The Unfinished Business of Martin Luther King | Imam Zaid Shakir

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Our Muslim community is one whose existence, contrary to popular misconception, is predicated on the establishment of peace.

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The New Scramble For Africa

Africa
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Africa is a blessed continent with resources and biodiversity that would impress anyone. Africa’s history in Islam (while neglected) played a major role, it was home to the first country to welcome the Muslims and allow them to practice freely. After the spread of Islam trough traders, regions across Africa became hubs for knowledge and trade. The richest man in history hailed from Africa and was Muslim, and his name was Mansa Musa. The riches of Africa have always sought after. People from all over the world have aimed to to do business or exploit the blessed continent. Unfortunately, the history of Africa is filled with strife, bloodshed, slavery, and holocausts. This rings true till today. The purpose of this article is not to dwell on the past, be it Arab influence or colonization. The events going on today needs out attention, we have ignored the struggles of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Africa long enough. 

The first major scramble for Africa was in the 19th century, when Europe carved it up like it was their property. The second was during the cold war, when East and West seek allegiances of newly independent African states. We are witnessing a third scramble that is less obvious, and more behind the scenes with “investments” and “wars”. It can be described as a cold war between China and America. 

African mines

Some see the resources they have like oil, chocolate, rare earth minerals, diamonds, etc. as a blessing (investors mostly), but to the people living through this every day it is a curse. Oil or mineral dependent countries in Africa suffer from enclave industrialization, limited diversity in their economy, and vulnerability to price shock. While this is happening, they see decay in their agriculture, manufacturing, and other trades. The continent is still traumatized by five centuries of exploitation. It is no easy obstacle to overcome. What we are seeing will only get worse as oil production is expected to peak in 2025, world scarcity will increase, and we will see more wars around oil. For the last decade, China has been using “soft power,” basically using money for leverage. This comes in the form of aid, trade, infrastructure projects, and loans. This is a plot to make them a superpower in the region. America, on the other hand, is doing what it has been doing since 1776, it is confronting Africa as a “battlefield,” basically running operations or anti-terrorism projects in dozens of countries that the American public is unaware of. 

One example is South Sudan, and the American campaign to split the Muslim country of Sudan to two. Before the split, China reportedly had invested $20 billion in Sudan. With American interventions occurring, China watched the events unfold. After the split the newly inaugurated president of South Sudan flew to China to secure an $8 billion investment. By 2013, China controlled 40% of their largest crude oil producers and was importing 77% of the country’s output. After unrest and bloodshed occurring in Libya, Mali, Sudan, etc, China has established a stronger effort with peacekeeping officers to protect their oil interest. As one superpower implements one tactic, another superpower follows its traditional method. Last year in Niger, American soldiers, including two commandos, were killed. This was surprising to me as I was unaware of American military operation in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world with Muslims making 98% of its population.

We have seen a dangerous rise of commandos in Africa. In 2006, under Bush, 1% of deployed commandos were in Africa, by 2011 under Obama it had risen to 3%. It does not stop there, before stepping down from office, in 2016, 16.5% of American commandos deployed were deployed in Africa.

In 2006, only 70 special ops were deployed across the continent, in 2014 we have 700 deployed special ops in Africa. “None of these special operations forces are intended to be engaged in direct combat operations,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem. Despite this declaration, despite the deaths of soldiers in Niger, U.S. commandos keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat. 

In March of 2018, the New York Times released an article of 10 unreported attacks of American troops between 2015 and 2017. Despite these attacks and distrust towards the region, the Pentagon built a $100 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, regardless of the people’s concerns towards a base being built near their home. Our worldly desires is fueling this new scramble for Africa. Our need for resources, technology, and fuel comes at a cost. This cost manifests itself as the development of the rentier state (eventually developing into a kleptocracy across Africa, professional soldiers ruling the resource-rich lands or an expansion of the “war on terror”. 

Here are a few theoretical solutions, some are to be initiated by the government and some rely on people-power movements. The government needs to reduce corruption and that can be done through a menu of policies created to control and maintain corruption. Controlling corruption can be done through; changing the selections of national agents, modifying the rewards and punishments systems, and restructuring the relations between national agents and users to reduce monopolies. Another venue the government can explore is directly distributing resource revenues to the people. This is practiced in Alaska, and has been wildly successful. Finally, the government can invest the resource revenues in social development. Harnessing the revenues for human development to include education, healthcare, job training, and housing will lift up the urban and rural poor. 

The people can pressure the government to pursue any of those ideas mentioned. A power-people movement can look different depending on the need. One idea is that consumers in the West to boycott African minerals due to corruption and/or exploitation. This can develop into “smart boycotts” where we use internet hedge funds to attack corporations that exploit and feed into corruption. Developing campaigns like “blood diamonds” in the past have been proven effective to generate awareness and bring vital change. The same was done with the ivory, and now even China has laws making the product illegal.

People-power movements work and have helped locals rid of unwanted corporations in their region. Ken Saro-Wiwa, was a leader of the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta, he rallied against the abuses of the Nigerian military regime and the oil pollution created by multi-national companies, which resulted in a change of consciousness for the better. 

In his words: “Whether I live or die is immaterial. It is enough to know that there are people who commit time, money and energy to fight this one evil among so many others predominating worldwide. If they do not succeed today, they will succeed tomorrow.”

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CAA – NRC Row: Why There Is More To It Than An Attack On Secular Ethos

indian economy caa
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‘Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. No one knows what CAA/NRC is all about. They are simply protesting because they are misled’, thus proclaimed a former classmate of mine who himself left India for brighter prospects during PM Narendra Modi’s regime but continues to believe in his promise of ‘acche din’ (good days).

Today the whole of India is divided over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which is to be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Thousands of students from India’s premier institutions like Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, IITs and IIMs are thronging the streets to protest against the bigoted law.

The ripple effect has even reached top educational institutions across the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and MIT. From lawyers to celebrities to academicians, people across the world, belonging to different religions are raising their dissent against the law which is deemed to be against the secular fabric of the Indian Constitution.

What is this law all about?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) provides an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an official record of all those who are legal Indian citizens. So far, such a database has only been created for the northeastern state of Assam which has been struggling with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. In Assam 1.9 million people were effectively rendered stateless after NRC and were put into detention centers. Out of these 1.9 million, around 0.6 million are Muslim.

On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country.

Why the uproar?

At first glance the CAA seems to be a harmless law, which the government claims was made to help those who are facing religious persecution. However, the question arises why only those suffering religious persecution? Millions of people are suffering persecution in the name of race, region or language in India’s neighboring countries.

Even if we talk about just religious persecution, why does the law only accommodate those from three neighboring countries? Rohingyas are suffering brutal persecution in Myanmar. Christians are suffering in Sri Lanka. Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs.

Many people opine that the CAA is not problematic in itself. It becomes problematic when it’s seen in conjunction with NRC. When NRC is implemented, millions of people will be declared illegal due to lack of documents in a country where the masses live in villages and documentation is a complicated bureaucratic process with a high error rate. According Professor Shruti Rajagopalan, the State Of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 by IDinsight, covering 2,947 households, found that 8.8% of Aadhaar holders reported errors in their name, age, address or other information in their Aadhaar letter (Aadhaar is the identity number issued to Indian residents). In the NRC, a spelling mistake can deprive one of citizenship and 8.8% affects over 120 million people.

They will be rendered stateless and sent to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Out of these ‘illegals’, everyone but Muslims can seek accelerated citizenship under CAA.

The fact is that even if we view CAA alone, the very act of offering citizenship on the basis of religion goes against the fundamentals of secularism and equality as mentioned in the Indian constitution.

UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has termed the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”.

In this context, it’s also relevant to understand the revolt that is happening in the north eastern state of Assam. While the rest of India is against CAA and NRC for exclusion of Muslims, the people of Assam are protesting against the inclusion of 1.3 million undocumented Non-Muslims, as identified in the NCR. According to them, if these foreigners are granted citizenship under CAA, they pose a threat to the language and culture of Assam.

Police brutality against protesters

Student fraternity across the world was shocked when students of Jamia Milia Islamia who were peacefully protesting against the CAA were brutally attacked by police forces. Police accused students of destroying public property and fired tear gas shells, beat them up mercilessly and even open fired at them. They barged into the library, mosque and even the women’s hostels without authorization.

Video footage shot by students and reviewed by Reuters show students, including women, hiding beneath desks in the library, cowering in restrooms, jumping over broken furniture in an attempt to flee. It was later verified that none of the students had anything to do with some of the buses that were set ablaze outside the campus.

Reports of even more horrific police brutality surfaced from Aligarh Muslim University. A student’s hand had to be amputated after a tear gas shell hit him and exploded. Hundreds of students were severely injured.

Section 144 of the Criminal Code which prohibits any gathering of 5 or more people has been imposed across the entire state of UP. Internet has been shut down in several parts.

Videos showing police destroying properties of innocent Muslims in UP have surfaced which the ‘Godi media’, a term coined for PM Modi’s lapdog media, refuses to acknowledge. Innocent youth are being dragged out of their homes and their properties are being seized on the accusation of destruction of public property. Death toll has crossed 22. Thousands are in custody.

It’s not surprising that Narendra Modi is being compared to Adolf Hitler.

India’s secular ethos

Religion based politics is nothing new in India, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue and Gujarat riots being two of the most glaring examples.

However, in day to day life ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Aapas mein sab bhai bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers) has not just been a slogan but a way of life.

Muslims in India have held prominent positions in every sphere of life, be it arts, literature, sports or leadership and have been admired by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The current BJP government aims to change all of that with its RSS-inspired fascist ideology of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism andHindu rashtra’ (nation).

India’s faltering economy and dejected youth

One of the heartening aspects of the CAA/NRC uprising is that it is not being seen as just a Muslim struggle. It is rightly being seen as a struggle to uphold the secular ethos of the Constitution of India. However, there is more to this struggle which is being led by the youth of the country.

Underlying the CAA-NRC struggles is the country’s deep disappointment with PM Modi’s lofty promises of ‘acche din’ (good days) which gave the country a new hope . Among other things he promised to make India an economic superpower. Today the nation’s economy is in doldrums which has led to frustration and dejection in the youth.

IMF’s last forecast for India was 6.1% growth in 2019. This has slumped to 4.9%. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and industrial growth rate is negative.

One of the major reasons for the economic slowdown has been the government’s radical decision of demonetization in 2016 which sent the entire country in a turmoil and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Small businesses took a further hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

At a time when the government’s primary concern should have been the faltering economy, the government diverted the country’s attention to the Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi issue. As soon as that ended it announced the CAA and NRC, continuing its propaganda of Hindu nationalism as opposed to real issues faced by the nation.

At this critical junction the economy can be expected to take a further hit by the cost of the implementation of the CAA and NRC exercise.By conservative estimates, nationwide NRC will cost Indians a whopping 500 billion rupees in admin expenses alone. Add to it the massive cost of building and maintaining detention centers across the country and the nation looks set for an economic and logistical nightmare.

Today the educated youth of the country is voicing its frustration at the price the country has been paying due to the government’s fascist ideologies. They no longer want the world to know India for its age old mandir-masjid disputes, mob lynchings, communal riots, human rights violations, poverty or illiteracy.

The current uprising is not just against one particular law.The people, especially the youth of India are protesting for their rights to work together as one nation to take the country towards being an exemplary democracy and an economic superpower.

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