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Is coronavirus aggravating Islamophobia in India? Show more Show less

As covid-19 hit the headlines and became a national emergency in India, Islamophobia surged. On Twitter, furious posts poured out of the nation with the gruesome hashtag #CoronavirusJihad. The inference was clear: many Indians were using the pandemic as an excuse to victimise its Muslim population. Critics claim its government has done little to stop this, while others say the threat is exaggerated.

Yes, coronavirus is aggravating Islamophobia Show more Show less

The outbreak offers a stunning opportunity for prejudice to grow.
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Government policies set the scene for it to grow

The Modi government has introduced a number of Islamophobic policies, which have normalised behaviours we are now witnessing.
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India Islam Islamophobia politics racism religion

Context

The Modi government has been widely criticised for introducing a series of Islamophobic policies since it came into power. Prior to the outbreak false statistics flooded the media, pushing for population controls to be introduced on Muslim citizens. These petitions are amassing support, with a "subtext [that] reflects a core belief of right-wing Hindu organisations: that Muslims are trying to "overtake" Hindus."

The Argument

In the twelve months before the pandemic, an Islamophobic government campaign proved dangerously successful. Its apex came in December 2019, with the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The law allowed members of India's major religious groups who had immigrated to India before 2015 to become legal citizens. Yet, despite Islam being the second most popular religion in the country, Muslims were excluded from this list. Any Islamophobia the country is now experiencing stems from this. Government actions have effectively sanctioned this kind of racist abuse. The coronavirus is simply bringing those to the fore as the responses to the pandemic are being placed under global scrutiny.

Counter arguments

The situation has been politically charged for some time. The outbreak has not exacerbated this; tensions were already at crisis point when the outbreak began. In times of crisis people look to someone to blame, and government policies have perfectly established who this group is. Consequently, anti-Muslim sentiment has been legitimised.

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

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    This page was last edited on Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 12:58 UTC