The Rise of Islamophobia: Future of Indian Muslims



In 2002, at a difficult period for secular India, a horrific tragedy took place. a terrible episode of targeted murder, particularly of Muslims, that occurred when Gujarat’s chief minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held that position. India is currently experiencing a situation comparable to the darkest darkness. ideological, aggressive, religious, political, and economic issues facing the Indian populace. Nonetheless, gender inequity, Zainabad, postmodern thought, and contemporary ideology are all poised to burst humanity’s patience barrier. Modernity is a mask for the return of primitive stupidity. Even in the realms of philosophy, religion, and mental consciousness, the ancient ignorance of the Greeks and Romans is once again visible behind the curtain of modernity.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Islamophobia erupted throughout “the West,” but especially in Europe. While attacks on Muslims occurred throughout Europe, there was hardly any discernible increase in Islamophobia in Latin America, where Muslims’ experiences were very different. Why did anti-Islamic sentiment increase in “the West” but not in Latin America during the roughly ten years that separated the September 11 attacks and the outbreak of the Syrian civil war? (VANDENBELT)

It was a vision for the modern era following the issues with immigration from Islamic nations into Europe and the multiculturalism policy that made social Gothicization an official governmental strategy to preserve peace. Europe is finally seeing the futility of this strategy since, far from fostering cohabitation, it has only increased violence and alienation. Slavoj Žižek, a political philosopher, calls this the “distance-as-difference problem.” As seen by the recent rise of neo-Nazis in Germany, states that promote diversity foster social estrangement between populations, which feeds latent racism and xenophobic violence.

It also suggests, by default, that there is no discernible pattern to the violence other than the fear and demonization of Muslims in particular. Islamophobia is a term that applies to Europe and particularly to North America, where the fear of Muslims—apart from the idea that they are violent and aggressive—begins to fuel acts of violence against Muslims.

It is imperative to reconsider the definition of violence against Muslims beyond generalizations like “Islamophobia.” In fact, the social issue of unfair and uneven practices of discrimination against Muslims is subsumed by such a culturalist fabrication of violence against Muslims. Examining the nature of violence and the locally created micro narratives that support it is necessary. Everything appears the same when viewed from a distance.

“Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire” by Deepa Kumar states that “Americans who were not interested in Islam turned to the Muslim holy books to find out why this attack happened in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.” However, nobody has read the Old or New Testaments of the Bible to discover the reason behind Timothy McBeagh’s bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

However, the wave of violence against Muslims implies that the truthfulness of these tales doesn’t really matter; the general public will be biased toward flagrant lies. They are against Islam and are fixated on using covert means to disseminate Islamophobia. And they have invested billions upon billions of dollars in this. A Center for American Progress research states that between 2001 and 2009, organizations that promote Islamophobia received contributions totaling over $42.6 million.

The sum of that gift has gone up recently. In a joint 2016 survey, the University of California Berkeley Center for Race and Gender and CAIR found that from 2008 to 2013, organizations that propagate Islamophobia were awarded over $205 million in funding. The primary objective of around thirty-six groups that make up the US Islamophobia Network is to propagate Islamophobia.

Islam is viewed as a radical and terroristic faith. One of the global schemes and subversions aimed at destroying Islam is India. Islamophobia is not seen anywhere else in the globe as dangerously as it is in India right now. India is the core of Islamophobia worldwide, according to renowned scholar and Islamophobia specialist Khaled Baidoon. This is due to more than simply the rise in violence directed at Muslims or the frequency of Islamophobic assaults, which now happen on a daily basis. It is also due to the intensity of obscenity when hearing words associated with Satan. Beyond this, there are two reasons why Islamophobia is significant in India: first, as Human Rights Watch (HRW) has shown, there is open institutional support for Islamophobia in the nation’s highest political offices; and second, Indian Muslims have no real legal recourse for meaningful protection from the police, courts, or other legal authorities.

Mob violence, severe intimidation, and disgusting propaganda are all directed at Muslims in India. For example, the 16th-century Babri Mosque was demolished in 1992 by Hindu nationalists. Then, over 2,000 people—mostly Muslims—were slain in nationwide rioting. Muslims were held responsible for the 2002 train fire in Gujarat state that claimed the lives of 59 Hindu pilgrims. The state’s then-leader, Narendra Modi, came under fire for allegedly not doing more to put an end to the violence. A citizenship law that was implemented in 2019 by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is thought to discriminate against Muslims. Moreover, CAA, NRC, Triple Talaq, and other constitutional initiatives taken by the Modi Government in the last decade. Films that propagandize Muslims, like The Kashmir Files, The Kerala Story, 72 Hoorain which Modi supported, demonize them. Mosques in Uttar Pradesh, which are 300 years old, were destroyed by an attack to make room for a roadway.

India has a multifaceted, deep-rooted, ubiquitous, and dangerously prevalent Islamophobia that mostly affects underprivileged Muslim populations in economically impoverished or politically unstable areas. Apartheid practices, demonstrating their patriotism, rising physical and symbolic violence, and continued perceptions of Muslims in India as possible noncitizen immigrants or refugees, as well as latent Pakistani zealots, are all challenges faced by the Muslim community in India. Gross human rights abuses, increased violence committed in the name of India, internet usage restrictions, hate speech on social media, and new forms of non-lethal violence are all part of the agony that Muslims in Kashmir are subjected to in India.

The Hindutva project in India, led by Prime Minister Modi, is transforming the country into a culturally Hindu nation with upper caste affluent Hindu males at the peak. Muslims are not granted rights and access to justice as equal individuals but from compliance with Hindu majoritarian norms. Those who challenge these norms are labeled anti-national, Pakistani, or Western agents, and can face violence, rape, physical attacks, malignation, harassment, bullying, or divesting of any institutional or other power they may have.

Sacrality is invested in the idea of India as a Hindu land, even as violence is used against minorities and dissidents. Islamophobia in India works to enable violence, subjugate, and intimidate Muslims as a threat to the nation. Indian Muslims have been subject to widespread discrimination and violence, often represented as “unclean”, “over-populating”, “backward”, “unpatriotic”, “scheming”, “invaders”, and “outsiders.”

Hindutva organizations exhort Hindu women to have more babies so that overpopulating Muslims do not take over the country. Campaigns such as “Bahu Lao, Beti Bachao” work towards ensuring Hindu women do not marry Muslim men. In a thoroughly patriarchal society like India, legal focus selectively targets the regressive and gendered practices of Muslim community as a way of confirming their backwardness.

The ideology of violent nationalism has captured the state and has conspicuous support among the public. The apparatus of the state, such as the police and judiciary, act to support the Islamophobic anti-Muslim violence through delays in hearing cases or problematic judgements.

India is a nation of Hindu majority. However, when the BJP-led Indian government came to power in 2014, it demonstrated that Hindutva is vulnerable. Hindutva is being protected by the current Bharatiya Janata Party government, and if it continues to hold power, it will be protected indefinitely. The principal aim of Prime Minister Modi’s Hindutva policy is to increase public awareness of Hindutva and create the conditions for India to become a Hindu nation. Surprisingly, history has been taken advantage of in this way. They claim that Hindus have suffered under oppression for over a millennium, going all the way back to the time of the Muslims and the British Empire. Several governments came and went after India gained its independence, but none of them succeeded in making Hindutva the central policy. Therefore, the process that has been underway since 2014 will result in the BJP-led government regaining its lost authority. Therefore, Ram Mandir, Kashi Biswanath, Mathura, and so forth might be considered as these outcomes and impacts. These days, there is a sudden, thunderous religious sound all around us that stands for Hindutva. The sound of the microphone is growing louder and louder, and religious processions are being carried out with enthusiasm—not kindly, but with all of the energy that the phrase “Jai Shri Ram” demands. Nowadays, a bloody-bond is added to religious feed called ‘Majoritarian Domination’.

The political trajectory of Narendra Modi, rising from a full-time preacher for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to the helm of India’s leadership, has left an indelible impact on the nation’s social fabric. Under Modi’s leadership, India witnessed a surge of Hindu nationalist sentiment, resulting in a series of events that exposed the challenges confronted by the country’s Muslim community. This article delves into the amplification of Islamophobia during Modi’s rule, elucidating the influence of the RSS’s Hindu nationalist mission, scrutinizing key anti-Islamic incidents such as the Delhi riots of 2020, and exploring the implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The RSS’s Hindu Nationalist Mission

At the core of the ascent of Islamophobia during Modi’s tenure lies the ideological foundations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist organization. The RSS’s mission, dedicated to advancing Hindu identity and culture, significantly shaped Modi’s policies and governance approach. This influence traces back to Modi’s background as an RSS preacher, molding his political decisions and setting the stage for subsequent developments.

The Delhi Riots of 2020 and the CAA

In 2020, North East Delhi became the backdrop of the Delhi riots, a tragic sequence of communal confrontations. These riots found their genesis in tensions surrounding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). While the immediate triggers were these protests, the underlying causes extended deeper into historical, social, and political dimensions, creating a combustible environment.

Challenges Faced by Muslims under Modi’s Reign


Triple Talaq Law: Among the notable anti-Islamic measures during Modi’s tenure, the Triple Talaq law emerged. While proponents championed gender equality, critics perceived it as an intrusion into religious affairs, prompting concerns about religious autonomy and cultural identity among Muslims.


National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA): The proposed implementation of the NRC and the enactment of the CAA fueled widespread protests. Many Muslims feared that these initiatives would disproportionately target their community, exacerbating feelings of exclusion and discrimination.


Anti-Islamic Rhetoric: Modi’s affiliation with Hindu nationalism often contributed to the propagation of anti-Islamic rhetoric by his supporters. Such rhetoric fostered an atmosphere of mistrust and apprehension, further contributing to the rise of Islamophobia.


Economic and Social Disparities: Reports indicate that Muslims in India encounter economic and social disparities. Critics argue that Modi’s policies have not effectively addressed these inequalities, leading to sentiments of marginalization within the Muslim populace.

The Hindutva project in India, led by Prime Minister Modi, is transforming the country into a culturally Hindu nation, with upper caste affluent Hindu males at the top. Muslims in India face discrimination and violence, often seen as Pakistani stooges or potential non-citizen migrants. Islamophobia is multidimensional and dangerously ascendant, particularly affecting marginalized Muslim populations in economically deprived or politically conflicted regions.

Mohammad Shekh is a research student at Darul Huda Islamic University West Bengal Campus


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