I conducted an online poll for the purpose of quantifying anti-Muslim hate. An impossible task by any measure, and obviously there is nothing terribly scientific about either the method or the results.
But most of the respondents were presumably Muslim, so the results do say something about the manner in which Muslims experience prejudice and discrimination , and from whom. At least partially. Maybe.
Nearly 8,000 Twitter users responded to the poll question “Who Hates Muslims the Most?”
Assuming 100% of responders are Muslim, which is highly unlikely, Muslims feel they’re most intensely disliked by Hindu Nationalists (43%); followed by Israeli Zionists (34%), New Atheists (13%), and Assad war crimes deniers (10%).
Obviously, anti-Muslim hatred is generated from a great many other groups or identities, including Christian fundamentalists, white nationalists, and more. I mean, I could’ve easily included Trump supporters as a group to measure anti-Muslim hate, but they hate everyone, equally. So there’s that!
If my very unscientific poll shines on a light on anything, for anyone, then maybe it is somewhat illuminating for those who might be unfamiliar with the anti-Muslim hatred India’s right wing political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader Prime Minister Nardendra Modi is deploying to mobilize and consolidate political power.
If you’re totally unfamilar with Indian politics, then here’s a lazy shortcut: think Trump’s anti-Muslim toxcity but on overdrive, and you have imagined Narendra Modi.
Perculating just beneath the surface is the nationalist ideology of Hindutva, which casts Muslims as the enemy of the Hindu nationalist project — in much the same way Israel’s political right casts Muslims as the enemy of the Zionist project. A toxic ideology that both Modi and the BJP have grasped onto for expediency, and as a tool to distract the public from the government’s lack of political-economic accomplishments.
Toxicity that has lept from the confines of political discourse to rapidly increasing anti-Muslim communal violence and terrorism.
For instance, cow related attacks and lynchings of Muslims have skyrocketed in India since Modi took office in 2014. Since 2010, more than 100 Indian Muslims have been attacked by Hindu nationalists or extremists. 97% of these attacks have occured during Modi’s time in office.
Most of these attacks were carried out by “mobs or groups of people who belonged to Hindu groups, such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and local Gau Rakshak Samitis,” according to Hindustan Times.
India is home to more than 170 million Muslims, who are, as a result of rising and politically calculated Islamophobia, becoming increasingly seen as the dangerous other. From this politically generated fear of Muslims follows violence against Muslims.
Ultimately, today’s India serves as another warning that all acts of politically motivated violence, including genocide, begin not with fists, but with words. From hate speech follows hate fueled violence.
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