By AISHWARYA S IYER: –
“The social, economic and religious rights of Muslims are more secure and stronger in India than in other countries.”
After the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) raised concerns regarding the alleged cases of “Islamophobia” in India and their negative profiling in the media, the country’s Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Muslims are prosperous in the country and that those who were trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the country cannot be their friends.
After hearing Naqvi’s statement, those on Twitter were furious as they claimed that he did not represent Indian Muslims.
What Were The Concerns Raised by OIC?
On 19 April OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) put out tweets urging the Indian government to take urgent steps to protect the rights of the minority Muslim community. The OIC is the second largest largest inter-governmental organization after the UN with 57 member states.
They condemned the vicious Islamophobia campaign in India, which they said was maligning Muslims for spreading COVID-19 and pointed towards their ‘negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination and violence with impunity.’
What Did the Minority Affairs Minister Say?
Asked about the OIC’s criticism, Naqvi said, “We are doing our job with conviction. The prime minister whenever he speaks, he talks about the rights and welfare of 130 crore Indians. If somebody cannot see this, then it is their problem. India’s Muslims, its minorities, all its sections of the society, are prosperous and those people trying to vitiate this atmosphere of prosperity, they cannot be friends of Indian Muslims,” he told reporters.
A day before Naqvi spoke about allegations of rampant Islamophobia in India, on 20 April, Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to the UAE, tweeted, “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.”
On criticism of India by scholars in Gulf nations, Naqvi said, “India is a heaven for Muslims and minorities. The social, economic and religious rights of Muslims are more secure and stronger in India than in other countries. If somebody is saying something with a prejudiced mindset, then he should look at the ground reality of this country and accept it,” the minister said.
Naqvi insisted that the economic conditions of Muslims from the last few years should be studied. “In this country, there is such a large population of Muslims. An analysis of their educational, social and economic conditions in the last five years should be looked at, their share in government jobs has increased and they have been educationally and economically empowered,” Naqvi said.
Muslims have had an equal share in the progress of all sections and if India is progressing, the community is also progressing, he asserted.
He said that India ‘should ensure that our strength of unity in diversity’ is not weakened under any circumstances’ and that ‘professional bogus bashing brigades are still active and conspiring to spread misinformation’.
“We should remain cautious of such evil forces and we need to work to defeat their nefarious misinformation propaganda,” Naqvi said.
He also insisted that “secularism and harmony” was not a “political fashion”, but a “perfect passion” for India and Indians.
‘Naqvi Doesn’t Represent Indian Muslims’
However, Naqvi faced a backlash at least on social media, with many people pointing out the attacks on minorities that have taken place in the recent past.