India, which is home to 10.9% of the world’s Muslim population, has been witnessing a growing wave of islamophobia.
India‘s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has kicked off a four-day visit to Qatar with a high-level delegation as part of a three-nation tour that also includes Senegal and Gabon.
During his visit, Niadu met with Qatar’s Shura Council and will be attending a business forum alongside an Indian business delegation and a delegation from the Qatar Chamber later on Sunday.
His visit comes as #الا ـ رسول ـ الله ـ يا ـ مودي (#AnyoneButTheProphetOModi) has taken social media by storm, securing as the number one trend on Twitter in Qatar and neighbouring Arab states.
The hashtag came as a response to offensive tweets by an Indian politician who took aim at the Prophet Muhammad, prompting calls for a boycott.
Users reacted with anger to a tweet posted by Navin Kumar Jindal the head of the media department from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi, and a prominent politician close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The tweet was about the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, with many saying it was an extension of Modi’s offensive Islamophobic policies.
Jaber Alharmi, a prominent Qatari journalist tweeted “The official spokesman of the ruling party in #India Navin Kumar Jindal insults our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and our mother Aisha, in a dirty and obscene manner.. Our silence prompted this scum to offend our Prophet, our religion and our sanctities. If we do not defend our Prophet and our security, then there is no good in us.”
In an official statement to Doha News, the Indian Embassy in Qatar distance itself from Jindal.
“Comments of fringe elements does not represent views of the Government of India. He is neither an official of GOI nor represents views of the ruling Party. To the best of our information, even the party has strongly condemned the remarks and expelled him from the party,” the statement said.
The BJP party also issued a statement condemning the remarks made by Jindal.
“During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion.”
Several Indian cities and states have seen widespread systematic persecution of the Muslim minority in recent months, accompanied by violence from extremist Hindu militias.
For years, far-right Hindus have incited anti-muslim violence online, but it has only recently materialised in the streets.
Muslims account for roughly 13% of India’s population of 1.35 billion people.
The Indian population in Qatar exceeds 750,000, making up about 25% of Qatar’s overall population of 2,979,915.
In May, an Indian expat working in Qatar was sacked after making derogatory comments about nurses from his native country. While speaking at an event organised by a Hindu organisation, Sisupalan Durgadas claimed that women from Kerala who go to the Gulf as nurses work as “sex slaves for terrorists.”
Durgadas was fired from his position as regional coordinator of the Malayalam Mission’s Qatar chapter when a video of him making those remarks went viral. On May 5, the Malyalam Mission in Qatar sent a letter dismissing him from his role.
He was also fired from his job as a senior accountant at Doha-based Narang Projects.