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For Muslims in Modi’s India, Echoes of 1930s Germany Are Growing Louder Hindu Mobs, anti-Muslim Boycotts: In Modi’s India, the Echoes of 1930s Germany Are Growing Louder

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29.09.2021

Taking part in the nine-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit just over a week ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced a familiar concern in the region following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan: the heightened risk of Islamist fundamentalism.

In his speech, delivered virtually, he urged the members, which include China, Russia and central Asian countries, to join forces to fight "radicalization and extremism."

Religious fundamentalism, he noted, had historically been a barrier to development in Central Asia, and urged member countries to promote "rational thinking" as a counter to radicalization.

The creation of a potentially new haven of jihadi terror in Asia is a legitimate cause of concern for countries in the region with disaffected Muslim youths and ongoing insurgencies, such as in Mindanao and Kashmir. The governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have for long been dreading the return of the thousands of young men who left those countries to join ISIS in Syria.

Modi could breathe easy on this front, though. Much to the surprise of international security analysts, Indian Muslims have historically stayed away from global jihad movements. Neither were Indian Muslims drawn to the mujahideen resistance in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s nor to the subsequent al-Qaida-Taliban "emirate." They proved equally impervious to the toxic appeal of ISIS.

The 100-odd Indians who joined ISIS — of the nearly 200 million Muslims in the country — accounted for less than 1 percent of the estimated 40,000 foreign fighters of the "caliphate."

But, for Modi, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) uses Muslims as the electoral bogeyman to consolidate a culturally diverse and caste-riven Hindu vote base against a common "other," it makes sense to bang on about Muslim "radicalization" all the same, as a means of Hindu mobilization.

In reality, the radicalization of the majority is a much bigger threat confronting India than minority extremism.

Lynching of Muslims by Hindu mobs have become so normalized that they rarely make news anymore. New laws against beef and interfaith love – termed "love jihad" by Modi’s party – now allow Hindu vigilante groups to attack Muslims with impunity. A pliant civil administration and police force mostly look away, if they’re not actively collaborating with........

© Haaretz


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