Islamophobia is seemingly more important than Hinduphobia and will be explicitly used to shut down any attempt from India and Hindus to combat it, at least according to the Combating International Islamophobia Act.
This overreaching piece of legislative propaganda passed 219 to 212 votes on a party-line earlier this week in the United States, co-sponsored by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu).
The bill calls upon the president to appoint a ‘special envoy’ to fight ‘Islamophobia’, heading up a State department to monitor this apparent scourge. It is ostensibly created to fight efforts to ‘promote racial hatred’ against Muslims, conveniently sidestepping the logical fact that Islam is not a race and there are Muslims among people of all races.
It is yet another example of special treatment for Muslims and Islam itself, with the office now being created to record instances of Islamophobia, including violence against and harassment of Muslims and vandalism of their mosques, schools and cemeteries WORLDWIDE. Isn’t that quite something?
The office will not be localized to dealing with acts of perceived hatred against Muslims in just the US but also worldwide, including India which is clearly a target of the bill. The narrative this feeds into is that Muslims are unique, unique victims of persecution around the world, and one of the main proponents of this persecution is India, particular Narendra Modi, the RSS, the BJP, all its supporters and Hindus who cannot critique the forces, rationale and political groupthink that underpins Islamist sponsored atrocities when they occur just because the likes of Omar do not agree with them.
It is troubling indeed that the State Department isn’t as worried about violence against and harassment of Jews, Christians, and Hindus and the vandalism of their religious institutions, even though the US and the United Kingdom, for example have recently seen acts of desecration to Hindu temples as well as abuse of Hindus in student campuses at major universities.
It is clear that those who continue to frame Islam and Muslims as the most targeted group, race, and religion in the world do not afford the same importance towards other religions, as if their persecution is not as deserving.
Even more troubling is that this new office would target “propaganda efforts by state and non-state media to ‘promote racial hatred or incite acts of violence against Muslim people’.
But if Islam is not a race, then how can ‘racial hatred’ against Muslim people be actualized? What this really refers to is the subjective perception of such hatred, as well as any attempt to combat it by think-tank, NGO, lobby group, media house, or commentariat; and if any of those parties just happen to be aligned to the BJP, Modi, the RSS, or any left of center Indian media house, then woe betide the consequences that lay in store for them, even if their reporting of Jihad activity and, you know, real terrorism inspired by Islamic tenets, falls within honest analysis of the motivating ideology behind it.
So if India, Modi, any proud Hindu narrative dissents or critiques Islamic terrorism, it will now be directly in the firing line of this bill, the better to silence it completely. Since the definition of Islamophobia has not been specified n the bill-quite deliberately-Omar and apologists for Hinduphobia and overreaching Islamism are opening the doors for the propagation of antisemitism, hatred of Western civilizational values, and rampant Hinduphobia under the guise of protecting Islam.
India will now certainly be a target as Democrats and left leaning Modi haters have long taken the view that Modi and the BJP despise Muslims and want to erode their rights and existence to promote a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
Islamophobia has always really been about hurt feelings, victimhood, and this bill aims to explicitly appease the feelings of those who no longer wish the harsher aspects of Islam to be critiqued; giving them free reign to wield antisemitic, anti-American, and certainly anti-India and anti-Hindu views.
Omar has shown that playing the victim card is the easiest way to shift the focus of public debate in favor of Islamists, a careful strategy to slowly shut down criticism of Islam, its political configurations, and the views of its proponents. In doing so they will be able more easily attack India and Hindus who they feel are its key enemies.
It is a dark day indeed for democracy and free speech especially if you are an Indian and a Hindu.
Saurav Dutt is a TIME magazine featured author and political analyst. His commentary has been featured on Republic TV and The Festival of Bharat series, as well as CNN, Newsweek, VICE and Esquire.