What should we do for the Muslims of India
Wifaqul Ulama Public Affairs (Department)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh (Peace, Blessings & Mercy of Allah be upon You).
Over 40 people have been killed in riots that erupted on Sunday 23rd February in wake of the anti-Muslim Citizens Amendment Bill. Hindu mobs have targeted Muslims homes, shops and mosques in what is being described by many as pogroms, reminiscent of anti-Semitic pogroms that Jews endured in the decade preceding the Holocaust. There is a fear of a repeat of the Gujrat riots of 2002 which saw over 1,000 dead. The current debauchery is foregrounded by the lockdown of Kashmir, which has been in effect for over six months.
We remain committed to standing against any injustice or oppression committed against any human being. As Muslims, this is our duty, and we stand firm with our brothers and sisters in humanity to uphold our shared values of peace and justice.
We suggest a spiritual plan of action and a political plan to address the egregious violation of basic human rights that is ongoing in India.
Spiritual Action Plan
We are Muslims, therefore our first reaction in any situation should be to reflect upon our actions and to turn to Allah Ta’ala in seeking forgiveness and to beseech Him for his assistance and help. We urge all Muslims in Britain to repent and make sincere Dua to Allah Ta’ala to help the Muslims in India, and indeed across the globe.
Encourage your family, friends, and community to perform individual prayers and even organise Qunut Nazilah in your communities.
Spend your money and give Sadaqah in addition to your Duas to invite the Mercy of Allah Ta’ala.
Change your life for the better and do your best to come closer to Allah Ta’ala by fulfilling His commandments and following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).
In times of despair and distress, it is also advisable to recite and reflect upon Surah Yusuf; from this, we understand that Prophet Yusuf’s (ﷺ) time in the well was limited, so too was his time in prison, and indeed his time as minister. What is everlasting is Allah’s pleasure, and this is what we find Prophet Yusuf (ﷺ) pursuing regardless of his situation.
Political Action Plan
We encourage you to pursue a political action plan. This section will detail how you should engage politically, and which groups you should engage with: (1) politicians, (2) human rights groups, and (3) holding supporters of Modi’s toxic narrative to account.
Methods of engaging
You can engage the following group through a combination of emails and social media. Details for email addresses are in the sections below, as well as points that you can raise via email. When writing emails to politicians, bear in mind the following:
1) Do not use copy and paste letters
MPs very often ignore these, and understandably so; a copy and paste letter suggests that whoever sent it has not given the issue much time and thought. Some MPs explicitly mention that they will ignore copy and paste letters. Instead, you should embed your passion and interest in a topic in the letter.
2) Build your letter around facts
MPs have very limited time, so if you can base your letter around referenced statistics and reports, your MP is more likely to take an interest in the topic, rather than leaving it to them to research it for themselves. If you take the time out to research an MP’s views on an issue, you can use this as a way of building rapport with them e.g. ‘I appreciate that you voted x for y policy, and I thought this related matter would interest you…’.
3) Write succinctly
As already mentioned, MPs are very busy and do not have much time. Keeping your letter slick and to the point makes it easy for them to engage with its contents, rather than skimming over it. As a rule of thumb, the reader of your letter should be able to understand it after reading it only once. If they have to backtrack because of too many big words and complicated sentences, the letter becomes much more difficult to engage with.
4) Include a call to action
Remember to include a tangible request at the end of your letter, whether that be passing on a letter onto a Minister or raising an issue in parliament.
If you use Twitter, ensure that you use relevant hashtags such as #DelhiViolence, #DelhiRiots. You should also share articles and information on all of your social media platforms. The below Twitter accounts are helpful sources of information (please note that Wifaq Ulama does not necessarily endorse the below accounts – they are for reference):
- CJ Werleman: a journalist committed to campaigning against Islamophobia
- Khaled Beydoun: a law professor
- Rana Ayyub: a Mumbai based journalist
(1) Engaging Politicians
At present, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia has at present said nothing on the violence in India. He met with Vikas Swarup (Secretary in India’s Ministry of External Affairs) on Monday during the Human Rights Council at Geneva, which is due to run from 24th Feb to 20th March. Write to Lord Ahmad (firstname.lastname@example.org), or tweet to him insisting that he raises the horrific conditions in Delhi and the lockdown in Kashmir in wider meetings and with his Indian counterparts.
You should also reach out to politicians who have a track record of supporting British Muslims, such as members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims. Write and tweet to them thanking them for their good work, and encouraging them to lobby the Government to pressurise the BJP to desist from their anti-Muslim Citizens Amendment Bill. Mention that the Muslim Council of Britain have been working closely with the Indian Muslim Federation in the House of Commons to oppose the Citizens Amendment Bill. You should also encourage them to speak out against supporters of Modi and the BJP’s toxic narrative. Below are details of some members of the APPG on British Muslims, who you can both email and contact on social media:
- Wes Streeting MP: elected chair of the APPG on British Muslims as of January 2020. Email: email@example.com
- Mark Eastwood MP: Co-chair of the APPG. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tan Dhesi MP: a member of the APPG, of fame for his legendary callout of Boris Johnson in Parliament. Email: email@example.com
- Kirsten Oswald MP: a member of the APPG. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Baker MP: member of the APPG, formerly head of the pro-Brexit group the ERG. He has called for upholding the UN mandate in Kashmir. Email: email@example.com
- Mark Logan MP: member of the APPG. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Colleen Fletcher MP: member of the APPG. Email: email@example.com
You should also contact your local MP asking them to raise the matter (as well as the Kashmiri lockdown) in Parliament, and similarly lobby the Government to apply diplomatic pressure upon Modi’s Government. You can also write a letter to a minister (such as Lord Ahmad) and ask your MP to pass it onto them. Your MP must do this even if they disagree with what you have written, and it’s much more likely to be read by the minister.
(2) Human Rights Groups
There are many NGOs and charities that do excellent work defending human rights. Engaging with these organisations would be an excellent opportunity allying ourselves with those who also fight against injustice.
Amnesty International has local groups that meet regularly. You can contact them, attend their regular meetings, and aim to coordinate wider campaigns in support of Indian Muslims in your local community. This is an important platform for Muslims to raise other instances of oppression, and build allies in our struggle for justice and peace.
Contacting Amnesty International at a higher level, for example, the international secretariat is also a great way to reach a very wide and influential audience.
(3) Holding Modi’s Supporters to Account
A little known fact is that Modi was once banned from the US because of his links to Hindu extremists. His tyrannical, despotic behaviour should come as no surprise. Unfortunately, there are many in Britain who support Modi, and these groups and individuals should be held to account for supporting and associating with an extremist.
The MP for Harrow, Bob Blackman strongly supported the revocation of Article 370, which removed Kashmir’s quasi-autonomy. Mr. Blackman’s Twitter page features a picture of him with Modi. It is unfortunate that Mr. Blackman is leveraging his position as Chair of the APPG on British Hindus to support Modi’s positions, such as explicitly supporting the revocation of Article 370. It should not come as a surprise that the APPG also rejected the definition of Islamophobia. It seems that the APPG on British Hindus is focussed on supporting Modi, rather than representing British Hindus.
The Hindu Council UK, a civil society organisation claiming to represent all Hindus in the UK has supported Modi and his policies. Both the Hindu Forum for Britain, and the Friends of India Society UK also support the anti-Muslim Citizens Amendment Bill.
We encourage you to contact these organisations directly, questioning their support for the extremist Modi. You should also cite these organisations in your letters to politicians, highlighting how problematic it is for British Hindu groups to support Modi.
Finally, we urge all Muslims to uphold justice and balance. We should be very careful not to label all Hindus in a negative light. This has been done time and time again to Muslims, and we know the hatred and violence that this begets. As Muslims, we are the torchbearers of justice and good conduct, and we must commit to peaceful and legal protest against injustice wherever it appears and whoever it affects.
May Allah preserve and protect the Muslims of India and deliver swift justice to the oppressors. Ameen.