Opinion | Dear United Nations, What About Hinduphobia? – News18

Written By: Zeba Zoariah
Last Updated: March 23, 2024, 12:48 IST
New Delhi, India
India’s abstention in the recent UN General Assembly vote on a draft resolution sponsored by Pakistan and backed by China has sparked a fiery debate. (Image: X/@IndiaUNGeneva)
In a bold move echoing the sentiments of millions, India has sent shockwaves through the hallowed halls of the United Nations. With the world’s attention fixated on combating Islamophobia, India’s abstention in the recent UN General Assembly vote on a draft resolution sponsored by Pakistan and backed by China has sparked a fiery debate. But it’s not what India did that’s capturing headlines—it’s the resounding question it poses: What about Hinduphobia?
As the global community grapples with religious intolerance, India’s call to acknowledge the plight of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and other faiths facing discrimination sends a powerful message.
Let’s delve into the heart of this contentious issue and explore why the UN’s singular focus may be overlooking a broader, more inclusive approach to combating religious prejudice.
In a continuation of India’s persistent advocacy, TS Tirumurti, ex-chairperson of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-terrorism Committee, reiterated concerns about the UN’s narrow focus on religious phobias. He pointed out that the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy’s 7th review, passed in June 2021, only highlighted Islamophobia, Christianophobia, and Judeophobia, neglecting emerging forms of religiophobia against Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. This call for attention underscores a recurring plea for inclusivity in combating religious prejudice—a plea that resonates with India’s recent stance at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The recent UNGA’s resolution condemning Islamophobia co-sponsored by China and Pakistan raises a glaring paradox. How can nations championing such a resolution turn a blind eye to their own egregious human rights violations, particularly against their Muslim populations? The facade of concern for Islamophobia conveniently masks the reality of state-sponsored persecution and terrorism linked with Jihad—a reality vividly illustrated by Pakistan’s harbouring of radical Islamic terrorist organisations.
In China, approximately 25 million Muslims are experiencing a severe erosion of their religious freedoms under the pretext of socialist values. This includes various ethnic groups such as Hui, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Tatars. The Chinese government’s policies, particularly in Xinjiang, have drawn condemnation from Western democracies, with accusations of genocide. Despite this, Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan have remained notably silent. This stark discrepancy highlights the hypocrisy in the global response to human rights abuses. While China suppresses Muslim rights, fellow Muslim nations turn a blind eye.
But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there. While the world focuses on Islamophobia, the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh remains largely overlooked. Hard data paints a grim picture: In Pakistan, the Hindu population has faced religious persecution and systematic violence for decades. Documented massacres, rapes, and forced conversions plague the minority communities. The Hindu population in Pakistan has declined drastically from about 23 per cent in 1947 to a mere 6 per cent by 2017, largely due to forced conversions, oppression, and suppression in the Islamic nation. According to a report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace, approximately 1,000 non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted to Islam every year in Pakistan, with the ratio being even higher in regions like Sindh, where 20 or more girls per month are converted.
In addition, textbooks in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and other religious minorities, while most teachers view non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam,” according to a study by a US government commission. Religious minorities and those brave enough to speak out against intolerance have often been killed, seemingly with impunity, by militant sympathisers. The 2011 Pew Research Center study found that Pakistan is the third most intolerant country in the world, highlighting the deeply ingrained hard-line Islam and the worrisome support for militancy. Hindus are largely absent in the top echelons of the government, bureaucracy, and military services in Pakistan. The state-run media, religious orthodoxy, and educational institutions all contribute to discrimination and prejudice towards them.
Similarly, the situation in Bangladesh mirrors Pakistan’s descent into religious extremism. With radical Islam on the rise, the Hindu community has become a target of violent crimes, displacement, and forcible land seizures. In 2022 alone, 154 Hindus were killed, and 39 Hindu women were killed after being raped. Radical Islamists employ a two-pronged strategy, infiltrating Bangladeshi Muslims into India while systematically wiping out Hindus within their own borders. Reports suggest that without intervention, Bangladesh could witness the complete eradication of its Hindu population within a few decades—a chilling prospect ignored by the international community.
Against this backdrop of persecution and suffering, the UN’s silence on Hinduphobia is deafening. As Hindus continue to face systematic discrimination and violence, the glaring disparity in global attention begs a stark question: where is the UN’s commitment to upholding the rights of all religious minorities? It’s time for the international community to confront its complicity in perpetuating religious persecution and demand accountability from those who claim to champion human rights on the world stage.
In our age of political correctness run amok, any criticism of Islam or even a mere observation of collective behaviour within the Ummah is swiftly branded as Islamophobia. Report a crime committed by Islamic fundamentalists? Islamophobia. Condemn the violence perpetrated by an intolerant minority? Islamophobia. Express disdain for threats of rape, death, and beheading? Yet again, Islamophobia—a dismissive wave of the hand, suggesting that a little anarchy and violence are permissible in the name of democratic discourse. But dare to oppose this absurdity, and suddenly you’re labelled an Islamophobe.
So, what exactly is Islamophobia? Is it even a real phenomenon, or just a weaponised term used to stifle dissent and shut down legitimate discourse? The ambiguity surrounding its definition is deliberate—a tactic to conflate and confuse, lumping together disparate criticisms under one convenient label. Is it racism? Certainly not, for Islam encompasses followers from diverse racial backgrounds. Is it an irrational fear? Perhaps, but when justified concerns are dismissed out of hand, the label loses its potency.
Moreover, Islamophobia carries insidious implications, subtly shifting the burden of proof onto the accused, painting any criticism as inherently biased or hateful. Rational critiques of Islamic ideologies are unfairly tarred with the brush of bigotry, silencing dissent and stifling intellectual debate. Why does Islamophobia enjoy such prominence, while phobias against other faiths—Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism—languish in obscurity? The answer lies in its utility as a cudgel, wielded to bludgeon any who dare question the status quo.
In truth, Islamophobia serves as little more than a rhetorical bludgeon—a catch-all phrase hurled with vitriol to demonise dissenters and muzzle legitimate criticism. It stifles honest dialogue, relegating reasoned discourse to the realm of bigotry and hate speech. It’s time to strip away the veneer of political correctness and confront the truth: Islamophobia is a weaponised term, wielded to silence dissent and shield dogma from scrutiny.
It’s time to reclaim rational discourse from the shackles of fear and censorship and hold all ideologies—religious or otherwise—to account without fear or favour.
As an Indian Muslim woman, I am compelled to question the narrative that labels India as Islamophobic. Can a nation with over 200 million Muslims truly be considered a minority when sheer numbers defy such classification? The notion of Muslims as a “protected group” inherently implies that Hindus are relegated to an “unprotected” status—a glaring indictment of the supposed equality of treatment for all Indians.
What is conspicuously absent from discussions on hate crimes and fear-mongering is the plight of Hindus in regions like Kashmir Valley, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The ethnic cleansing, abduction, forcible conversion, and discrimination against Hindus and other minorities in these areas go unnoticed, overshadowed by cherry-picked datasets that perpetuate a false narrative of minority victimisation in India.
India stands as a beacon of religious harmony, boasting peaceful coexistence among all sects of Islam—an achievement unmatched by any of the 56 Muslim-majority nations. Yet, it is India that finds itself unjustly labelled as Islamophobic, often by countries like Pakistan, notorious for sponsoring terrorism and propagating Hinduphobia.
Let us not forget the reality of India’s history: a nation that has never embarked on invasions or promoted violent jihad or genocide. Rather, it has been a victim of colonial exploitation and intolerance. To criticise India for defending its borders and national security from global terrorism is the height of hypocrisy.
India’s commitment to secularism is evident in its government institutions, where there is no discrimination in employment based on religion. The armed forces serve as a shining example of secularism, with members from diverse religious backgrounds. India has seen Muslim presidents, Sikh presidents, and prime ministers, without any Hindu-centric government initiatives.
So, I ask the United Nations: what about Hinduphobia? In the quest for justice and equality, let us not succumb to the trap of selective outrage. It is time to acknowledge and address the underlying Hinduphobia that permeates international discourse and ensure that all voices, including those of Hindu minorities, are heard and respected.
The author is a practising advocate. She writes articles on women’s rights, politics and law. Views expressed in the above piece are personal and solely that of the author. They do not necessarily reflect News18’s views.


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