Senior BJP leader and former minister KS Eshwarappa has made a controversial remark on azaan during a public gathering in Bengaluru state of Karnataka. He said, “This (azaan) is a headache for me, wherever I go I have the same problem. Does Allah hear prayers only if one screams on a microphone? Is Allah deaf? I have no doubt there will be an end to this soon as there is a Supreme Court judgement. PM Modi has asked us to respect all religions, but I must ask can Allah hear only if you scream on a microphone? This issue must be resolved soon.” As soon as the azaan started, a visibly irked Eshwarappa began ranting against loudspeakers being used for the call to prayers. Eshwarappa also said, “I never told that we do not need Muslim votes. Our party needs vote of Muslims who are nationalists only.” Eshwarappa, who has also served as the state’s Deputy Chief Minister, is no stranger to controversies. He earlier sparked a row when he referred to 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as a “Muslim gunda (goon)”. Later, he defended his controversial “Allah is deaf” remark, saying that he was just expressing what “a common man” felt about sounding the Islamic call to prayer through loudspeakers. Last year, Karnataka witnessed protests over the hijab, while some right-wing groups have also raised an objection over ‘halal’ meat. The Allahabad High Court in May 2022 ruled that delivering the Azaan on loudspeakers is not a fundamental right. The court further said that although Azaan is an integral part of Islam, it stated that delivering it through loudspeakers is not a part of the religion. In January 2023, Haridwar district administration fined seven mosques for causing noise pollution. Human rights Attorney Meetali Jain brought up the extent of hate speech and misinformation in India “of a genocidal character, very much akin” to what has been seen in Myanmar and Ethiopia. Two Indian journalists – Alishan Jafri and Kaushik Raj talked about how anti-Muslim violence had only been rising ever since Narendra Modi government came into power. What’s more, members of ruling party and ministers at the state and Central level have issued and supported such calls for genocide, without facing action. Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University and the author of How Fascism Works, compared what is happening in India now to Nazi Germany. “The early thinkers of the RSS made explicit suggestions that India should follow the Nazi’s model.”



United Nations adopted a resolution proposed by Pakistan and the OIC to designate March 15 as” International Day to Combat Islamophobia.” Islamophobia has emerged as one of the grave concerns that have jeopardized the contours of harmony and cooperation between west and the Muslim world. The resolution expresses deep concern at “the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance, and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of many religions and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and prejudices against persons of other religions or beliefs”.

The adoption of this resolution comes at a time when hate speech, discrimination, and violence against Muslims are proliferating in several parts of the world including India. It is on vivid display in IIOJK. Violence against Muslims on flimsy pretexts by various ‘Hindutva’ groups with complete impunity, and often under state patronage, highlighted the worsening trend of Islamophobia and extremism in India. Islamophobia is manifested in negative profiling by security agencies, stigmatization, deliberate vandalizing of Islamic symbols and holy sites, killings by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws and policies, a ban on the hijab, attacks on mosques, pronouncements by far-right parties that call for expulsion and even “genocide” of Muslims, anti-Muslim migrant bias, and attacks on the dignity of Muslim women. Shashi Tharoor wrote in an article published in November 2021 that “over the last seven years in India, persecution of Muslims has been gradually normalized and Indians have become increasingly inured to it.

PM Modi and his BJP are entirely to blame”.  It is a reminder that “targeting minorities with impunity, and hate speech with official sanction, will have repercussions for India’s global reputation,” notes Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a leading scholar. Islamophobia is not just a human rights violation but a contemporary manifestation of racism. India to shun its Hindutva policies and stop targeting its minorities, hurting their religious sentiments, and putting an end to the rising incidents of violence and the spread of hate against Indian minorities, especially Muslims. OIC countries must call upon all states to prevent any advocacy of religious discrimination, hostility or violence, and defamation of Islam by incorporating legal and administrative measures and investigating attacks and hate crimes against Muslims and their places of worship.