On October 24th, 2020, ICNA CSJ took its annual justice conference online. The theme: Siblings of Hate: Racism, Islamophobia, Hindutva, and White Supremacy. In a particularly jarring political year, the theme highlights CSJ’s main focus during the past several months. There is a global movement of hatred that has expanded with the rise of right-wing populism. Alongside the white supremacy in the United States and reemerging across Europe, the Hindu Supremecy movement in India has wreaked havoc on the country’s Muslim minority. We were joined in our discussion by Imam Khalid Griggs, ICNA CSJ’s Vice President of Civic Engagement, who outlined the definition of White Supremecy, and its context in the structure of the United States. He touched on the origin of hate, namely that of Habeel and Qabeel, the sons of the Prophet Adam. Dr. Griggs argued that the root of hate what this feeling of superiority, a tradition that had made its way down, turning itself into slavery, discrimination, and eventually this current moment in American politics.
From there, the conversation segwayed into a different face of hate that is currently spreading in the world’s largest democracy, India. Dr. Angana Chattergi of Stanford Univerity leads a discussion of the Hindu Supremacy movement, which has taken hold intending to alienate all other religious and social groups in the country. Dr. Chattergi talked about the history of the movement and linked it to the current BJP party and prime minister Modi, who has publically admired a known Hilter sympathizer. Her research focuses on gender-based violence as well as anti-Muslim sentiment and violence in India. She also talks about the BJP sanctioned violence in Kashmir, a disputed territory that has been under siege by the Indian army over the past year.
Imran Mir, an attorney, and researcher expanded on the plight of Kashmir. He starts his talk by explaining the history of Kashmir, a region that has been oppressed for centuries under the Hindu Caste system, colonialism, the separation of Pakistan and India, and now the Hindu Supremacy movement. Since the region of Kashmir declared statehood, India has tried to take back the land and has used ethnic cleansing, violence, and control to do so. India’s movement of Hindu Supremacy aims to bring back the Hindu land and views any religious minority as an affront to that effort. Brother Imran Mir talks about the ownership of Kashmir as the only acceptable patriotic view in India and credits this for the politics of Kashmir’s destruction. Modern-day Kashmir has seen more unrelenting violence against the Muslims of Kashmir to maim the spirits of its people. This has failed, the Kashmiri people remain resilient, even in the face of the lockdowns of 2019, the most recent acts of mass violence by India’s military against Kashmiri men, women, and children.
The panel continued with Dr. Usama Abuirshaid of American Muslims for Palestine, who linked the Hindutva movement with the Zionist ideology that has devastated Palestine for the past century. He claims that both ideologies are similar in their intent, to dehumanize, oppress, and otherize a class of citizens deemed unfit to be citizens of a shared country. The colonizing powers prescribed Palestine to the Jewish people in the same way that Hindutva prescribes India to the Hindu religious group, essentially unhousing a group of people that have existed on a land for generations. The racial and religious hatred that motivates these movements incites violence and bloodshed amongst neighbors. Both ideologies promote purism and cultural exclusion and are based on a view that religions cannot coexist peacefully. Dr. Abuirshaid claims that the ideologies of Hindutva and Zionism are almost identical, and have manifested in similar ways. Violence, oppression, and the treatment of citizens in Kashmir and Gaza are all rooted in the same tradition of hatred and superiority.
ICNA’s Council for Social Justice aims to bring you information about issues of injustice, oppression, and inequality around the world. In our various campaigns, like those about Police Brutality, Imam Jamil Al Amin, the Chinese Uighur minority, and now the Hindutva movement, we are not just telling stories, but are empowering people with information so that they can make a difference. This effort is made possible by our contributors, who have helped us to fund such informational seminars, and aid our advocacy efforts so that we can make a change on a systematic level. This past year has been difficult, but as the entire world seemed to halt, our staff has worked tirelessly to continue our work, so that we can continue to make a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
ICNA CSJ has given the Justice Award to Imam Jamil Al-Amin. His son, Kiari Al-Amin received the award on behalf of his father. A video was also shown on the life of Imam Jamil Al-Amin. Imam Khalid Griggs announced the award and also spoke about the contributions of Imam Jamil to the struggle of justice in America.