How a Deoband Cleric is Using Social Media to Confront Hate, Islamophobia

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Caravan News

DEOBAND — With Islamophobia growing around the world, online hateful anti-Muslim posts have become a norm in India as well. Individuals and organised networks, many paid and sponsored by vested interests, seem to have gained impunity. They post offensive material online but hardly any action against them is taken. So what do you do? Sit idle and do nothing? Counter these posts with equally offensive material? “No, use the legal route and counter indignity with dignity,” urges the Deoband-based cleric and activist Maulana Mehdi Hasan Aini.

Maulana Mehdi Hasan Aini

Maulana Aini has been fighting online Islamophobia in his individual capacity for several months. Now he has founded an organisation Tanzeem Abna-e-Madaris ul Hind under whose banner he has filed several legal cases and launched campaigns against Islamophobes. Of these most prominent have been the campaigns for the arrest of Kamlesh Tiwari for blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) and a PIL in Delhi High Court against controversial writer Tariq Fateh etc.

In April a Muslim Inam Ali was murdered by injecting gas in his private parts in Meerut. Influential elements tried to hush up the case and let the culprits go free. But on the basis of a ground report prepared by senior lawyer Asad Hayat, Maulana Aini reported the matter on Twitter and the killer has been arrested.

 

Last month a group of Muslims were breaking their fast by the roadside of Sahibabad of Ghaziabad when Pinki Choudhry and his gang belonging to Hindu Raksha Manch approached them and started swearing at them. They also misbehaved with the police officials who arrived at the scene. Using a video clip of the incident a complaint was registered on police’s Twitter handle. A case has been registered against the culprits under various  sections of Indian Penal Code.

In the latest episode a man, describing himself as the leader of Shiv Sena, who had uploaded his video recording heaping insults on Mahatma Gandhi and using filthy language against Muslims was reported to IG Police Meerut zone and Ghaziabad police demanding his immediate arrest. The Ghaziabad police registered an FIR against the culprit under various sections of IPC.

Maulana Aini says that protests and other democratic means are essential but equally and perhaps quicker and more effective are the social media in confronting hate and bigotry.  “Let’s use the same method to silence them that they are using to incite hatred,” he emphasises.

 

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