Muslim group challenges anti-conversion laws in Supreme Court
As Hindu supremacist authorities continue to punish conversion to Islam and Christianity, a leading organization of Muslim scholars has challenged the constitutional validity of invasive anti-conversion laws in five states – Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
The Muslim organization, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, has stated that “the compulsory disclosure of one’s religion in any form” is an invasion of the freedom of belief and therefore goes against the Indian constitution’s protection of freedom of religion.
“Such disclosure is unconstitutional and amounts to violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to every individual,” the organization argued.
Hindu supremacists claim anti-conversion laws protect Hindus from “allurement” or being influenced to convert to another faith. However, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has argued that this phrasing has been weaponized by Hindu extremists against minorities.
“The phrase ‘undue influence’ is too wide and vague and can be used to prosecute any person… The extremely broad nature [of the term] ‘undue influence’ may be used to prosecute elders, parents and other such persons who wield a degree of influence over a person,” the petition said.
Throughout India, Muslims and Christians have suffered physical attacks and arbitrary arrests due to anti-conversion laws. Muslim men have been assaulted and arrested simply for keeping company with a Hindu woman over accusations of “love jihad,” while Christians distributing religious pamphlets and Bibles have been attacked and accused of trying to forcibly convert Hindus.
Literature conference slammed for blatantly excluding Muslim authors
Activists have slammed a literary conference in Karnataka state, the All India Kannada Literature Conference, for rampant anti-Muslim discrimination by completely sidelining Muslim authors and poets.
Among the 83 writers honored in different categories, not a single one was Muslim, while no Muslims were invited to be speakers at any of the nine seminars held as part of the conference. Additionally, no category was offered to the Byari language spoken by Muslims of coastal Karnataka, despite other regional languages being featured.
In response, prominent Muslim and minority writers have organized a parallel conference titled “People’s Literature Convention,” during which discussions will be held on India’s attacks on minorities, among other topics.
The blatant show of discrimination from the organizers of the All India Kannada Literature Conference is yet another display of Hindu supremacism in Karnataka state, where Muslims have also been banned from setting up shop in so-called “Hindu areas” and driven out of non-religious festivals.
Assam Chief Minister orders database of madrasa teachers, cracks down on schools
Amid Assam state’s crackdown on madrasas, or Muslim-run schools, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has ordered police to “work with” the Muslim community to “rationalize” madrasa education. The order is blatantly discriminatory, forcing madrassa teachers from outside the state to appear at the nearest police station and creating a database of teachers for further surveillance.
Madrasa teachers have slammed Sarma’s policies as showing his Hindu supremacist bias.
“His policies will take education in the state backward. The policies show his bias, prejudice and ignorance about the madrassas. Earlier, he had remarked that the madrassas don’t produce certain kinds of people,” said Burhanuddin Qasmi, who runs a school in the state.
“If somebody is providing religious education, why are you so troubled by that…. if you will harass those who run educational institutions, people will stop promoting education. That’s why I call the CM’s policies anti-education,” he added.