Emirati Princess Sheikha Hend bint Faisal al-Qasimi has strongly criticized Islamophobic tendencies in India and also expressed solidarity and sympathies with Indian Muslims and Kashmiris.
In an interview with an Indian online news portal TwoCircles.net, al-Qasimi recalled a hate tweet by an Indian citizen living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The tweet was “insulting my religion, insulting my country, condescending my rulers and my leaders and saying that Indians were running the business in my country.”
Al Qasimi, 36, is known for speaking against Islamophobic social media posts.
She said that some Indians who adhere to radical Hindu ideology known as Hindutva, have shown disrespect and indulged in hate remarks on social media.
She said that some of them have now left the Gulf. But, she attributed their departure to the global economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We accept everyone who comes and lives in peace. We belong to a religion of peace. We give a chance to everyone to defend themselves, “said the princess.
According to figures available with India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the UAE hosts 3.41 million Indian citizens.
“I believe hate is the stepping stone to genocide. I was ignorant of what was happening in India and this episode opened my eyes to the genocide that is happening in India, which I do not think the media is covering,” said al-Qasimi.
Expressing surprise about the silence of the world on the issue, the princess also raised the issue of forced lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir which continued for eight months, after India revoked special status and divided the region into two central administered territories last year in August.
She said that India, being a member of the UN, should comply with the human rights laws.
Kashmir a prison
“I would understand being under lockdown for a week or a month as during the current pandemic. But Kashmir was under lockdown for up to eight months and how long will it continue? Kashmir is a living prison and a camp,” she said.
The Emirati royal family member compared the situation in Kashmir to that of the Gaza Strip, where Israel has put up blockade over the past many years.
Referring to the arrest of New Delhi-based central university Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) student Safoora Zargar, al-Qasimi also pointed out human rights violations against Indian Muslims. Zargar was arrested on April 13, when she was three months pregnant.
Police claimed she was among those who organized protests against the controversial citizenship law.
“It has become an international embarrassment for India to deny human rights to a young woman and her unborn child,” al-Qasimi stressed.
She said citizens of the Emirates may be quiet, but attacking their religion is a very sensitive issue and will not be tolerated.
Asked whether hate speeches against Muslims in India impacts Indian expatriates in the Gulf, she said: “Muslims and Christians do not trust Hindutva influenced Indians anymore. They feel that these people have an agenda. People now are saying that they would rather go to a Muslim doctor or a Christian doctor then go to the Hindu one because people do not know the difference between Hindus and Hindutva.
She, however, said that she has both Hindus and Muslims in her staff and she regards them as her extended family.
“They do not act as viciously as the Twitter trolls or the people I see attacking Muslims in India. I pray that peace once again returns to India,” she said.
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