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UAE princess hits out against Islamophobic posts by Indian expats 

April 22, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Princess Hend Al-Qassimi of the UAE, 18 April 2020 [Ittefaque Khan/Facebook]

Princess Hend Al-Qassimi of the UAE has spoken out against Islamophobic social media posts by an Indian expat working in the Emirates.

“The ruling family is friends with Indians, but as a royal your rudeness is not welcome,” she wrote on Twitter. “All employees are paid to work, no one comes for free. You make your bread and butter from this land which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.”

The princess also posted a section of Emirati law regarding hate speech which, she pointed out, applies to UAE citizens and non-citizens alike.

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Last week, Princess Hend shared screenshots of tweets by someone called Saurabh Upadhyay whose account has since deactivated. The inflammatory remarks in question were made between the expat and another user over a religious gathering in New Delhi in March involving the Tablighi Jamaat, which allegedly led to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in India.

The Indian expat claimed that the Jamaat members were spitting on people as “a new form of jihad”, describing the group as “radical Islamist terrorists”. Princess Hend responded by saying, “Anyone that is openly racist and discriminatory in the UAE will be fined and made to leave.”

Al-Qassimi also shared a link on Monday of an interview with India’s NDTV in which she spoke of the offensive tweets. She acknowledged that the comments were not representative of all Indians, recognising the UAE’s important trade links and strong relations with India.

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One Twitter account run by a Hindu-nationalist asked Princess Hend if she would also condemn “Hinduphobia”, to which she replied that she grew up with Hindus and that most Emiratis speak Hindi. “No one hates Hindus here,” she added. In a separate post, she also expressed her love of Bollywood movies and cheese naan while mentioning that the UAE and India are “old friends”.

In BJP-ruled India, there has been an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment, including the maligning of Muslims for the spread of Covid-19. Following condemnation by the Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), the human rights body of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was awarded the UAE’s highest civilian award, the Order of Zayed, last year, tweeted that India will now wage a unified battle against the virus.

“Covid-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking,” said Modi. “Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together.”

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