Three Indian nationals based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been sacked or suspended for “Islamophobic” posts on social media as violence carried out by Hindu supremacist against Indian Muslims has seen a spike during the coronavirus outbreak.
The three men join nearly half a dozen other Indian expats who have similarly landed in trouble in recent weeks after their offensive posts were brought to the attention of employers by social media users.
One of the men was an employee at a chain of high-end Italian restaurants in Dubai. The Indian man is believed to have been working as a chef. According to Gulf News Sharjah-based Pneumics Automation have also said they suspended a storekeeper until further notice.
“We have withheld his salary and told him not to come to work. The matter is under investigation. We have a zero-tolerance policy. Anyone found guilty of insulting or showing contempt for someone’s religion will have to bear the consequences,” said the company owner.
A third man employed by Dubai-based Transguard Group said they have cracked down on an employee who had posted several anti-Islamic messages on his Facebook page under the name of Vishal Thakur.
“Following an internal investigation, the actual identity of this employee was verified and he was stripped of his security credentials, terminated from our employment and handed over to the relevant authorities as per company policy and UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012. As of this statement, he is in the custody of Dubai Police,” a Transguard spokesperson said in a statement to Gulf News.
These sackings come in the wake of growing anti-Muslim hostility across India by Hindu supremacists. Such attacks have increased during the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as Hindus loyal to the ruling far-right BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi blame Muslims for the spread of the virus.
Modi himself was barred from the US over his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed over 1,000 Muslims. His supporters have dubbed the virus “corona jihad” and spread the false allegation that the pandemic is a conspiracy by Muslims to infect and poison Hindus.
Gulf residents have reacted by launching a campaign to oust Indian expats sympathising with Hindu extremists. In April, a Saudi sheikh responded by urging governments in the Middle East, especially the Gulf, to clamp down on anyone showing sympathy with extremist Hindu ideology.
A UAE princess also hit out against Islamophobic posts by Indian expats, warning “You make your bread and butter from this land which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.”