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Activist decries discrimination Muslims face in India

January 8, 2024 at 4:45 pm

Activists and supporters of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, an Indian Islamic ogranisation, hold India’s national flags and placards as they take part in a ‘Peace March’ protest rally in New Delhi. [Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images]

Muslims in India are facing discrimination and being denied their due educational and economic rights, a social activist said, Anadolu Agency reports.

In an interview with Anadolu, Abdul Malik Mujahid, the President of “Justice For All”, highlighted the challenges Muslims encounter in education and employment, emphasising the difficulties they face in their daily lives.

He pointed out that, despite achieving high grades in education, Muslims struggle to find employment and often end up in positions that do not even require education.

Recalling a conversation with a Muslim youth who drives a rickshaw in the capital, New Delhi, Mujahid underlined the struggles faced by educated Muslims who are unable to secure jobs matching their qualifications.

“I have a Master’s degree and all my brothers and sisters have Master’s degrees, but we cannot find jobs. So, we are working like labourers,” Mujahid quoted the youth as telling him.

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“So that’s the reason Muslims overall are behind Hindus in jobs, and in education. There is about a 10 to 15 per cent gap between Muslims’ education level and Hindus’ education level because of this particular phenomenon.”

Educational challenges

Mujahid also drew attention to the educational challenges faced by Muslim children in India, stressing there is a bias against Muslim children which manifests in many ways.

He cited an incident of discrimination against a 7-year-old Muslim child last year at a school.

“That child was beaten up and the teacher was calling him ‘Mohammedan’. The teacher was also asking Hindu children to beat Muslim children.”

Mujahid also pointed out the fact that, in some states in India, Muslim girls wearing headscarves are prohibited from education.

“They cannot enter schools wearing headscarves. So, thousands of Muslim girls could not study for a couple of years because of that particular ban. And when they challenged the ban in a court, the court said hijab is not a part of Islam.”

“So, Islam cannot be defined by Hindus,” he opined.

According to him, the educational curriculum is being changed to erase the Muslim heritage. Mujahid referred to a new curriculum that omits information about the Muslim architect of the Taj Mahal, and textbooks containing derogatory statements about those who consume beef.

Economic discrimination

Highlighting economic discrimination, Mujahid revealed that Muslims, constituting approximately 15 per cent of India’s population, are disproportionately under-represented in the workforce, with only 1 per cent having government jobs.

“Muslims are 15 per cent of the Indian population and the Indian government is the largest employer of people. But only 1 per cent of Muslims are in government jobs. Brahmans, the highest cast of Hindus, are only 3.5 per cent of the Indian population, but they have 61 per cent of the government jobs.”

Mujahid also discussed the consequences of the ban on transporting cows for non-agricultural purposes, asserting that it has led to the demise of the meat and leather industry, causing unemployment for Muslims.

He cited the closure of 50,000 butcher shops in a single State as a result of the ban.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that halal-certified products face boycotts, with Hindus equating the sale of such products to supporting “Islamic economic expansion”. Mujahid went on to say that Hindu extremist groups create fear among the Indian population by linking this income to alleged support for terrorism.

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