The Wire journalist Arfa Khanum, who has often taken up the cudgels for radical Islamists, found herself under the firing line of the same zealots after she uploaded a picture of herself wearing a Bengali saree on the occasion of Dussehra.
“The greatest jihad (struggle) is to battle your own soul, to fight the evil within yourself.”
Dussehra is a celebration of victory of the good over the evil.
Let’s continue with the same spirit. #HappyDussehra #VijayaDashami
Two years ago with @sonia_26 pic.twitter.com/xnaMNChqL2
— Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) October 8, 2019
Yesterday, Khanum shared two-year-old pictures of her with her fellow colleague with a caption-“The greatest Jihad is to battle your own soul, to fight the evil within yourself”, attributed to Prophet Muhammad. She further added that Dussehra is a celebration of the good over the evil. No sooner did she upload the pictures on her Twitter page that scores of online jihadis descended upon her post, reminding her of ‘actual’ jihad and making derogatory remarks about her appearance.
One of the abusive radical Islamist, apparently a female Twitter user, commented “Chakka(Eunuch)” on Arfa’s Dussehra greetings post.
Another intolerant bigot schooled Arfa on jihad, stating that her tweet on Dussehra had nothing to do with jihad. He further enunciated that Islam should not be talked along with “these things”.
One Twitter user mocked traditional Bengali attire and appearance of the ladies in the pictures, apparently quoting Prophet Muhammad to say that destiny of such women would be hell because of their sins.
However, this is not the first time that a certain section of society took umbrage over calling for celebrations of Hindu festival by Arfa. Earlier this year, on the occasion of Holi, Arfa Khanum had shared stating that she would play Holi saying “Bismillah”. This tweet did not sit well with enraged fundamental Muslims online who got triggered into posting objectionable replies to Khanum’s tweet. Not only was she slammed for allegedly insulting Islam but some rabid Islamists even wished death upon her.
Recently, TMC MP Nusrat Jahan was also censured by fundamentalist elements for partaking in celebrations of Durga festivities. One Assam Congress supporter had said that he wants to ‘quickly’ kill Nusrat Jahan for being a bad Muslim. A Muslim cleric from Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa against the TMC MP for attending Durga Puja and grimly suggested her to convert her religion and name.
Though some journalists such as Rajdeep Sardesai proposed that such religious hatred peddled by ‘unknown’ personalities should be brushed aside, the obnoxious responses to Arfa’s tweet underline the growing intolerance of Islamists and their utter contempt of Hindu festivals. However, ironically often Arfa is been seen passionately defending regressive Islamist practices such as nikah-halala.
Arfa had also demonised Hindus by giving credence to the fake news of a teenager being set on fire on his refusal to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. Here, Sherwani had displayed a total disregard of journalistic ethics of verifying the news with the particular police station before putting out her tweet.