Arfa Khanum Sherwani, a journalist associated with leftist propaganda website, The Wire, while addressing a gathering at Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh suggested the protesting Muslims should appear inclusive ‘as part of strategy’.
She said that there is no doubt that when Muslims are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), they are primarily protesting as Muslims, but they must try to appear inclusive in order to “not lose the battle”.
“You must make these protests as inclusive as you could and make its base bigger. You read your Kalmas, do the Ibadat, Indian constitution is still present in that manner. But when you come out in the public, you are a Muslim, there is no doubt about it,” she said.
Referring to Islamic chants like “La ilahi lilliah” that were shouted by Muslim protesters even at Congress leader Shashi Tharoor who had warned against Muslim identity politics, Arfa said that “an ideal society” would accept such slogans, but till then, protesters should try to appear inclusive.
She cautioned that if the protestors continue to protests as Muslims only and chant Islamic slogans, they may alienate the people of other religions who many want to ally with them. “At least for some time, we must steer clear from religious sloganeering. Do Ibadat at home. Do Ibadat to your heart’s content at home. Draw your strength from religion at home. But when you decide to protest as a Muslim, that you want to look like a Muslim, you want to speak like a Muslim, you want to have all religious slogans in the protests, then you lose the battle,” she said.
Trying to convince the gathering that they should play down their Muslim identity as a strategic ploy, she explained that by appearing inclusive, one was not “compromising” on the ideology.
“I would like to reiterate that we are not compromising with our ideology but are changing our strategy,” she said.
The anti-CAA protests across the country have taken anti-Hindu slant after various Hinduphobic posters were spotted at these protest sites. Anti-Hindu slogans, like ‘Hinduon se Azaadi’ and ‘Kaafiron se Azaadi’ were also chanted during these protests. One must recall that it was at Shaheen Bagh that ‘Jinnah wali Azadi’ slogans were raised and that during the course of anti-CAA protests, we have even seen posters that compared Hinduism to Nazism and the blatant misuse of the Swastika.