Shoaib Jamei, president of the Indian Muslim Foundation and the media coordinator of the Shaheen Bagh ‘movement’ today posted a menacing tweet, asserting that the Indian media will have to pay one day for casting Muslims in the bad light. Jamai’s tweet was perhaps in response to the Indian media’s coverage of Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamist organisation which has contributed 30 per cent of the total Wuhan coronavirus cases in the country and whose Muslim members are evading police and medical authorities while those held at quarantine facilities are accused of spitting on doctors, nurses and attendants and defecating in the corridor.
“Indian media becomes 100 per cent anti-Muslim and communal. You have to pay one day for making lives of Muslims in danger by your fake news and propaganda. 25 crore Muslims are very angry people. I don’t know what is gonna happen next. #MajorThreatMediaVirus,” Jamei tweeted.
25 Crores means when you delibratly target Muslim community for corona spread, definitely these people will get angry . we don’t believe in violence but legal fight is necessary.— Shoaib Jamai (@shoaibJamei) April 7, 2020
After threatening with dire consequences, Jamei tempered his opinions a bit saying that Muslim organisations will start filing FIR against news channels for circulating fake news and using references such as ‘corona bomb’, ‘corona jihad’ etc. He added that 25 crores Muslims shouldn’t be taken lightly and the media channels will have to face the law of the land. He also asserted that though Muslims don’t believe in violence, but they will definitely put up a legal fight against the Indian media.
Muslim members of Tablighi Jamaat came under the attack after the Nizamuddin centre of the organisation emerged as the latest hotspot of the coronavirus in the country. As many as 1445 cases out of the country’s total coronavirus cases of 4281 have been said to be linked to the congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat in mid-March. Several Tablighi Jamaat members in different parts of the state are still absconding and evading police officials and medical authorities. Those who have been shifted to quarantine facilities have been throwing tantrums with unreasonable food demands, spitting on the attendants, nurses and doctors treating them. Some of the Tablighi Jamaat members are also reported to have been lingering around the quarantine facilities naked and making lewd gestures to the nurses. A couple of Tablighi Jamaat members today created a ruckus and defecated in the corridor in the Narela quarantine facility.
However, while censuring media channels for reporting the facts about the behaviour of Muslim members of Tablighi Jamaat, Jamei has so far not denounced the unruly and vulgar behaviour exhibited by his fellow co-religionists. Instead, he has vented his spleen on the media organisations for reporting the uncomfortable realities about the Tablighi Jamaat members.
While Jamei claims that Indian media has wrongly shown Indian Muslims in the bad light, his own conduct on national television has been far from exemplary. Earlier this year, Jamei had lashed out at a fellow panelist during Arnab Goswami’s debate on Republic TV and called him ‘tawaif ke bachche’ (son of a ‘wh*re’). However, it’s unclear who exactly he was referring to as there were six other people apart from Arnab Goswami on the debate. Although the word ‘tawaif’ technically refers to a courtesan, when used in a derogatory manner, it is another word for a prostitute.
Recently, a video of a Muslim cleric and a member of the Tablighi Jamaat warning media not to report against the Islamic organisation had surfaced on social media. The video of the Tablighi Jamaat member where he threatens the media was released by Maulana Mahfooz Ur Rahman, the Tahaffuz-E-Deen India. In the video, the cleric accuses media of spreading rumours and disseminating propaganda against Tablighi Jamaat and coronavirus pandemic and targeting a particular community.