The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and the brutality that both preceded and succeeded it, has sent shockwaves throughout the world. While it was predicted that the US-backed Afghan Government would collapse at some point of time, nobody could foresee it collapsing within a week.
US President Joe Biden is at the receiving end of a great deal of criticism for botching up the withdrawal of US forces from the war-torn country. However, as it so happens, Biden is not the only one who is not entirely sure how to cope with the resurgence of Taliban in Afghanistan.
Liberals in India and those in the ‘secular’ camp are not too sure either how they should respond to the developments in India’s neighbourhood. On one hand, they are compelled to condemn the Taliban and its human rights violations and on the other, they are duty bound to shield Islamists as they are their reliable ally against Hindutva.
Thus, most of them, like Arfa Khanum Sherwani of The Wire, have decided to tread a fine line where both their intentions are served. A condemnation of the Taliban is offered and at the same time, enough overtures are geared towards Islamists to keep them happy as well.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani, commenting on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, has chosen to deflect attention towards the ‘Indian Right Wing’ instead, claiming that her domestic political rivals are leading the charge with respect to the the ‘global Islamophobia industry’.
At a time when Afghan women are being forced into sexual slavery, The Wire journalist here appears to believe so-called Islamophobia is a bigger concern. One would have thought that the rise of Taliban and ISIS has proved one thing if nothing else, that fear of radical Islam is not ‘irrational’. And therefore, the term ‘Islamophobia’ is a propaganda tool invented by Islamists and left-oriented propagandists to prevent legitimate criticism of radical Islam.
That the objective of the term is to serve as a defense for radical Islam is further given away by the fact that people of Sherwani’s ilk rake up the issue whenever radical Islam threatens to upend the lives of scores of individuals.
We see conversations around ‘Islamophobia’ doing the rounds in the aftermath of every terror attack. We saw it after the terror attacks in Nice, Paris, Berlin. And we saw the term making headlines again after the brutal murder of Kamlesh Tiwari in Uttar Pradesh and Samuel Paty in France.
The underlying theme on every occasion is that the discussions were preceded by a tragic event where lives had been lost due to the hatred fueled by radical Islam and despite the incendiary rhetoric about the threat posed by ‘Islamophobia’, retaliation never really happens. In the end, ‘Islamophobia’ prevents us from having honest discussions about the dangers of radical Islam and the measures a society would have to take to safeguard itself against the menace.
Once again, after Taliban took over Afghanistan, apologists for radical Islam have once again floated the mythical narrative of ‘Islamophobia’. This is at a time when Afghan women fear for their lives and their rights being violated under the Shariah regime that Taliban seeks to impose.
After the Taliban captured Afghanistan, there were significant sections of the Muslim population in India that cheered for the Jihadist outfit and celebrated their victory. Around a dozen were arrested in Assam for social media posts in favour of the group. A poet compared the outfit to Valmiki and a Delhi riots accused was jubilant over the matter as well.
The mindset that has thrown Afghanistan into chaos finds great support in India as well and that is something that ought to concern us all. It is this particular aspect of things which the national discourse ought to focus on but here we have apologists for the ideology attempting to brush the conversation under the carpet by raking up the mythical narrative of ‘Islamophobia’.
The fact of the matter is, it is just a distraction to deflect national attention from the very real threat posed by radical Islam. And Indians must be careful to avoid falling into the trap and breathing life into the propaganda initiative.