Bullying and Communal Violence: Muslims are an Easy Target

One of the many things I hate about communal violence is that it ends up claiming the lives of innocents. The people who instigate the violence often end up finding an escape and the innocent victims are made to pay for somebody else’s fault.

Skimming through opinion pieces and news stories has been my habit ever since I was a teenager. It helps me keep track of the good, the bad, and everything in between.  Of late, I have come across quite a few stories wherein hate crimes against Muslims were brought to light. There have been cases of islamophobic bullying being carried out in the Western world. A research report issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations brings to light a significant surge in the anti-Muslim incidents post 2017.

It is profoundly disturbing that the Muslim world has, for long, been pigeonholed. Some call them terrorists while others call them orthodox and rigid. Discrimination against Muslims is not something new. It has been happening for ages. Be it in the company boardrooms or professional sports, discrimination against Muslims is scaling new heights with each passing day.

The problem doesn’t end here. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hatred against Muslims isn’t just limited to the boardrooms, it is everywhere. It begins in schools, where Muslim children are stereotyped and labeled ‘backward’. They aren’t accepted as part of social systems. Islamophobia isn’t just marked by illegal detentions and arrests. It seems to have crept into our daily life.

Very recently, I came across a news story wherein a park in Noida (India) was waterlogged in order to prevent the Muslims from offering their evening Namaaz (prayers). Also, workplaces in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have been asked to instruct their Muslim employees to refrain themselves from offering Friday Namaaz in public places. Now, waterlogging a park in order to avoid a peaceful religious gathering showcases nothing but fickle-mindedness of the authorities involved.

 Making people Feel Inferior is a Human Nature

Talking about hate and bitterness reminds me of the endless conflicts between the Sikhs and the Muslims. As I am a Sikh, you’d think that I hate Muslims, but you’d be surprised to know that some of my closest friends are Muslims. I sit with them when I am at work, while I eat my lunch, etc. Over the years, I have realized that people love to hate somebody.

I remember being bullied for being a Sikh. My turban was untied by a bunch of bullies and quite shockingly, one of the bullies happened to be a Sikh hims. Stories of children being bullied on the lines of religion happen to be a commonplace. The sad part is that the media doesn’t consider such stories to be newsworthy and peppy.

It comes as a surprise hatred against isn’t just limited to non-Muslims. It comes from other Muslims as well. Take the example of Syria. The country has turned into a bloody battlefield wherein countless innocent people are being slaughtered by rigid Muslim factions.

Creating a Healthy Environment

The first step to getting rid of hatred is to realize that all of us, irrespective of religion, sex, caste, etc. are nothing but human beings.  This reminds me of a dialogue from the popular Bollywood film “My Name is Khan” starring Shah Rukh Khan wherein his mother tells him that there are only two types of people in this world i.e. good and bad. The sooner we realize that bullies don’t have a religion, the easier it would be for all of us to keep moving in life. Forget Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Isaahi, judge a person by his/her habits and the world would be a better place ( hopefully).

Tackling the bullies…

Student days are tough, not because of all those tests and assignments. Tests and assignments were the least of our worries. The tough time I’m talking about is the tough time kids sometimes give to other kids, something which we call bullying. A majority of us end up facing at least one such incident in our student life. A countless number of children are bullied in India every day, it’s never-ending.

Continue reading “Tackling the bullies…”