Politics, Middle East, Asia - Pacific

Hate tweets by Indians set twitter on fire in Gulf

Arab royal families join to vent anger against some Indians fanning Islamophobia and blaming Muslims for COVID-19 crisis

Bassel Barakat   | 23.04.2020
Hate tweets by Indians set twitter on fire in Gulf


Even as India has officially warned its citizens living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to desist blaming Muslims for the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, social media in Arab countries is on fire against Islamophobic tweets by some Gulf-based non-resident Indians. 

Members of Arab royal families along with intellectuals joined Twitterati to vent anger against Islamophobic and hostile comments against Indian Muslims. 

Taking the lead, Princess Hend al-Qassimi, a member of the UAE royal family reprimanded

an Indian working in Dubai targeted Muslims and blaming Tablighi Jamaat for spreading the pandemic. 

She shared the UAE law that bans hate speech and said that anyone who is “openly racist and discriminatory in the UAE will be fined and made to leave.”

She further stated that she was saddened by the hatred that encourages India these days. 

“A few years ago, I went to India, put their traditional clothes on, put a crystal on my forehead, which is called Al-Bandi for photography. It was a pleasure, eating, and interacting with such kind people. But I’m saddened by the hatred that encourages India these days,” the princess wrote on Twitter.

She stressed the need to reject hatred and replace it with love on earth to live together. 

The row was triggered by a Dubai-based Indian Saurabh Upadhyay, who asked Muslims to stop finding ways to defend Tablighi Jamaat and asked them to accept that they were a source of the pandemic. He even called death to Tablighi and described them, terrorists. He was soon joined by other Indians working in Gulf regions, endorsing him. But all of them have now deleted these hate tweets after Arab social media users chided them. 

Kuwaiti lawyer condemns the act 

Condemning the acts of these Indians fanning hatred, Khalid al-Suwaifan, a Kuwaiti lawyer, said violence in India is not an internal affair of that country, but a "crime against humanity."

“A heinous practice of racism with international silence and the absence of human rights organizations is happening,” he wrote. 

“In 53 Muslim countries Indians, most of them Hindu, are treated with humanity and respect. See how Muslims are treated in India?” tweeted Abdurrahman al-Nassar a prominent Muslim clerk. 

Saudi Scholar Abidi Zahrani proposed to list all militant Hindus working in the Gulf engaged in spreading hate against Islam. 

“List all militant Hindus who are working in the GCC and spreading hate against Islam and Muslims or our beloved Prophet Muhammad,” he wrote using the hashtag #Send_Hindutva_back_home. 

Ahmed al-Wahidah, a Kuwaiti columnist tweeted: “The international community must hold accountable those who support the violence in India and bring them to justice.”

Suhail Mohammad Al Zarooni, an Emirati businessman, known for holding Guinness World Record twice for his collection of over 20,000 model cars tweeted that his country cannot support any element which disrespects any sentiment or any religion. 

India steps in 

Admonishing his community, India’s former envoy to the UAE Navdeep Suri cautioned that the UAE has strong laws against hate speeches, which applies to derogatory remarks against all religions. 

He said the UAE was India’s third-leading partner, the main source of foreign direct investment (FDI), and houses 3.4 million Indians, who send $17 billion remittances every year. “Bilateral ties between the two countries are strong, but these unnecessary controversies do not help,” he said. 

India’s current Ambassador in Dubai Pavan Kapoor said discrimination is against the moral fabric of both countries. 

"India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this, “he tweeted.

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