Indian Rape and its Islamophobic Apologists

121219IndiaRape_7048234I’ve known S for over 20 years. When I first met her, she was 17, but pretended to be a decade older – and she could easily have passed for 27. Faking her age made it easier to explain the fact that she had two children of school age. The children’s father, she said, had left, but visited regularly. As I got to know her over the years, the truth slowly emerged. Growing up in a Hindu home, she had been raped at age 11 by an “Uncle” (note, every older person in Indian culture is an Uncle or Auntie), and became pregnant. Refusing to bring “shame” on the family, her parents kept the situation quiet, and if any blame was cast, it was at S, not the abuser.

Having established her status as a “slut”, S became the regular sex toy for her older brother. Age 13, she allowed her original abuser to impregnate her a second time, in the hope that he might take her as a wife, or at least mistress, and end her pariah status – but he was married, and did not. Within her home, S had to endure the growing wrath and hatred of her mother, who blamed her for damaging the family name. She was eventually, with her children, cast out, and ended up as a single parent in a council flat.

She avoided Indian men as much as she could; whenever she befriended one who learned of her lonely and vulnerable status, she again fell pray to abuse. Westerners who idealise “traditional” societies, where respect is always due to elders, fail to understand that this power in the hands of “uncles” is a recipe for sexual abuse. The formula that states the elder must never be challenged by the younger is one that creates countless victims of rape.

India’s dirty little secret had largely been overlooked in the wider world until the recent horrific gang rape and murder of a Delhi student that shocked the world. The fact that a gang of young men could repeatedly rape and beat a woman on a bus for an hour, before throwing her into the street, indicates that they expected to get away with their crime – but they failed to realise that the world has changed in a fundamental way. The Internet, and social media, put their actions under a national and global spotlight, and India, and the world, recoiled in disgust, embarrassing Indian authorities into taking action. Indians demonstrated against corrupt and incompetent officials who have always allowed such crimes to be dealt with quietly, or not at all. They were met with the standard Indian state response: water cannon and batons.

Amidst all the noise, there is a notable silence: there is a loud, organised online community of Islamophobes that revels in reporting every horror that takes place at the hands of Muslims. These people form a broad alliance of propagandists who know that by amplifying some events, and ignoring others, a picture of “Muslim barbarity” can be painted. These people range from European and American fascists and Zionists to – yes – Hindu nationalists in India. I watch many of these people on Twitter, and their network is always ready to mention a rape in Pakistan, a stoning in Saudi Arabia, a stabbing in France, if the perpetrator is of Muslim background. But in my observation, none of these commentators, whether English Defence League supporters in the UK, Pamela Geller’s American hate network, or Israeli Arab-haters, have had anything to say about the Indian case.

Many of the Muslim-haters pose as secularists and human-rights advocates; yet their silence on “non-Muslim” events, from the Delhi rape to the rape and bloodshed in the Congo, to the mass slaughter and rapes of Tamils in Sri Lanka gives the lie to these labels. In their campaign to paint Muslims as Untermench, fascists, Zionists and Hindu nationalists provide shelter for barbarity. In pretending that Hindus are somehow more human than Muslims, they give cover for Hindu rape and violence. According to their narrative, a rape victim in Kabul is more worthy than one in Delhi. The British victim of sexual abuse by a Pakistani immigrant deserves a mention, but the victim of a white British person does not. An “honour killing” in Yemen must be endlessly mentioned on Twitter, but one in India must be ignored.

In their careful selection of victims, the Islamophobes are apologists for the sexual violence that they ignore. By deeming most rapes as unworthy of mention, these people become apologists for rape. It is heartening that India has recently taken a  tentative step towards accepting the huge scale of sexual abuse in that country. And it’s shameful that many people have declined to talk about it, for fear of weakening their crusade against Muslims.

19 thoughts on “Indian Rape and its Islamophobic Apologists”

  1. There are number of issues here.

    1 is that we don’t approach communities and individuals equally. Instead we deploy our prejudices and our stance ranges from overlooking / ignoring one community’s awfulness to demanding another community behaves in a phenomenally exemplary manner.

    2. IMO part of the reason that Islam attracts more attention for the misdeeds of its alleged adherents is that like Christianity Islam at its heart claims to be the exclusive expression of divine intent. This inherently sets it on a collision course with other faiths and instills into its adherents an aggressive sense of self-righteousness (much the same as Christians up WW2 expressed)

    3. Perhaps we find the Indian situation so much more shocking because superficially in films etc India would appear to be a society closer to our own. People seem to intermingle freely in the streets and there’s no sense of women being kept in purdah or perpetually veiled. It is of course misleading, and India is a nasty place for a lot of people where elites of gender, faith and class prey upon the weaker.

    4. Finally these issues get caught up in global politics, and the need to work with these societies. I’m sure we all wish our nations didn’t feel the need to engage with these societies, but we do. We want their minerals and their agricultural products and the cheap clothes that we can have a luxurious life in comparison to them.
    It is time for all the Friends of India and a host of other countries to act as real friends and be honest with them about what is wrong with them. Sadly too often the Friends of XXX, become apologists and propagandists for a variety of truly appalling nations.

    If you want India to change now, then simply don’t buy any Indian goods. India will soon get the message.

    1. Points all well made, though I think a boycott of India is neither deserved not useful. Let’s not forget sex crimes are universal – only the degree changes from society to society. And although India is worse than many places, there are doubtless even worse places for rape – South Africa and parts of Latin America also score very badly. And in case we were to get too pompous, we are currently being reminded that sexual abuse was often ignored by UK authorities only a few decades ago.

      1. At the heart of things I think that the more abusive society is, the more its members abuse each other. The male victims of emotional, physical, social and economic abuse turn their anger at those who are weaker themselves, and perhaps those they see benefiting from some system. We can see this in Iraq, Afghanistan, Dehli and Hoxton, and many other places.

  2. “The fact that a gang of young men could repeatedly rape and beat a woman on a bus for an hour, before throwing her into the street, indicates that they expected to get away with their crime…”

    And that a gang of young men in Ohio could drag a drugged young woman from house to house for hours with the purpose of raping and degrading her, while taking pictures and video that they then posted on the internet, indicates that they expected to get away with their crime. And it appears that some of them may.

    We all need to stop looking at other societies and shaking our heads at their backwardness. It’s right here in our “exceptional” backyard, being protected in the same way by government officials and law enforcement.

  3. However MW there are many here in the UK who would ignore sexual abuse within Muslim families through fear of being labelled as Islamophobic. Surely that’s ridiculous.

    1. To clarify – I’m not saying abuse isn’t a reality, but “PC social services” are more a figment of the Daily Mail imagination than reality. They have definitely made mistakes but they’ve come a long way in correcting them.

  4. Well, you have made a good point and I want to point out that hypocrisy is present in Indian culture and religion as well as in western culture and abrahamic religions. From Abraham marrying her half-sister to Mohammad not able to control his lust for his daughter-in-law(adopted son’s wife) or a 9 year old girl,you have got examples everywhere. But these men are highly venerated all over the World. In India we have Krishna. You can call him a womanizer but people pray to him.

    So you see,hypocrisy of some kind is ingrained within all religion and hence their followers. In India hindus hate muslims and in Pakistan, muslims openly celebrate the conversion of a hindu boy to islam.

    I further want to point out to you that Indian govt. has kept the identity of the juvenile victim,Mohd. Afroze(muslim) aka Raju(a neutral name released to most media) low key till now.It is a fact that he was cruelest of all. So maybe Pam Geller didn’t know about it and you didn’t hear her rants.

    Also India and arab societies and most eastern societies are inherently patriarchal.Women have less role other than to bring up babies. So your rants about the poor “S” are correct but if you want to blame anyone you blame the hypocritical patriarchal societies and maybe religions.

    When some of those accused in grooming teenage white girls in Britain for prostitution were tried in a court,h had the following thing to say “You white people train them in sex and drinking, so when they come to us they are fully trained”. I have never heard such a thing.But then when I talk to most men from India or Pakistan they think of white women like that. More and worse from Pakistan

    I agree with you that the Zionists and Islamophobes may be condoning rapes in other parts of the world but you have to agree that muslims give them that opportunity when they commit such ghastly acts like shooting Malala Yousafzai or cutting the nose of Aisha Bibi.

    1. Does the Judeo-Christian interpretation of Abraham venerate him as a flawless character, I think not. He is the exemplary absolute believer who almost sacrifices his son Isaac. But other than that he is a very flawed human character.
      In the Judeo-Christian tradition everything prior to Moses is contextual scene setting and the individuals can be flawed and very human. Even in the post-Moses bibles people are flawed. Despite this marriage to siblings and other very close relatives is forbidden.
      Neither Jews nor Christians pray to Abraham, and he has never been so well regarded to even have been awarded the mantle of prophet, tzaddik or saint.

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