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Religiophobia Not Islamophobia – India to UN

India wants the world to see ‘Religiophobia’ as a major concern instead of keeping the lens solely on ‘Islamophobia’. They told the UN officials that it will be completely wrong to draw out a single religion. You cannot decide that injustice happens only with a single faith. Indians have many beliefs and still co-live. In other words, ‘Religions live together in harmony. The country tried to bring notice to this point.

The spokesperson from India strongly expressed his concern. He said that the UN was trying to focus on a small chunk of the problem. The country said that the UN cannot focus on Islamophobia only’. India believes that Pakistan and other Islamic countries introduced this term.

The Indian Representative’s views on Religiophobia

India’s Permanent Representative, TS Tirumuti placed his argument. He said that injustice, crimes, violence, intolerance, and murders happen across the globe. Most often than not, they happen because of diverse religious beliefs. There are crimes in the name of colour, beliefs, residence, and morals. He said it would be unfair to label ‘Islamophobia’ as the only concern.

 UNSC Tirumurti
TS Tirumurti – Indian Permanent Representative

Most religions, these days, face injustice. Religiophobia is a major issue in today’s world. He did not miss mentioning that Pakistan and the other Muslim countries have coined the term ‘Islamophobia’. Clearly, the representative said it would be wrong to say that this group is the only one with ‘life-threatening concerns’.

He said that his country was not against the idea of contradicting any crime and injustice against people. However, the bone of contention is how Islamophobia is alienating every other religion that needs attention.

Religiophobia is a much better initiative. It will remove every attack under the name of religion. Importantly, he tried to row the boat towards the point that the UN is demotivating the people of other religions. He implied that it is unfair to highlight ‘Islamophobia’ as the sole problem, to the extent that we have an International Day to speak about the same. 

The Points to Back the Argument

To send his point across, TS Tirumuti even mentioned examples of religiophobia in different parts of the globe. However, seems like the major emphasis was on ‘Crimes against Hindus’. In his statement, he mentioned the atrocities against Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists. “The attacks on Bamyan Buddhas, the destruction of idols in Hindu temples, killing of pilgrims and the attack on Sikhs and gurudwaras”. He tried to draw out the problems across the world. According to India, Religiophobia is a major concern. There is a need to introduce this pluralism on an international platform. 

India’s Major Concern about Religiophobia

The spokesperson said that his nation has no issue with fighting against crime. However, the fact that appalled them is that the UN did not give enough thought to representing every religion. Most of them suffer every day. The country tried to say that focussing on ‘Islam’ as the only group that finds it hard is wrong. Others also fight every day to survive. There are several incidents happening in India daily. Likewise, the Muslim-Hindu riots make the top headlines every day. There is always a political angle to things. Seems like the greedy lot are taking advantage of a social issue that they are ‘apparently’ trying to combat.

While it is one thing to speak about the issue, the approach is wrong. India finds it alarming that the UN would announce an International Day to identify it. “Elevating the Phobia against one religion to the level of an international day, to the exclusion of all the others”. These were the exact words that the Indian Permanent representative used in the session.

Origins of the International Islamophobia Day

The argument to introduce an International Islamophobia Day started in the UN a long time ago. About 55 different countries, most of them Islamic, pitched the idea. China supported them. China is one of the Big Fives in the UN. The day represents the discontent against people’s notions of Islamic people. Likewise, these misconceptions pave the way for violence. It is true that a few fruits in the basket are rotten. But that doesn’t mean the entire tree is infected. 

The Final Argument for Religiophobia

India stayed strong on its ground. It stated that a platform like the United Nations must focus on the idea of ‘Religiophobia’. They should introduce initiatives to completely remove crime in the name of religion. India feels there is no need to elevate the phobia against one group. If the body wants to do something, it should be done to help people of anti-Abrahamic groups as well. 

India also tried to tell the world that it is not against Muslims. It is entirely wrong that Islamophobia is highly prevalent in the country. The spokesperson said that India is a proud nation. It finds happiness in the diverse groups that stay within. Therefore, there is no truth to the argument that the ruling body wants the Islamic group to suffer. Above all, there is always brotherhood between the citizens of India. This is the point that the spokesperson tried to draw attention to.

Despite India’s perspective, the countries decided to go ahead. They fixed ‘March 15th’ as the date. We will recognize it as International Anti-Islamophobia day. Firstly, other countries feel there is a need for this day. Secondly, people have to accept that crimes against Muslims are unacceptable. And for this, the day will prove to be a great example.