News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

Muslim Women in India Offered for Sale by Hindu Extremists as Part of the Continuing Persecution of Muslims in the Country

In recent weeks, there has been outrage expressed at an app created by Hindu extremists in India that put more than a hundred Muslim women “on sale” in a fake “auction”. The app, called “Bulli Bai”, a derogatory term used by many right-wing Hindus to describe Muslim women, sourced the photos of Muslim women and uploaded them in a lewd context and offered them “for sale”. Many of the women were activists, journalists, lawyers and other influential personalities who have been vocal against the persecution of Muslims in India. One of the victims of this disgusting hate crime was Fatima Nafees, the 65-year old mother of disappeared student Najeeb Ahmed who went missing from his university hostel 5 years ago under suspicious circumstances after being attacked the night before by members of the Hindu nationalistic ABVP student organisation. The Bulli Bai app has come six months after a similar app called “Sulli Deals” which uploaded the pictures of more than 80 Indian Muslim women and put them up for sale, offering visitors to the app a chance to claim the women, and calling them “deals of the day”.

Neeraj Bishnoi, the main accused in the Bulli Bai app used by right-wing extremists to ‘auction’ Muslim women – has threatened to kill himself in Delhi police custody, informed DCP of Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) special cell KPS Malhotra. “The accused has confessed that he knows the creators of ‘Sulli Deal’, the app where Muslim women were auctioned. He has also accepted that he has access to the user account of Sweta Singh, who has been arrested by Mumbai police”, said Mr Malhotra.(NDTV)

A similar virtual auctioning of Muslim women in India also took place at the time of Eid al-Fitr last year, where a You-tube channel run by “Liberal Doge Live” published a sexualised video containing images of Muslim women, calling it an “Eid Special”.

These heinous apps are aimed at degrading, dehumanising, humiliating, threatening and silencing Muslim women in India to the crimes of the ultranationalistic BJP Hindu regime and other supporters of the Hinduvta belief that advocates a Hindu ethnic state in the country. It is just another arm of the continuing harassment and persecution of Muslims in India whose perpetrators are, more often than not, allowed to execute their crimes with impunity. In December last year, a gathering was held in Haridwar, in the northern Uttarakhand state, in which Hindu religious leaders called publicly for the genocide of Muslims in India, drawing parallels to the murderous actions of the Myanmar military against the Rohingya Muslims. The BJP government failed to issue even a single statement of condemnation against the rally and incendiary speeches. In fact, it was reported that the meeting was attended by at least one member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party. Last year, more than a dozen mosques in India’s Tripura north eastern state were vandalised by Hindu mobs. Meanwhile, violence and systematic persecution against Muslims in Assam by the Hindu authorities, including forced eviction from their homes, has become well established. And for months now, Hindu groups have tried to disrupt Jummah prayers being offered in public spaces in Gurgaon near new Delhi. And yet, there is not one leadership, one ruler, one state in the world today to come to the aid of our oppressed Muslim brothers and sisters. Indeed, the absence of a state to stand for the interests of the believers and our Deen is what emboldens the enemies of Islam to target Muslims and execute their brutal and sordid crimes, including against the honour of our sisters without fear of repercussion.

These Hinduvta extremists should know that the honour of our sisters is sacrosanct in Islam. Its protection is placed at the level of protecting life itself. In fact, the Qur’an defines the utterance of even a single word of slander against the reputation of a chaste woman as a grievous crime deserving of a severe punishment. The Prophet (saw) banished a whole Jewish tribe, Banu Qaynuqa, from the Islamic State in Madinah due to their abuse of a single Muslim woman. The 9th century Khalifah, al-Mu’tassim, despatched a huge army to rescue a single Muslim woman who was captured by the Romans. The 8th century Khalifah, al-Walid bin Abdul Malik mobilised a formidable army, led by the great Muslim general Muhammad ibn Qasim, to rescue a group of Muslim women and children who were imprisoned by the oppressive Indian Hindu King, Raja Dahir, and brought Sind under the rule of Islam in the process.  The Prophet (saw) and true leaders of Islam demonstrated the severity of the response required in Islam when the dignity of Muslim women is violated. So how is their legacy to be followed today when the honour of our sisters in India and across the world is defiled? Does it not require the establishment of a state that truly values their dignity in the manner that the Qur’an and Sunnah have defined? Does it not require a true Islamic leadership that embraces with earnestness its Islamic obligation to protect their honour? Does it not require a sincere Islamic ruler who will mobilise his army without hesitation to their defence, just like the Khulafaa’ (caliphs) of the past? There is no other state under which all of this will materialise other than the Khilafah (Caliphate) based upon the method of the Prophethood. So we call the Muslims of India and across the world to join the vital Islamic work of Hizb ut Tahrir in establishing this noble state with urgency; a state that will return security to this Ummah, liberate it from its oppression and not tolerate the abuse of a single Muslim woman at the hands of the enemies of Islam!

[وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُم فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ]

“Allah has promised to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they lived, to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’ If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.” [An-Nur: 55]

Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir