2) Sample this tweet by self-proclaimed Hindutva-nationalist-patriot @Payal_Rohatgi. Hindutva trolls like her are harming India's interests and damaging its relations with Arab countries by sharing such Fake News and other Islamophobic contents. https://twitter.com/Payal_Rohatgi/status/1253273028911194113?s=20
3) Little Background: Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Muslims in India have been accused of doing “Corona jihad” after it came to light that a congregation called by Tablighi Jamaat at its Markaz turned into “super spreader”, resulting in one-third of known cases.
4) The right-wing ecosystem, helped by the mainstream media, used this opportunity to multiply their diatribe against Muslims, vilifying them and demanding “economic boycott”.
6) This has come close on the heels of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (2019), which led to nationwide protests, and the pogroms of Muslims right in the national capital in February 2020.
7) Attacks & discriminations against Muslims on various pretexts have increased in the last six years, and leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the larger Sangh Parivar have often led those vicious attacks while the top leadership has largely remained silent.
8) All these while PM Modi has largely remained silent while those he follows on Twitter spewed venom against Muslims.

Arab media have begun to cover India extensively in recent times. Besides, more and more Arabs are now consuming news besides using social media tools.
9) From Afghanistan to Turkey and the Arab world, many people began to express their resentments in private, and also on social media at what they saw as the ill-treatment of Muslims.
10) Several Arabs, including journalists, activists, politicians, and even common people, have woken up to the atrocities committed against Muslims in India, and are expressing their anger on Twitter sharing old news, photographs, and videos of violence against Muslims in India.
11) Kuwaiti MP Abdullah Fahad had shared photographs and news of Delhi riots on Twitter on 28 February itself terming it “brutal massacres, persecution and abuses”, calling for “intervention of the leaders of the Islamic world”. https://twitter.com/Abdllah_fhhad/status/1233457290512150529?s=20
12) A recent interview of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to Vice was subtitled and shared by an Arabic language media (viewed and shared by thousands) where he suggests that Muslims do not deserve equal rights. https://twitter.com/alnassar_kw/status/1252197431967694849?s=20
13) What has particularly piqued many Arab nationals is that many Indians who are working in Gulf countries have been found writing highly insensitive and anti-Islamic posts besides being abusive against India’s Muslims and threatening women with rape.
14) Kuwaiti intellectual Abdur Rahman Nassar, with over 200 thousand followers, wrote on 16 April, noting that millions work and sent remittance from Gulf countries and "in return, how are Muslims treated in India?” https://twitter.com/alnassar_kw/status/1250807432500125697?s=20
15) In recent months, there have been several reported cases where such abusive posts were reported not just to Twitter and Facebook, but also their employers, resulting in the sacking of some of them.
18) One of the most high profile persons tweeting against Islamophobic attitude and comments of the government and its cheerleaders is Princess Hend Al Qassimi, Emirati businesswoman who comes from the Sharjah ruling family has been very critical in her tweets in last one week.
19) @LadyVelvet_HFQ curtly wrote on 16 April, “The ruling family is friends with Indians...All employees are paid to work, no one comes for free. You make your bread and butter from this land which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.” https://twitter.com/LadyVelvet_HFQ/status/1250496147946385409?s=20
20) Two old tweets that are being shared currently include, a 2019 tweet by Swamy reiterating old Hindutva propaganda of reclaiming “Kaaba (the holiest mosque situated in Mecca) as a Shivaling” https://twitter.com/Swamy39/status/1102065468930695169?s=20
21) Another tweet (now deleted) by young BJP MP Tejasvi Surya where he quotes Tarek Fateh as saying: “95% Arab women have never had an orgasm in the last few hundred years! Every mother has produced kids as acts of sex and not love.”
22) Among others, Kuwaiti news-portal Al-Hakea News shared the screenshot of the tweet, urging PM Modi that “India’s relation with the Arab world has been that of mutual respect. Do you allow your parliamentarian to publicly humiliate our women?” https://twitter.com/ALHAKEA/status/1252222727559274496?s=20
24) Meanwhile, on the evening/night of 21 April. #Islamophobia_in_India was the top Twitter trend globally.
25) Dent in India’s Soft Power?

India has traditionally enjoyed the goodwill among the Arabs, and Indians are seen as friendly, hardworking people. Gulf countries also employ millions of Indians and send huge remittances every year besides trade in oil and other goods.
26) PM Modi has particularly invested in creating very close strategic ties with many Arab nations and has already made several trips to the region. He has also been awarded the highest honors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE.
27) Arab rulers have never really made any strong statements against India despite its poor track record of dealing with Muslims. It has rather supported India on various international forums.
29) But the over-zealot Hindutva leaders and trolls are denting India’s image of tolerance and secularism, particularly in the Muslim world, forcing the foreign office and the diplomats in the gulf capitals to scramble for a concrete response
30) “COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together,” PM Narendra Modi said on Sunday. https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/status/1251839308085915649?s=20
31) Although it was part of a series of tweets based on his LinkedIn post, the timing of his tweet stressing on “unity and brotherhood” could not be missed.
32) On Monday afternoon India’s Envoy to UAE, Ambassador Pavan Kapoor quoted PM’s tweet, further adding, “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds," and reminding, "Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.” https://twitter.com/AmbKapoor/status/1252189495199518720?s=20
33) Later, similar tweets were sent by Indian embassies in other gulf capitals. Embassy in Qatar tweeted warning against "forces inimical to India...(and) do not get swayed by these malicious attempts to sow discord.

34) including in Muscat, Doha, etc., cautioning that “forces inimical to India” are trying “to create divisions… (hence) do not get swayed by these malicious attempts to sow discord,” and stressing “friendly relations” based on “shared values of tolerance and pluralism”.
35) Embassy at Muscat too stressed “friendly relations” based on “shared values of tolerance and pluralism”. https://twitter.com/Indemb_Muscat/status/1252863556271271937?s=20
37) Meanwhile, the Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tries to brush aside the criticism saying that “India is heaven for all Muslims”. https://twitter.com/TimesNow/status/1252619350009188352?s=20
38) If PM Modi is really serious in maintaining India’s goodwill in the Muslim world, he must rein in his social media warriors and have a rethink on his policies back home.
40) Postscript: As many Arab influencers began criticizing India's right-wing forces' abusive social media posts forcing them on the backfoot for the first time, many Pakistani trolls changed their names to Arabic...
41) These Pakistani trolls tried to make themselves the new champions of India's Muslims, but slowly also writing hateful tweets against India and Hinduism.
42) Some of them even made fake profiles of high profile people of Arab countries, but ere immediately called out.

This may have helped the Indian right-wing trolls to some extent, but the establishment realizes that there is larger anger among many Arabs.

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